I played this course on 6 July 2010 before Polly and I tackled lunch and the Murcar Links course in the afternoon. The Strabathie course at Murcar is a 9 hole 2672 yards par 35 links course, ideal for juniors, seniors and general practice. The fairways are generously wide, but the course was baked dry by the recent good weather and there was no middle cut rough. Anything off the fairway was in deep trouble, assuming you could find the ball at all. With the fairways and greens running very slick, it was easy to run out of fairway even after a good drive, so although most of the holes were relatively short, good course management was needed to avoid lost balls and high scores.
The 1st hole was really burnt dry so although the hole was a 299 yard par 4, my drive was just short of the green. An easy par there, but reality reared its ugly head on the 2nd, a 313 yard par 4 with the drive played into a gulley, and the green perched on a shelf half way up a hill. I only narrowly missed the fairway, but could only hack the ball a few feet, resulting in a double bogey. Another missed fairway on the 3rd and a bogey scored. The best hole was the 4th, a 298 yard par 4 with a blind tee shot over a marker pole at the top of a hill, with a river in front of the green on the other side. The river looked drivable, so a prudent 7 wood, easy sand iron and a couple of putts was good enough for a solid par. I hit a good drive at the 299 yard par 4 5th hole and had only a wedge to the green. Easy, but a disgraceful sh--- into high rough followed, resulting in a double bogey and some injured pride. An easy par 4 at the next, the longest hole on the course (357 yards) restored some order, but another sh--- on the par 3 7th hole led to another bogey. A single putt on the par 4 8th rescued my par. I'd not really noticed the 9th green, other than to note it lay close to the 1st tee when I started the round. At 355 yards, it was not long, but the fairway was particularly dry looking, as shown here (with Polly going forward to check the distance from the 9th green to our car). As it turned out, anything really wayward was likely to end up in the car park, so my 8 iron second shot had to be nailed. I'd already been wayward earlier in the round and one sh--- tends to follow another, but my best shot of the day found the middle of the green. A couple of putts later and I'd gone round in 41, or 6 over par. Not too shabby given the fast running conditions, but we moved the car to safer ground even before I'd packed away the clubs. Strabathie is a good primer for the big course, but as we were to find out in the afternoon, nothing could have prepared us fully for the challenges it set. Play to warm up for the big course if you have the time, but watch where you park the car!