Polly and I played this really good links course on 5 July 2010 in warm sunny and breezy conditions, a far cry from the previous day at Fraserburgh. Craigewan is an 18 hole traditional links course measuring 5704 yards, par 69 off the yellow tees. The 1st hole is a short but deceptive par 4 with the River Ugie to its left and has a small shelved green set into the side of a hill. This and the next 2 holes are not particularly inspiring and are overlooked by housing on the other side of the river. Indeed, for me the course was relatively ordinary until the tricky 6th, a 154 yard uphill par 3. I managed a good par here with a couple of good putts, taking a positive mindset to the par 4 349 yard 7th, one of the best links holes I've seen for a while. This is the view from the tee, the drive needing to be long and accurate to set up a short iron to the green, avoiding the many bunkers that surround it. I hit a great drive but my 9 iron was pulled enough to catch one of the 7 pot bunkers that are largely hidden from view from the fairway. The sand was surprisingly heavy and lob wedge was not the best club selection, hence my 7 at what should have been a relatively easy hole after my drive. I got to the turn in 45, parring only 3 of the front 9 holes, so an urgent improvement was needed.
Surely I could par this, the 118 yard par 3 10th hole and get the scoring back on track. The 10th is very deceptive, as the raised green starts only 90 yards or so from the tee. However, the front slopes down towards a hidden stream and the 2 tier green is difficult to hold. I underhit a wedge and took 5, but at least I got the ball washed in the stream. I parred 3 of the next 5 holes, before coming to the difficult par 3 16th. The hole is only 148 yards long, but the wind had increased after a rain shower and from the tee, all you see is the top of the flag and some mounding that hides bunkering surrounding the plateau green. I hit a 4 iron to within 10 feet and actually holed this putt for birdie. The next hole was downwind and at only 262 yards was drivable. However, it is also blind, played over a hillock with a raised dune to the left and lots of sky to the right, avoiding the sheer drop down a cliff behind the green. A prudent 3 wood, lob wedge and a couple of putts was enough to get the par, but Polly drove the green off her tee to secure a good birdie. Here's her approach putt. Note the rain in the distance. We only just made it to the clubhouse in time, after some adventures on the last. The 18th is an excellent 486 yard short par 5, with a cliff and the sea to the left of a left hand dog leg downhill holes, exposed to the wind (taking drives out to sea!) I hit a great long drive but stumbled to a bogey after a 3 putt. Polly had even more difficulty amidst dark mutterings about the stroke indexing on difficult long holes. I went round in 85, net 75 to sneak a narrow win in our Summer Cup match, taking the score to 4-2. Peterhead is well worth playing and was in great condition. Play it if you enjoy links courses - it's great value and from the 6th, the course is excellent.