Wednesday, 2 June 2010

Innerleithen Golf Club - course no 301

I played at Innerleithen, a 9 hole, 3033 yard, par 35 parkland course near Peebles on 2 June 2010. Innerleithen is (thankfully) one of the flatter courses in the Borders and is great fun, with water coming into play on most holes. Accuracy off the tee is essential, as I was to find out. This is the view from the 1st tee. The 1st is a 177 yard par 3, played over the 3rd green, a stream, avoiding the (hidden) river immediately behind the green and the road bridge (out of bounds). Avoiding the many other distractions (cars, tractors, greenkeepers and other golfers) also helps to make a good early impression as a visitor. I sliced an opening 7 wood and ended up stymied behind a tree beside the 9th green, to the right of the photo. A good chip and a couple of putts and my first bogey of the day, but it could have been much, much worse.

The 2nd hole should be a pretty simple 343 yard par 4, but a river runs all the way down the right of the fairway and anything to the left runs into heavy rough. I missed the fairway to the left, so settled for a buried rather than wet lie for my second, but as the ball was also 18 inches or so below my feet on a side slope, I could only hack out back to the fairway and another bogey followed. The 3rd is played from an elevated tee and I took the friendly warning from another visitor not to try to cut the angle of the dog leg. The 3rd is a 474 yard par 4 and Stroke Index 1 (and also played directly into a strong wind), so a third bogey went onto the card. The 4th required a good long drive straight into the wind, avoiding the clubhouse (and my parked car!) to the right of the fairway. I got that bit right, but another by now predictable bogey. Surely I could par at least one hole. This is the 5th, a 100 yard par 3 that looked as though a lob wedge would be enough. However, the green is tiny and sits well beyond the front of a hill and is also 30 or so feet above the tee. Given the strong side wind, a solid wedge was required. I missed the 20 foot putt for birdie, but at least the run of bogeys was broken (or simply interrupted!) The 6th, shown below from the tee, is a really tricky 485 yard par 5, played directly into the wind. The road and anything left of it is out of bounds and the stream to the right of the fairway collects anything not dead centre. I hit a good drive, or so I thought, but a cruel bounce took the ball into the stream (a lateral water hazard). I also found the muddy bank of the stream in front of the green and almost holed a great 30 yard lob wedge from there, but yet another bogey followed. The 7th is a 180 yard par 3. A hit a good 7 wood into the wind to the side of the green and had a couple of putts for a par. The last couple of holes were downwind, so at least I finally had that in my favour. The 8th is a 525 yard par 5, with a river to the right of the fairway and the main road (not out of bounds this time) to the left. A couple of good woods, a wedge and 2 putts and a second successive par. The last hole is a 372 yard par 4, but with the strong wind behind, I only had an easy wedge to the green. If I'd aimed correctly, that is. I got the distance OK, but also managed to miss a greenside bunker. A decent pitch to within a foot enabled me to scramble a closing third successive par. I'd gone round in 40, 5 over par, not bad. Innerleithen was in really good condition and is an easy walking course, well worth a visit. But remember, the 5th is longer than it looks!

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