Friday, 28 May 2010

Saline Golf Club - course no 297

I played at Saline to the north west of Dunfermline on 26 May 2010. I'd thought the course had 9 holes, but through the clever use of 18 separate tees and 12 different greens, it's actually an 18 hole course of 5011 yards, par 68 off the yellow tees. Saline is a hilly parkland course with amazing views and was in superb condition. One of the best village courses I've played in ages. There's nothing fancy about Saline, but in terms of the quality and design of the course and value for money, it's got to be pretty hard to beat. This is a view back down the 1st and 10th holes, showing the village and the Ochil Hills in the background.

The par 4 2nd/11th is steeply downhill and at 279 yards is driveable and was an easy par both times round. The 3rd/12th looks easy enough, but out of bounds on the right and some tricky bunkering caused me problems and I took double bogey, bogey here. Back uphill for the 4th/13th to separate greens, side by side. Accurate placement up the left side of the fairway off the tee helps, as the hill throws anything even slightly wayward down behind some trees. The greens are well above you for your second shot and club selection is difficult, so another couple of bogeys followed. The 5th and 14th par 4s are stroke indexes 1 and 2. From the single tee, all you see is a steep hill and a marker pole. Hole 14 is called Quarry, so even playing the 5th leads you to wonder whether a deep gully awaits over the marker pole. However, there's "only" more hill, with both greens looking improbably distant and near to out of bounds walls. I was happy enough to take bogeys at these holes and enjoy the superb views of what seemed to be half of east central Scotland from the top of the course (and get my breath back!) The par 4 6th and 15th holes have separate tees to a common green and both tee shots are steeply downhill. These holes play considerably shorter as a result, but the green looks very shallow from above and is well protected by a front bunker. Bogey and par here, so not bad. Walking down those holes, the ominously steeply uphill 7th and 16th are to your right. But a piece of advice. Leave your bag by the 6th/15th green, as the next tees are 50 yards downhill from there! Both of these holes play much longer than they look, so be warned. What goes up must come down, but I really struggled on this, the 8th, a 150 yard par 3. This photo doesn't really do justice to the downslope, which looked as though an easy wedge would be enough. I found the green with such a stroke i.e. the 1st green, lurking behind the trees to the left. A lob wedge over the trees and a couple of putts and I'd escaped with a bogey. Worse was to come on the 9th, a 340 yard downhill par 4, with the fairway falling away to the right, towards the clubhouse and car park. I'd seen the scope for calamity on this hole even when walking to the 1st tee, so the stategy had to be to keep to the left of the fairway off the tee. I managed that easily enough, but I'd still left myself with an awkward 9 iron shot and a sh--- was a distinct possibility. True to form, I ended up close to out of bounds down by the car park and an ignominious double bogey followed. I'd still a chance to redeem myself when playing the 18th, but a closed face wedge left me short and left of the green and another bogey followed. I'd gone round in 81, net 71 for a 3 over net par score. Saline was a joy to play and I'd recommend it to anyone and remember, the 8th is a wedge, but make sure you hit the right green!

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