Regional Qualifying Feature – Panmure Golf Club
As the course famed for helping Ben Hogan prepare to win The 82nd Open at Carnoustie, there are few more historic venues to host Regional Qualifying than Panmure Golf Club.
One of the oldest golf clubs in the world, dating back to 1845, went down in legend for its pivotal role in the nine-time major winner’s 1953 triumph. Situated just two miles from Carnoustie, the American spent two weeks at Panmure prior to his only Open Championship appearance, honing his skills away from media and fan attention.
The course will host a Regional Qualifying event on June 25 for The 147th Open, which will return to Carnoustie for an eighth time from July 15-22. Having held Final Qualifying on seven previous occasions, Director of Golf and Club Professional Andrew Crerar said the club is looking forward being involved with golf’s oldest major once again.
“There is a real buzz around the club about holding a Regional Qualifying event,” he said. “The challenge is that while it’s not long by modern course standards – it’s only 6,600 yards – the fairways are narrow and the greens are small and undulating. Course management is key and that’s what makes it such a good course for getting ready for Carnoustie. It’s not dissimilar to Carnoustie in many ways” he added.
After winning the Masters and US Open in 1953, Hogan prepared for The Open at Panmure – away from the busy practice range at Carnoustie. “He played here for two weeks and he was the only man in the field who did so” said Crerar. “There were no practice facilities [at Panmure] in those days so he did all of his practice on the course. He had to get used to the 1.62-inch ball compared to the bigger 1.68 American ball.”
His methodical approach paid off as he won the Open by four strokes, setting a new Carnoustie course record with a final round of 68. In fact, such was his impact during his two-week stay at Panmure, the players who will follow in his footsteps at the Regional Qualifying event will play a hole named after the great man.
“The sixth hole is our signature hole and it’s named after Hogan as he recommended that the club put in the greenside pot bunker front-right,” said Crerar. “It has remained there ever since. That’s the toughest hole on the course and how you play it varies a lot depending on the wind.”
However, while the story of Hogan’s time at Panmure is the most legendary, he is not the only player to play the course and win The Open at Carnoustie. Padraig Harrington qualified for The Open at the course in 1999, before going on to win the Championship at Carnoustie in 2007.
Not everyone who has graced the club’s fairways has gone on to achieve success, though, with Doug Sanders going down in history for all the wrong reasons. “Doug Sanders qualified here for The Open in 1970 before famously being beaten by Jack Nicklaus in a play-off after missing a putt on the last,” said Crerar.