Monday, 8 March 2010

Kingsfield Golf Course - course no 259

I'd been planning to play the course at Polkemmet Country Park, but it was still under several inches of snow, despite the mild weather for the past few days. So I ended up at Kingsfield, a pay as you play 9 hole course that forms part of an impressive new driving range and family golf facility near Linlithgow. I'd seen the course being built a couple of years ago from the train to Glasgow, and it's certainly an excellent addition to golf in West Lothian. The course itself is 2857 yards, par 34 and was in really good condition, despite the recent snow and frost.

I think I'd need to play the course again in summer conditions to form a real view on the difficulty of this course. I certainly enjoyed playing it, and the greens were in particularly fine condition, but with so much of the rough grass being cropped short and fallow, none of the dog legs on the course appeared to be relevant. Indeed, the shortest line to the green, through the rough, seemed the obvious route. This was particularly the case on the 1st, 5th and 7th holes, where the dog legs could be ignored with confidence. This is a view of the 5th hole, though why anyone would risk playing twice over the lake escapes me, when the direct shot through the rough is safer and significantly shorter. I hit driver and wedge at that 357 yard hole, taking the direct route, for an easy 4. It may of course be that the rough gets pretty formidable in high summer, and if so, I certainly caught Kingfield at its most benign. I thought the best hole was the 7th, shown here. This is a downhill 351 yard par 4, with a huge waste area bunker, only a few inches deep, dominating the fairway. However, there was ample space between that feature and a lateral water hazard, meaning the dog leg could be ignored, leaving a 9 iron to a very wide and shallow plateau green, well protected by more formidable bunkering. I three-putted for a disappointing bogey. I ended up scoring 38 to the par of 34, but I do wonder whether Kingsfield is more of a test when the rough is more evident. As a new course, the few trees and bushes are pretty small and do not appear to affect playing strategy. They may in time become more significant, but being devilish, I'd feed the rough and toughen the test.

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