Wednesday, 21 July 2010

Clydebank and District GC - course no 328

I played in the Gents Seniors Open at this excellent parkland course on 20 July 2010. Clydebank and District is a 5612 yard par 68 off the yellow tees we played over and is a gently undulating course, with no serious hills. Easy walking in normal conditions, but the forecast had been for heavy showers and right on cue, the skies opened as I got ready to play. Thankfully the torrent stopped before I teed off, but this only served to increase humidity levels, with the sun burning off surface water. I'd never thought of the West of Scotland producing near-sauna conditions, but boy, was it hot and sticky all through the round! This is a view of the first tee and clubhouse, as taken from the 3rd fairway.

Given all of the rain immediately before I teed off, the greens were really slow and on the practice green it had been difficult to even get the ball up to the hole. I'd been used to much faster greens of late and it took some time to get used to the pace (such as it was) and line of putts. Accordingly, I 3-putted three times on the outward 9 holes, with my only par (and single putt) being on this, the excellent 312 yard par 4 5th hole. My other excuse is that the club had run out of proper score cards. We were using a card with no hole yardages on it and in keeping with this being a Seniors' Open, I'd left the flimsy photocopy of hole yardages we were given in the car! The tee boxes had yardages, but since some of the holes are semi-blind (at least from where my drives went!) and the humidity was boiling my brain, club selection was a real lottery. Best example was the 9th, where my drive ended up in trees to the left of the fairway. This hole was steeply uphill so I could only see the top of the flag and the green looked to be a long way away. However, there was a gap in the foliage and I reckoned my 7 wood would be about right. Sure enough, my ball looked at the green on its way past, ending up on the other side of a steep hill in rough close to the 18th tee. The 9th turned out to be 280 yards, so I guess a wedge would have been the right club! I was out in a disappointing 46, with 20 putts and nowhere near contending.

My game improved on the back 9, and only a poor short pitch prevented me from parring the excellent 11th, a slightly downhill 437 yard par 4, Stroke Index 1, with out of bounds down the right and a narrow cambered fairway. I also came to terms with the greens, which ran a little faster as the course gradually dried out during our round. Indeed, I came back in 40 for a gross 86, net 76 and a mid-pack finish. I suspect the back 9 is the easier half, but even so, there are some tricky holes. How about this, the "view" from the 15th tee? The green lies 330 yards away, straight through the gap in the trees. There's out of bounds and a busy road to the right, and a pond over the trees to the left. I'd hit my drive to the left and narrowly missed the pond leaving myself with an awkward lie on the side of a hill. The green is hidden by another hill and there's some houses immediately behind the green, just to make it even more difficult. I sneaked a good par here after an excellent up and down from a greenside bunker.

The club had organised the event very well and had some excellent prizes for nearest the hole, including at this, the short 300 yard par 4 18th. I managed to get on in 2 OK and get my par but was well outside the closest measure. Still, at least I'd gone round with no sh---s and missed the houses that border the right side of this good little finishing hole. I was also soaking wet from the humidity but despite that discomfort, I really enjoyed the course. I'd recommend Clydebank & District as well worth a visit.

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