Wednesday, 18 August 2010

Isle of Skye GC - course no 345

I played the excellent Isle of Skye course at Sconser on the morning of 17 August 2010, before travelling over to Raasay for the official opening of its new ferry terminal. This is another of the small courses that have 9 greens and 18 tees, so like the other course on Skye at Skeabost, the course at Sconser counts as an 18 hole course. The score card indicates that the club is awaiting the re-measurement of the course, but at present, the card gives the course as 4746 yards, par 67. Although there had been heavy rain since the previous afternoon, the course was in remarkably good condition and obviously drained pretty well, with lush green fairways and excellent small greens. Although the Isle of Skye course sits right by the sea, it is not a true links and plays more like a moorland course. It is also one of the prettiest courses I've played in a long time, with great views across Loch Sligachan, out to sea, across to Raasay and to the surrounding Skye mountains. Above is a view back up the 1st/10th hole to the clubhouse with Glamaig, the mountain that towers above the course, in the background. This is the view out to sea from the 2nd/11th green. I had the course to myself apart from the greenkeeper and his 2 collie dogs. It had stopped raining earlier in the morning, but the air was still damp and when I arrived at the course it was warm and sultry, with no wind. Scottish readers will immediately recognise the ideal conditions for swarms of midgies to appear and sure enough, I'd been attacked even before I'd teed off. I'd packed an aerosol repellent but it was already too late. Thankfully, the sun came out after a few holes and a freshening breeze minimised the problem. Three days later, writing this blog, the itching has finally eased!
At least I was playing well and as at Skeabost the night before, there was little run on the fairways and the greens were soft and receptive, so target golf again. I was out in 37, or 4 over par. Indeed, I had a run of 7 straight pars on holes 8-14, admittedly with some single putts, and with each passing hole the course got drier and the sun got warmer. Perfect weather for golf on a cracking little course. My good run came an end on the 15th, a 301 yard par 4, after I missed the green with a wedge. Worse still, the greenkeeper was working on the 142 yard par 3 16th and had put the flag in a temporary hole to the front and right side of the green, near to some tall rough. My 8 iron missed by only a few feet and I parred with my second ball, but the first ball may still be there, unless the collie dogs found it after I'd gone. I came back in 37 for a gross 74, net 64, or 3 under par, but this good score might have been even slightly better. Here's a final view from the course, this time out to sea from the 4th/13th green. Even if you're not playing well, you'd not tire of this course. The setting is simply stunning and if you ever get the chance to visit Skye, for goodness sake take your clubs and play this excellent course.

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