Wednesday, 18 August 2010

Skeabost GC - course no 344

This is a very short 18 hole moorland course in the grounds of the Skeabost Hotel on Skye. Skeabost only has 9 greens but with 18 separate tees, providing very different holes in some cases, this is still an 18 hole course under our "challenge" rules. The course is normally only available for play by hotel guests, so thanks to Janet, the General Manager, for letting me play on the evening of 16 August 2010. I'd actually have been even more pleased had there been only 9 holes, since heavy rain had been forecast for late afternoon onwards and boy, was that forecast spot on! The course was pretty flat and was based on heavy peaty soil that would clearly not take much to become saturated, with a number of streams and crossing the fairways (and more joining the party once the rain really got going!) The greens were tiny, adding to the difficulty, but with the (essential) preferred lies to overcome standing water, there was no run at all and I was playing target golf. Above is the 4th green, surely one of the narrowest I've played recently!

The course is a mere 3114 yards, par 62 and with little real rough and only shallow bunkering, it is relatively easy. Even a missed fairway off the tee left only a short pitch, so scrambling wasn't particularly tricky. I was out in 36. Sounds good, but that's still 5 over par, so definitely nothing to shout about. The holes on the landward side of the hotel are not particularly memorable, but holes 8/17 and 9/18 by the shore of Loch Snizort were simply stunning, despite the worsening deluge I played them in. This is the view from the 17th tee, a 100 yard par 3 requiring an accurate wedge over mature trees that block anything miss-hit. Hole 18 deserves a couple of views, first from the tee and second, looking back to the tee, which has been built on top of an old harbour jetty. I may have retired, but it seems I can't get away from harbours! This is a really good and testing 121 yard par 3, well worth the soaking to get there! I didn't really notice the pin position at the time, other than that it looked a bit tight, but from my 9 iron tee shot as above, I'd an easy par. I went round in 69, or a net 59, compared to the par of 62. However, the course didn't appear to be very difficult - or was I just hitting the ball straight and avoiding the basic blunders that I've learned to live with over the years? Time will tell!

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