I played this course on 9 March 2010, as Rutherford Castle GC, my original plan, was still under several inches of snow. The West course at Dalmahoy is far shorter than the Championship (East) course and at 5051 yards, par 68 off the yellow tees, is far more manageable for most club golfers, myself included. Both courses had just re-opened after several days' closure due to snow. Some of the greens were a bit bumpy, but I'd certainly no excuses as the West course was in generally fine condition, with only a few temporary greens in play. Dalmahoy West is a parkland course to the west of Edinburgh. This is the 3rd hole, a short 121 yard par 3, with the Forth Bridge in the background.
The front 9 holes are all relatively straightforward if your drives are reasonably straight. I birdied the 2nd, a short 269 yard par 4, after a good drive, lob wedge and single putt and got to the turn in 36, only 2 over par. Under CONGU handicap revisions, my handicap had been cut by a stroke and was back to 10.6, playing 11, and this was the first serious test, so things were looking good.
I'd been following a 3-ball and caught up with them on the 11th tee, only to find that I'd been following Eddie and John, 2 brothers I'd know for many years, and their friend Denis. They had a Stableford competition going, but invited me to join them, nevertheless. We had a good laugh going round the remainder of the course, though I suspect my concentration may have lapsed, as I racked up a succession of bogeys and an out of bounds double bogey, on the way in. This is the 13th, an excellent 531 yard par 5. I under-clubbed my blind approach shot, leading to the first 6 of the day. As 6's tend to go around in two's (at least!), a wild hook off the 14th tee led to another 6 and my hopes of beating net par looked to be going downhill pretty fast. The 15th, a 327 yard par 4 was not only my favourite hole, but took the longest to play. I'd hit a long and straight drive, but Eddie and John had sliced theirs over a river into some trees. Both guys played provisional balls but in due course their first balls could clearly be seen in the woods on the other side of the river, in spate due the recent snow. After much debate about lateral water hazards, both guys took the long walk back and over a bridge to play their seconds. This is Eddie, playing his second shot. If anyone reading this blog ever finds the ball, just remember who it belonged to. The 16th was another good hole, a 116 yard par 3 over the same river. I hit a soft 8, just to be sure I'd get there, but my ball spun back down the slope into the water hazard. Eddie's did exactly the same and after another rules debate I escaped with a bogey.
This is the 18th hole on the West course, an uphill 303 yard par 4. I managed a par, finishing with a 78, less 11, net 67. I'd just beaten net par, had a birdie and met 2 friends I hadn't seen in years. A good day's golf, and a good course too.