Craig, Stu, Polly and I played this excellent 9 hole parkland course on 9 July 2010. The Dunecht House golf course forms part of the Dunecht Estate and is a private club, with club membership restricted to Dunecht Estate workers and their close relatives and people living within the catchment area of 3 local schools. Visitors are only permitted when playing 1:1 with members, so thank you to Stuart and the 3 other members who helped and played with us on the day. We all really enjoyed the course and thought it was a real asset for local people to enjoy and an excellent example of a private country estate working to support its local community. This is a view of the 4th green, with the impressive Dunecht House in the background.
I'd normally go through my play on 9 hole courses hole by hole, but since my golf reached new lows, with an alarming variety of errors, I'd rather not. Suffice to say that the course was a modest 3097 yards off the medal tees that I played from, par 35, which I did in a remarkable 48 shots. I actually had a par on the 322 yard par 4 4th hole (albeit with a single putt), but otherwise this was a score to forget and to attribute to a tired and over-golfed body. Polly and I played a second round, but my score was even worse, so she easily took the honours in our Summer Cup, taking the score to 7-3.
The fairways were mostly generously wide, but even after the recent dry weather they were lush and pretty slow, which was just as well, as the rough was penal. There was a generous band of semi-rough, but such was my game that I seemed to find the real tiger stuff and any balls missing the semi-rough could be (and in my case were!) lost. The feature and Stroke Index 1 hole at Dunecht is the 8th, a 422 yard par 4. This is the view from the tee. The fairway is dominated by a huge and ancient copper beech tree that draws shots to it due to the left-right slope, leaving a semi-blind long shot to a small fast green that is difficult to hold. This is an excellent hole which I double bogeyed on both occasions. The 314 yard par 4 9th hole is equally difficult. The fairway (shared with the 1st) is at least 60 yards wide, but there's a tarmac road in front of the green (which would make the last hole at Rosehearty look flat) that makes the second shot even more tricky. This photo doesn't really do justice to the difficulty of this green, which was just silly fast. Anything above the hole was likely to go through the green. I actually had a putt from the fringe above the green that involved a 90 degree break, missed the hole and ended up in the rough below the hole. I bogeyed this hole (twice) and despite my lamentable scoring, thoroughly enjoyed the whole experience. Thanks again to all concerned in helping us to play this lovely little course.