Panmure Golf Club will host Regional Qualifying for The 148th Open and looking back into history there are fewer better courses on which to prepare.
One of the oldest and grandest golf clubs in the world, the 1845-founded club is just a stone’s throw from Carnoustie and has its rightful place in folklore.
It was at Panmure where Ben Hogan underwent two weeks of rigorous preparation ahead of his only ever Open appearance in 1953, which he went on to win while setting a new Carnoustie course record.
This all came in one of the greatest single seasons in the history of professional golf, when Hogan won five of the six tournaments he entered in 1953, three of them majors.
A good luck charm perhaps for those preparing to undertake Regional Qualifying at Panmure, as they shoot for the stars and a chance to make it to Royal Portrush.
“It’s a big deal for us being the only Scottish club to be hosting Regional Qualifying, it’s a feather in our cap and really good to be involved in the R&A events,” commented Panmure’s Director of Golf Andrew Crerar.
“It’s always good to get a mix of people coming to play and because it’s the only Scottish venue we get a few of the international players.
“Two years ago we had two local guys who led qualifying so hopefully they’ll be here again, it’s good to see local players feature and I think their knowledge on the course really helps.
“We’re very happy with how the course is presented 52 weeks a year and by the time we get to qualifying the course will be in tip-top shape.”
The ‘Hogan Slam’ story is clearly one in which Panmure takes great pride, as one of the finest golfers of his generation made a sensational return from a career-threatening incident in 1949, dominating The Open in his only appearance.
Hogan arrived at Carnoustie in 1953 having already claimed the Masters and a record-tying fourth US Open title, which he won by six strokes at Oakmont Country Club.
He made the decision to travel to Scotland two weeks early to practice with the smaller British ball and acclimatise to the terrain of links golf at Panmure, just two miles to the west of Carnoustie.
This kept Hogan well away from the congested practice ground at Carnoustie with only his caddie Cecil Timms accompanying him.
The long hours of practice paid off as his scores of 73, 71, 70 and 69 at Carnoustie – the location of last year’s Open – saw him victorious by four strokes.
The American’s favourite hole at Panmure was the sixth, with a hidden pot bunker to the front right of the green, with members still referring to it as “Hogan’s bunker”.
Crerar added: “A lot of people know about the Ben Hogan story but then not everyone does so it’s something we make sure we keep out there.
“Panmure was a very private club up until 30 years ago so they didn’t have any visitors, just members and guests so we want people to know about our history.
“We’re also one of the original clubs who donated money to The Amateur Championship as well, only 26 clubs gave money for that trophy so our name’s forever engraved on it.”