Wednesday, 23 June 2010

Dumbarton Golf Club - course no 311

I played this good and interesting course on 17 June 2010 with Grant, our son in law and father of our now 2 grandchildren. Polly had been due to play but had strained her back lifting our 2 year old first grandchild. This was Grant's first game for a while, but he soon got his swing back, largely thanks to some excellent tips from Peter, a local member who had joined us for the first 7 holes and saved us from getting lost on a couple of occasions. Dumbarton is a flat and easy walking 5724 yard par 70 parkland course. We'd played it after a long dry and hot spell of weather (yes, in Scotland!) and the day got progressively hotter as we played. Like many clubs in the west of Scotland, Dumbarton is more used to dealing with too much rather than too little water, so with no fairway or greens sprinkler system in place, the course was really dry. In fact, some of the greens were showing signs of real stress. The greenkeeping staff were all out watering the greens as much as possible, but with only a water bowser to hand, they clearly had their work cut out to get sufficient water onto the course during the current dry and hot weather. This is a photo of Grant on the 16th fairway, with the greenkeeper hard at work in the background watering the green.

I'd started very poorly with a wild hook off the 1st tee, converting a straight easy looking 319 yard par 4 into a dog leg with blind second shot over high trees to a green protected by a water hazard to the front. A scrambled 7 was disappointing, but all I deserved and bogeys on the next 3 holes added up to a very hesitant start. Some pars and bogeys followed, but I'd used all of my handicap in the first 9 holes, going out in 44 to the par of 34. Still, we were enjoying the course, which despite being very flat is interesting, thanks to good design, water hazards and an abundance of mature trees lining the fairways. Here's a typical view (the 17th green).

Thankfully, my game improved slightly on the back 9, which I did in 40 for a total of 84, less 10, net 74. So, with some dodgy ball striking I'd gone round in 14 over. I'd also parred the last, a scarily narrow 329 yard par 4 requiring a long and accurate drive over a swamp, as shown here. There is a fair gap between the back of the green and the houses behind, but my 9 iron had to be very carefully played to avoid trouble. One of the houses had just been sold, so I hope the new owners enjoy the view of the course (and have toughened glass in their windows). Dumbarton is a very good course, well worth a visit.

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