I played Crow Wood with Polly on 21 May 2010 on a hot and humid (well, for Scotland!) airless day. Crow Wood is just outside the east side of Glasgow and is a parkland course of 5864 yards, par 71, off the yellow tees. The course was very busy, with a stream of 4 balls going out in front of us. Play was painfully slow as a result and despite sheltering under trees whenever possible, we were both overheating. I didn't think to take out the camera, but at one point we were passed by a guy using his umbrella to shelter from the sun. I'd seen this on television coverage of golf from Thailand etc., but that was a first in Scotland.
Anyway, I started brightly enough and was only 1 over par after 5 holes. This is the view from the 4th tee, a downhill 330 yard hole. A good drive and an easy 9 iron left me with a 30 foot putt. We'd already noted that the greens were very slow and bumpy, but our putts had previously been pretty short (and I'd single-putted the first 3 greens from pretty close in). I therefore hit the 30 foot putt far firmer than normal but was staggered that it stopped about 12 feet short of the hole. I holed out from there with another firmly hit stroke, but this was a warning of things to come, with the greens matching the pace of play! As regular readers of this blog will know, I've commented previously about the harshness of the last winter and its effects on courses, but most courses have recovered well, with greens overcoming the ravages of ice and frost. Sadly, Crow Wood's greens were several weeks behind and I suspect that there may have been particular problems outwith the club's control.. I was happy enough with my approach play, but I really struggled on the greens and after my bright start, I'd limped off the 9th (another 3-putt!) in 43 to the turn.
The pace of play improved slightly on the back 9, but that was the only real improvement. The heat was taking its toll and if anything, the greens were even slower and more uneven. I thought the short 314 yard par 4 16th was the most interesting hole on the course. From an elevated tee, a drive over a hump on the fairway left me with a wedge to the small green, well protected by bunkers. This is a view from the fairway. I missed the green with a hooked wedge, but an easy lob wedge and (predictably) 2 putts from only a few feet, led to a disappointing bogey. Polly was also unlucky to find a small stream to the left of the fairway and like me, was keen to get to the bar for a refreshing drink and never mind the score!
I finally ended up with a gross 90, net 80 some 9 shots adrift of par for the course. At least 6 of those shots were down to my inability to cope with the greens and it was clear from the struggles of the 4-ball in front and others on the course, that they were having precisely the same problem. The Crow Wood layout is pretty good and reminded me of Newbattle in parts, but would I want to play it again? Yes, and hopefully the existing weather-related problems will have been overcome.