Thursday, 8 April 2010

Jedburgh Golf Club - course no 274

I really enjoyed playing this course on 8 April 2010. Jedburgh had been a 9 hole course until 3 years ago and is now a 5664 yard 18 hole course, par 69 off the yellow tees. Some of the new holes from 6-14, are still settling in being higher than the rest of the course. However, this is a terrific upland course, with lots of character and interesting features not the least being the old clubhouse dating back to 1894. The course sits high above Jedburgh and has lovely views across the rolling Border hills. However, it is exposed to the weather and the strong wind made scoring tricky, with the downhill 1st and the long uphill 15th into the wind being particularly difficult.

This is a view of the new 7th, a 183 yard par 3 that played far shorter than it looked ( I took a 7 iron), with a large water hazard to the left. Some bunkering to the right and some reshaping of the green would make this an even better hole, tightening the tee shot and toughening up the hole generally. By then, I'd noticed just how slow the greens were. Given the tough winter and recent snow, the greens had been mown conservatively, to protect against frost and other damage. As a result, it was really difficult to get the ball up to the hole and it was something of an achievement avoid three-putting. I managed to reach the turn in 43, thanks to some pretty effective scrambling around the greens. For example, the new 8th was an easy looking downhill 374 yard par 4, so I thought I'd land the ball short and let it run down onto the green. The club had run out of score cards, so I'd nothing to forewarn me of the hidden stream and pond in front of the green. My approach shot almost found the pond, so a bogey there was OK.

The best new hole is undoubtedly the 13th, a 275 yard downhill par 4 demanding absolute accuracy off the tee and a delicate pitch over a large pond. Here's the view from the tee. the landing area for the drive is about 20 yards wide, but with the prevailing wind being from right to left, it's a hugely difficult tee shot. I got that bit right, but over-cooked a sand wedge pitch over the pond, leading to another bogey. Best shot of the day was my drive at the 17th, a downwind par 4 of 328 yards. With 4 local members stepping to the side of the 1st green right in front of the 17th tee to let me play, I hit my best drive for ages and had only a short pitch with a sand iron for an easy 4. Another good drive and a blind 7 iron up the hill to the last green, a couple of putts for a closing par and I was back in 39 for a gross 82, net 71. Not too shabby, given the understandable slowness of the greens and the windy conditions.

It was a pity that the photocopy of the scorecard that I had to use did not include the names of the holes. This one, the 185 yard par 3 16th, should surely have been "Are you Insured?" given its alarming proximity to the main road!

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