Friday, 12 March 2010

Langholm GC - course no 261

I played this hilly 9 hole course on 11 March 2010. This view of the 3rd green gives some indication of the terrain. Langholm is 2936 yards, par 35 off the yellow tees and the full course was in play apart from the 6th, which played to a temporary green and was so short it was really a par 3, rather than the 410 yard Stroke Index 1 hole. The greens were pretty slow and a bit bumpy, but this is March, several hundred feet up in Scottish moorland so overall, I thought the course was in pretty good condition. I particularly liked the 5th, a blind 300 yard par 4. I hit my best drive of the day and then met Arthur, a local member who immediately he heard why I was playing his course, donated £10 to the cause, a hugely generous gesture to a complete stranger. I should have birdied the 5th, but missed a 10 foot putt by some margin. This is a view of the 5th green, with my new somewhat garish double strap carry bag making its debut. Well, I like it and it should help to make the hillier courses in particular more manageable. I'll certainly not lose it and yes, it really is that yellow! This photo also gives some idea of the fabulous scenery around Langholm generally, a real walker's paradise that the villagers are rightly proud of, if comments from some folk I met later are anything to go by.

I managed a 3 at the par 4 6th hole, but I can't really score that as a genuine birdie since the temporary green was well under 200 yards from the tee. I'm afraid I got carried away at the 7th, an inviting steeply downhill par 4. I thought the green looked drivable, but sadly not. I managed to find my drive, well left and short of a deep gorge in front of the green. A full 9 iron and a couple of putts and I'd escaped with a par, but what a dangerous hole. I'd been playing reasonably well until the 9th, a par 3 of 130 yards. I confess I didn't actually look at the scorecard to check the distance, but to me it looked like a 9 iron and here's the view from the tee. I ended up a few feet short of the green and from there, amazingly, I chipped in with my 9 iron. My short game tends to get me out of trouble and I can putt reasonably well, but in all honesty my final score over Langholm was a bit flattering. I'd gone round in 37, 2 over par (or 3 over since the 6th scored as a par 3 on the day). I'm not a great fan of hilly golf courses and tend to view anywhere that claims to have "spectacular views" with some suspicion, since hills are invariably involved and for every outstanding panorama, there's a steep climb. However, from the villagers I met later in the day and from the golfers I met on the course, there was genuine friendship and a real sense of community in Langholm. Despite the hills, I really enjoyed playing at Langholm, from the cool clean air to the superb views and the warmth of the people I met. I hope this little club continues to prosper and I would recommend it to any visitor lucky enough to have the time to play here. Just don't get suckered into thinking you can drive the 7th, though! A final tip. Try the mince and tatties at the Crown Hotel, or the roast beef!

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