Monday, 19 April 2010

Gairloch Golf Club - course no 283

We played this lovely little course on the morning of 15 April 2010 on our way home from Ullapool. Gairloch is pretty remote as Scottish golf courses go, but it is surely one of the prettiest 9-hole courses in the country, with outstanding sea views from all of the holes and not a weak hole on the whole course. Indeed, each hole was memorable in its own right and this was clearly a course that could be played and enjoyed again and again. This is the outstanding 6th hole, a demanding 194 yard par 3. We'd filmed play on the hole with our camcorder, so look out on You Tube for yours truly driving the green and hitting a couple of solid putts for a par. A bogey at the short 91 yard par 3 7th followed and I was level 4s for the first 7 holes. I'd really wanted to play a punched 9 iron at the 7th, but my 9 iron was still in bits following the Taynuilt incident, and the punched 8 iron was clearly too much and only just stayed on the golf course.

This is my drive at the 8th, a tricky 488 yard par 5, played to a narrow ridged fairway atop an old sand dune, with out of bounds all the way down the beach to the left. This was actually one of my best drives all week, but things went downhill thereafter and I ended up with an 8. The last hole is a 139 yard par 3. We'd been asked not to play to a green if the flag was not in place and the greenkeeping staff were working on the green. When we reached the 9th, 4 guys were spreading sand onto the green but we had come a long way to play the course and we really didn't think we could afford to return to play the whole course since no 9 was closed temporarily. We asked the greenkeeper for permission to play the hole and he readily agreed, but this left me with a problem. I'd been having difficulty with my irons and feared another sh--- in front of the greenkeeping audience and there was also a ladies' 3-ball within range to my right. Having seen me in action all week, Craig and Stu were lurking behind me, doubtless guessing where my (new) ball might end up and whether I would scatter the ladies' 3-ball. We didn't want to delay the greenkeepers, so I played first. Unusually, I actually felt comfortable over the ball and my easy 7 iron sailed majestically (well, you had to be there!) straight over the flag, finishing 20 feet or so behind the hole. Craig hit a wedge to a similar distance and Stu also played a good shot. Our audience were suitably impressed and the ladies played on, oblivious to the situation. The 9th green was by now dressed with unbrushed sand so was slower than the other greens and my 20 foot putt stopped an agonising inch short in the jaws of the hole. Craig got his birdie, Stu finished strongly and to the greenkeeping staff we must have passed as pretty competent golfers. I'm just glad they hadn't been around at Ullapool, or Stornoway, for that matter.
I hope to play at Gairloch again, but in the meantime, thanks to all at the club for their friendly welcome and generous support for our golfing challenge.

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