This is the longer of 2 excellent courses at the Kames Country Club in Lanarkshire. I played both courses on 25 March 2010. When I asked the Pro if I could play them both, he asked if I was sure (giving the first hint that I faced a demanding day's golf!) and recommended I play the longer course first. The Mouse Valley course is 6077 yards par 70 off the yellow tee and although some forward tees were in operation, the course was playing long, very long, after some recent rain. I bogeyed the first, a short par 5, and parred the next 5 holes, missing an easy birdie putt on the par 5 5th hole. These opening holes had been pretty straightforward and with no-one in front or behind, it seemed I had the whole course to myself. The 7th was a good reality check, a strong uphill 444 yard par 4, which cost me a double bogey after a poor drive. The 8th was a 171 yard par 3 and at 239 from the medal tee, was formidable hole. I managed a bogey there and at the 9th to go out in 41.
Not bad at all, but I was to need that good front 9, as the back 9 was simply awesome and made all the more tricky by mist on some holes that made yardages really difficult to judge. The 10th was a tricky par 3 over a river to an elevated green. I left the tee shot short and took 5. the 11th was called "Gang Warily" and with good reason. From the tee, a bridge over a river looked ominously close, so I laid up with the trusty 7 wood. This is the view for my second shot, played left to avoid the river (again!), leaving what looked like a wedge to the green through mist that had just rolled in. Try 8 iron, Alan! A poor double bogey at the Stroke Index 1 hole. The next few holes were played in thick swirling mist. A sign at the 12th tee said "Bottom Green" but since I could find neither that or what I assumed must be a Top Green, I eventually ended up with another double bogey. The 14th was an outstanding par 4 of only 98 yards, ominously named "Oh Dear!" with water in front, to the right and behind a shallow plateau green, barely visible through the mist, as this view from the tee shows. I managed a bogey, but this was a super little hole. I also had a bogey at the 17th, primarily because I played to the 10th green by mistake, due to the mist. This is a view of the last, a good par 3 of 160 yards, with the clubhouse windows beckoning behind for anything over-hit. I was happy enough with a cautious bogey and a round of 86, net 75 or net 5 over par. I guess the mist made things more difficult but this was an outstanding parkland course, far more testing than its near neighbour at Carnwath. It can be difficult to really enjoy a course when the weather is poor but I thoroughly enjoyed this course and would recommend it to anyone. Beat net par here and you've played well.