Polly and I were due to play at the Spey Valley GC in Aviemore on 25 July 2010 but when we got there, we noticed a growing puddle under our car. This turned out to be only waste water from the air conditioning unit, but as we're not mechanically minded, we decided to head home rather than risk playing and getting stuck so far from home on a Sunday. As we had no warning lights appear on the dashboard, we decided to play at Aberfeldy on the way home, leaving Spey Valley for another day.
Aberfeldy is a lovely little course, located right in the heart of the village and at only 4903 yards off the men's yellow tees, par 67, is pretty short. I'd need to check carefully, but I think that Aberfeldy is pretty rare in being significantly longer over the ladies' Red Tees than off the men's Yellow tees. Polly was not amused. The course is also very flat, so is easy walking. However, it is far from easy, since water comes into play on 16 of the 18 holes, so there's lots of potential for lost balls and penalties, as we were to discover. I started with an easy 7 wood at the 170 yard par 3 1st hole, with the ball trickling agonisingly past the hole. The greens were even-paced but tricky to read, hence my missed birdie putt. I bogeyed the next 2 holes, both simple enough par 4s if you avoided the water (which I did). Here's the approach to the excellent 4 hole, a 492 yard par 5, played into a strong headwind. I parred the hole but my round at Aberfeldy was the typical curate's egg. After 7 holes I was only 3 over par and swinging well. I'm therefore not sure where the hooked drive on the 8th came from (or went!), but a triple bogey was the result. 9th hole, double bogey after another hooked tee shot. I misjudged the wind on the tight 10th hole, a long par 3 with AOB and water down the right, went AOB and had another triple bogey. It was a warm enough day, but by this time I was pretty getting more than a little frustrated. I'd hit a stonking drive down the middle on the 11th, a short 297 yard par 4 and had only half a sand iron to the green. Maybe that's what led to the sh--- towards yet another water hazard. Being annoyed by now, I dropped another ball, with the same result, even closer to the water. However, I wasn't going to be beaten and finally got the third ball onto the green, only to 2 putt from close range for an 8. Holes 8-11 had been played in 12 strokes above par, so my score was heading rapidly south.
Thankfully, my game returned just as quickly as it had deserted me on those holes and I birdied the short 291 yard par 4 12th hole. I should also have at least parred this, the 13th a narrow dog leg 299 yard par 4. I only had a short wedge to the flag, but completely overhit it, almost ending up in the water behind the green. A bogey there, but I also birdied the difficult 16th, 349 yards into the wind, with water in front of the green. Meanwhile, Polly had found water (again) on that hole and was quietly seething (something about a damned silly place to put a river). Regular readers will be familiar with my preference for final holes with some theatre to them, my aversion to car parks near greens and my occasional ability to sh--- with no advance warning. I'd commented to Polly when changing into our golf shoes before playing here that the last tee was alarmingly near the car park and that although it was only 100 yards, finishing right in front of the clubhouse (and the centre of the village!) the 18th looked pretty testing. This is the view from the tee, our car being the black Honda CRV. By the time I played, a small public gallery had appeared. Little did they know I'd been in good sh---ing form earlier in the round, but I played it cool, hit an easy wedge to within 6 feet and tried to give the impression I'd not been worried. For good measure, I even holed the putt, as shown here, but the ghouls hoping for a good laugh had just as quickly vanished from the scene. I'd gone round in 82, net 72 (5 strokes over the par of 67), so not bad at all, apart from the nonsense on holes 8-11. Aberfeldy is a good holiday golf course and I'd strongly recommend it. No frills, just a good local village club in great countryside surroundings. You'll also enjoy the 100 yard long suspension footbridge spanning the River Tay that splits the course. The bridge is incredibly springy, as you'll find out!