Before taking up the pro’s position at Panmure Golf Club in 2008, Andrew Crerar played on the European and Challenge Tours competing in two Open Championships. In 2014, he became the club’s Director of Golf and has since become an integral part of this renowned east coast club.
Name: Andrew Crerar
Role: PGA Professional/Director of Golf, Panmure Golf Club
Handicap: N/A (he’s been a pro since 1987)
Clubs: N/A (but grew playing at Monifieth)
Tell us about your role and what you enjoy most about it.
“First and foremost, my role is to look after the members. Between myself and my two assistants in the shop, that’s our day-to-day duties. On top of that, we also look after visitors. We do 100% of the bookings; whether it’s a two-ball looking to play or a corporate event; we organise it – from the initial point of contact right through to the day of play. It’s a lot of work, but I enjoy using my skills and knowledge.
“We get a lot of repeat business – groups and annual matches. You can see a repeat cycle when people who visited us four years ago, come back again. That’s encouraging. If they didn’t have a good experience here, they wouldn’t come back. What I enjoy most is meeting different people. I am a people’s person, so that’s where I am comfortable. You meet people from all different walks of life; and you get that with the membership and the visitors.”
Has the run-up to The Open been busy?
“Panmure is a club with a great history and tradition, but we’re evolving. Our ethos is all about the welcome we give to members, guests and visitors. That’s what the club is all about. That’s what we’re trying to achieve. As a result, we welcome a real mixture of visitors to the club. About 70% are from the UK, but we get a fair splattering from America, a lot of Europeans and Australians – people from all around the world. And yes, we’ve had a big spike in the run-up to The Open. I wasn’t here for the last Open at Carnoustie in 2007, but we’re already 40% up on 2017 figures, of which about 15% is July. We’ve done a lot of work over the last few years to promote the club, so the word is getting out there.”
For those who are yet to visit Carnoustie Country, how would you describe it?
“We have world-class links courses and exceptional parkland and heathland courses in Carnoustie Country. It means you can have a mixture of championship golf and fun courses that will suit every golfer. It’s not just about playing the big trophy courses. For instance, if I was going on a week-long golfing trip, I wouldn’t play links golf seven days in a row – I would mix it up, and you can certainly do that here. There are lots of great courses in Carnoustie Country.”
Any advice for those playing links golf for the first time?
“You get typical links terrain here with undulating greens and fairways, dunes, marram grass, gorse and bits of heather here and there, but the wind is the big factor. Every day you will have wind depending on the tides. And it can whip up from nowhere. If someone who has never played links golf before goes out there for the first time, they would really have their eyes opened. If you get a bit of wind, you could be landing the ball 40 yards short of the green in order to keep it on the putting surface. And the opposite is true when you’re playing into the wind; you could be playing three or four clubs more. It can be quite an experience for someone who is used to playing through the air and landing on soft greens.”
What is your top insider’s tip when visiting Carnoustie Country?
“There are great walks in Carnoustie Country – you’ve got the mountains not far away up by Kirriemuir and Edzell – and you have fabulous beach walks. Broughty Ferry is a great place to visit and Dundee is really on the up. It’s my home town so I am bias, but Dundee has a lot going for it. It’s getting the world’s attention at the moment because of the new V&A museum. But the city is also a great place to base yourself for golf – you’re only 20 minutes to St Andrews and less than that to Carnoustie. For anyone staying in Dundee for golf, I would recommend taking a drive up to the top of the Law Hill to enjoy the view from Scotland’s best positioned city. And it’s only going to get busier and busier. We were out with friends last night for a birthday treat and ended up in a new Cuban cocktail bar. If you’d said 20 years ago that you would be in a Cuban cocktail bar in Dundee, you would have laughed!”
Is there anywhere you would recommend going for a special meal?
“There are loads of places to go. There is a great little Scottish-French restaurant that has opened on the Perth Road in Dundee called Café Monmartre. The guy that runs it is French and he used to have a restaurant in Broughty Ferry. If I was going out for a special meal, that’s where I would go. And I would also go to the local pub; The Speedwell Bar which is also known as Mennies, for a pint after.”