Carnoustie Golf Links Prepares for The Open With Toro Equipment

Toro® equipment is being put to the ultimate test as Carnoustie Golf Links in Scotland prepares to host the 147th Open Championship. The Open Championship takes place July 15-22, 2018, marking the eighth time Carnoustie has hosted the Championship. It’s the culmination of a months-long process to ensure optimal conditions for the players — along with the more than 185,000 spectators, officials, media representatives and support staff that are expected.

Performing Under Pressure
For Sandy Reid, Links Superintendent at Carnoustie, it’s a matter of refining the course conditions compared to everyday play. “We want to present the best players in the world with a true links test. We want the turf to be firm and consistent, and we want the greens to be rolling true,” he explains. “From a playability standpoint, that’s the main thing that we want to concentrate on.”

“Preparation for The Open starts after the last one finishes,” notes Craig Boath, Head Greenkeeper at Carnoustie’s Championship Course. “There’s a lot of pressure in the lead-up to The Open and the championship week itself. But with the help of Toro, we can get the quality of cut and the course looking amazing.”

Carnoustie’s Toro Lineup
Toro is proud that Carnoustie is using Toro’s Greensmaster® Flex™ 21 walk-behind mowers on the greens, Greensmaster TriFlex™ Series 3420 Hybrid greens mowers on greens, tees and surrounds, and Reelmaster® 5410 mowers on fairways — as well as Groundsmaster® 3500-D and Reelmaster 3100 with the Sidewinder® system on semi-roughs and surrounds. In addition, the team uses the ProCore® 648 for aeration throughout the course, along with Workman® utility vehicles.

According to Sandy McCubbin, Head Maintenance Engineer at Carnoustie, reliability, ease of use and quality of finish in the end are key factors in the course’s choice of equipment. “The most important part of my job has got to be the quality of cut on the cutting units — to make sure the cutting sharpness is spot on,” he affirms. “Even more so with The Open coming because all eyes of the world are on our greens.”

A 30+ Year Relationship
“We’ve used Toro equipment for over 30 years at Carnoustie,” Reid adds. “Over the years we’ve had a fantastic relationship with the Toro people, from their sales team to their after-sales team and the support that they’ve provided over the years — whether it be tournament support or just generally looking after all our needs here. The engineers, they really listen to the greenkeeper in order to keep their machinery moving forward.”

“Toro equipment is our preferred choice because it’s user friendly, it’s reliable, and it’s something we always count on,” echoes Boath.

Tough Reputation
Carnoustie is revered as one of golf’s greatest tests, with a history in the game that dates back to the early 16th Century. That’s because the course poses several unique challenges. It’s located on exposed links land on Scotland’s east coast, where the elements contribute to the golfing test. It also has challenging bunkering. And in addition to being narrow, it’s over 7,400 yards long — making it the longest course to host The Open.

Carnoustie Golf Links is made up of four courses: the Burnside Course, the Buddon Links Course, the Nestie (a six-hole junior course) and the Championship Course, which has hosted seven previous Opens. In 2016, the Championship Course was ranked as the No. 1 course in Scotland by the general public.

“As a greenkeeper, it’s the peak of our career”
Although it has taken a tremendous amount of teamwork and coordination, the preparations leading up to the week of The Open have been well worth it. In Reid’s words: “The Open is golf’s pre-eminent championship, with the best players and a worldwide audience. As a greenkeeper, it’s the peak of our career — and we thoroughly look forward to July.”

To learn more about Toro equipment and irrigation products for the golf industry worldwide, visit For additional information on Toro and Carnoustie’s relationship, see the following videos on Toro’s Europe YouTube Channel:


Toro — Carnoustie’s Relationship

Carnoustie and The Open – Instrumental

Carnoustie and The Open – Interviews