Friday, 21 May 2010

Cluny Golf Course - course no 294

This is a 9 hole pay as you play parkland course forming part of an activity centre, including shooting and archery, outside Cluny village in Fife. There are 4 par 3s and 5 par 4's and the course measures 2312 yards with a par of 32. The course was surprisingly busy so thank you to the 3 ladies who very kindly let me play through on the 1st hole, a downhill par 4 of 265 yards. The course was running fast due to the recent dry weather, so a good drive left me with a lob wedge to the flag and a tap in for an early birdie. The second hole is an uphill 334 yard par 4 and requires an accurate drive and second to a small green. I missed the green and ended up with a bogey. The 3rd hole, aptly named "Growler" is a really tricky 160 yard par 3 over a river requiring an accurate shot between mature trees. This is the view from the yellow tee. An easy 7 wood, a couple of putts and I was still level par for the course. Could this be a decent round? Next hole was an uphill 152 yard par 3. My 6 iron was way left of the green and there was a bunker between me and the flag, set on a downslope running away from me. Another good lob wedge left me with a 25 foot putt, which I completely misread. However, the greens were fast and bumpy (due to recent tining) and my putt bounced off a small tining mark and veered hard left into the hole. Could be a lucky round too!

The 5th was an uphill 290 yard par 4 dog leg left. A good drive, easy wedge and a couple of putts, and another par. I over-clubbed at the 6th, a flat but downwind 176 yard par 3. My 5 iron was through the back of the green in light rough, within a few feet of being out of bounds. Luckily, my pitch and run with a wedge left me with a 10 foot putt for another scrambled par. So far, all of the par 4's had been pretty short, so it was a real surprise to find that the 7th was 454 yards long. By this time I'd also caught up with 3 other ladies, so I'd ample time to develop a plan to limit the damage after my good drive had left me with a blind second shot that needed to thread its way over a stream, avoiding a large pond on the right and out of bounds on the left. There was no way I was going for the green, since unless I found the putting surface chances were I'd lose the ball and ruin my score. So I laid up with a 9, leaving me with this shot to the green. Timing is everything in golf, and this was the time for a full wedge. This was also the time for my worst shot of the round as my ball hooked its way towards the out of bounds. There was a dry stone dyke under the trees to the left of the green. My ball hit it and bounced back into some light rough to the side of the green. A good pitch and run and a tap in putt and I'd escaped with a bogey 5.

The 8th is a downhill 285 yard par 4 with a blind tee shot. A road runs down the left side of the fairway and my drive was heading for it before clipping a tree and bouncing on down the fairway. A lob wedge to 4 feet and a second birdie followed. I was back to level par with only one hole to go, a 196 yard par 3, as shown here. The wind had picked up and was right behind me and my easy 7 wood just trickled off the back of the green. An easy pitch and a 3 foot putt and I'd actually gone round a course in par! However, I'm not fooling myself into thinking this was entirely deserved, or somehow marked a watershed in my game. On another day I might have had fewer breaks and gone round in level 4s or worse. The truth is I'd only had 12 putts thanks to some good short game play and the shortness of the course had meant that most second shots were wedges etc. I'd also got lucky a few times, but maybe there's hope for me yet. Cluny is certainly a fun course which I suspect plays even shorter than it looks. At least if I play it again I'll have a decent score to beat!

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