For hundreds of years, nobody really seemed to know that Carnoustie was there.
Bought and sold by various land owners over the years but of little consequence until the middle of the 17th century when the Alexander family, who happened to own the place at the time, noted, to their surprise, that there seemed to be some small village in the middle of all this sandy and wind eroded wilderness called Carnoustie.
Craws Nestie, in fact, to the locals, largely because of the burgeoning colony of crows that infested the place. Safe in their ivory towers, however, the Alexanders weren’t to have known that.
In time, linen opened the doors of Carnoustie to the real world. By the mid-1700’s, the world’s population was demanding more and more linen and, the nearby and thriving port of Dundee on their doorstep, the good folk of Carnoustie took full advantage. The skills of the handloom weaver were the passport to a place on the map. Within a hundred years, the Carnoustie population had quadrupled to more than two thousand, most of whom were successfully weaving their way into the industrial history of Scotland.
In 1838, the railways turned up and that was that.
Sulphuric acid, bleach, shoes and boots, bricks and The Panmure Works itself. Four hundred power looms and six hundred people churning out over six million yards of linen and jute, year on year.
But if the railway gave birth to this industrial behemoth, so it also brought new and possibly more welcome perspectives to what had now become the town of Carnoustie, the community itself having long outgrown the distant folklore of the village of Craws Nestie.
Dundee’s commuters set up shop, planting themselves in graceful, tree-lined avenues and crescents. Well out of sight of the factory chimneys of the hinterland, these newly-arrived middle-classes carefully set about fashioning the narrative of an elegant suburb-by-the-sea, the final coup-de-grace being the arrival of the holiday boys and girls. The trump card played by the railway as Carnoustie now positioned itself as the ‘Brighton of the North.’
And what were so many of the holiday gang doing? You guessed it. Playing golf.