Sunday, 18 April 2010

Benbecula Golf Club - course no 280

We were all pretty tired by the time we arrived at Benbecula GC at around 1830, some 10 hours after we'd started at Barra GC. We'd been expecting to play a short 9 hole course and although we're all committed golf enthusiasts, ready to play in all weathers etc., we were a bit disappointed to find that Benbecula had 18 separate tees, played to 9 greens, making it an 18 hole course. The obvious solution was to play from the 1st and 10th holes, and so on, rather than go round the course twice. Being adjacent to the local airport, the course was very flat (thankfully!) and although that was a welcome relief, we were really disappointed in some aspects of the course. The Benbecula course is laid out over an older and disused part of the airport, with runways and taxi ways an integral and unusual course feature. However, the layout also featured some less desirable elements that detracted from the quality of the course, as this view clearly shows. We weren't sure how long these buildings had been in that state, but a bulldozer seemed the only solution and we just did not understand how a bunker could be allowed to become so overgrown. Although the Benbecula course had many other more attractive features, that is the impression that visitors like me will most easily remember.

But back to the golf and here's a far more attractive view of the course, highlighting its flatness and the seemingly random and very welcome appearance of spring flowers. I'd never tried playing a 9 hole course with balls from separate tees. Sounds easy enough in principle, but after our long day it became increasingly difficult to remember which ball had been played from which tee! Scoring was certainly easier from the front 9 and with halves of 36 and 41, I went round in 77. Benbecula is a par 62 course of only 4359 yards, so a 77 was not great. However, it had been a long day and as we finished on the 9/18th, the sun set. We'd completed our first day's golf on the Western Isles, the weather had been kind and seemed set fair for the rest of the week. We found our luxurious B&B and even managed to get to a nearby hotel for a pint and an outstanding meal (barely 5 minutes before the kitchen closed for the night). The steak pie was absolutely delicious and I even managed the portion of cauliflower and cheese (and I really dislike cauliflower!)

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