Friday, 18 June 2010

North Gailes Practice Course - course no 306

I played this 7 hole par 3 course on 14 June 2010 after my round over the main North Gailes course. I'd been advised that the practice course was at the end of the 300 yard driving range. 600 yards later, I realised that it was actually behind the range! Although the longest hole is under 100 yards, this course is actually quite difficult and being bordered by the driving range, clubhouse a restaurant and hotel, is quite claustrophobic. The course was even faster than the main course and the tiny greens meant that precision was vital. Scoring over the practice course could either be by strokes played or by a complex points system based on the golfer's ability. Each green had a target circle around the hole, with scoring based on which scoring zone was achieved, with penalties for losing balls, or going into bunkers or water hazards. I opted to play the course according to strokes played. I'd also not read the score card closely enough or even studied the lay out to realise that I'd only need a couple of clubs, hence this photo of the 40 yard 1st. I quickly tired of lugging my full bag around!

I managed to go round in 20, with good birdie putts on 5 and 6, but playing this course was quite scary. Some gentle applause from the nearby hotel balcony was welcome for the occasional good shot, but I was wary of doing anything daft in such a public arena. This is a side view of the 3rd. Looks simple enough to hit a green only 50 yards away and avoid trees, water, a bunker and rough, but with a sloping fast green, I was happy enough to bogey. The 5th hole is around 70 yards, with a pond to the left and clubhouse windows within a few feet of the green, lying behind some bushes and trees. Indeed, I had to walk forward to check that this was the shot that I was expected to hit! My lob wedge came up short, but I chipped in for an unlikely 2. The last hole was equally tricky. Around 70 yards to a tiny elevated green, with a windows (and faces!) seemingly only a few feet beyond. I managed an easy wedge to the green after convincing myself not to thin the shot. Scary stuff. I'd escaped with a 1 under par and avoided breaking any windows. This is an entertaining little course, but don't go thinking it's easy.

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