Thursday, 18 February 2010

Musselburgh Old - Course no 252

I played this course on 18 February 2010 after careful thought about which course to play for such an important milestone on the long road around every course in Scotland. The Old Links are certainly steeped in history, as the score card makes clear, with references going back as far as 1567 and the course producing 5 Open champions. I'm not particularly well-versed in golfing history, but it was a real thrill to tackle the course and to realise that golf had been played for hundreds of years on this old course. The Old course is now a 9-holer of 2668 yards off the yellow tees, par 34. I managed to go round in 41, due mainly to the bumpy and slow nature of the temporary greens that were in play. This is a view from the 6th tee back to the 4th green. The 4th is Stroke index 1, and is a difficult 412 yard par 4, with the green set tight against the out of bounds and Mrs Forman's pub, where in days gone by "refreshments" could be sold through a hatch to passing golfers. It's a great pity that such quirks are not allowed by current licensing laws. However, I thought that the 6th was a stronger and more interesting hole. As the club's website states, "usually played into the wind. The exposed tee can be very troublesome in windy conditions. Be very careful with your tee shot as two hidden bunkers await. Best line is down the left side of the fairway which will give a straight shot to the green. The green has a very steep step in the middle. Any shot too far right, left or long will find trouble. Probably the very first two- level green." I played it down the left as instructed, leaving myself with a 9-iron pitch to 20 feet. I holed the putt for my only birdie.

Below is a view across the course to the Racecourse stands. I'd originally tried to play the course yesterday, not realising that the Racecourse was being used. I did, however, get a good view of the last race of the day! I liked the Old course and would happily play it again in warmer weather, when the fairways are burnt by the sun and running fast, though sadly a refreshment from Mrs Forman's would need to wait until after I'd finished playing. Ah, the price of progress.

This is a view of

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