Wednesday, 1 September 2010

Windyhill GC - course no 348

I'd passed Windyhill after playing at Clydebank and District in July 2010 and was keen to play it, as it was clearly in great condition then. I finally played Windyhill on 31 August 2010 on a warm sunny and (thankfully) windless day. As the name suggests, Windyhill is both hilly and exposed to the elements, and like nearby Balmore GC to the north of Glasgow, it's a really good and interesting parkland course. There are some hills, rolling fairways and awkward slopes to contend with, but the course is well designed and like its neighbour, was in great condition. For example, this is a view along the 3rd fairway. I'd been paired with Ian, another visitor, who had previously been a junior member at Windyhill some years ago so it was good to play with someone who knew the course and was such great company. Thanks for the game, Ian!

The Windyhill greens were in amazing condition and were really fast and tricky to read. For example, this is the 8th hole, a dog leg 461 yard par 5. I was on the back of the green in 3 with what looked like a downhill slightly right to left putt from around 60 feet. I got the pace pretty well but as the ball neared the hole it veered away to the left and off the green down a slope into light rough, leading to a double bogey. I'd also been out of position a few times on the front 9, as accuracy off the tee is pretty important here and scored a very disappointing 48 to the turn.

Windyhill has some really good holes, my favourite being the hugely difficult 431 yard 12th, played over a hollow to a narrow tiered fairway, with a the green set on a small shelf on a hillside. Two (at least!) shots are required to find and hold the small green. I'd missed to the right, but hit a great lob wedge to within 3 feet for an easy par. How about this for a great looking short par 3? This is the 14th, a 142 yard hole that plays even shorter than it looks. Another feature of the course is the amazing views over Glasgow and its surrounding hills. I prefer the countryside to cityscapes, but there are great views across Glasgow from most holes, with the city playing an effective backdrop on some shots. For example, here's the view down the 16th, a scary 323 yard short par 4 requiring an accurate tee shot played blind over some bushes, with only the distant green and the skyline to aim at. Here's the view back up the fairway! My ball is on the right and yes, I did get it in for par. (Ian had his troubles on that hole so his putt was for something more!) I thought that Windyhill was a really good course, full of variety and interest, with some great holes. And if the members we met are anything to go by, this is also a really friendly club. When the pair behind caught up with us on the 12th tee, one of them asked if I had left my ball marker on the 7th green. I hadn't, but it was great that the guy wanted to give a 20p coin back to me in the first place. A small example of the integrity that surrounds the game of golf. Windyhill is definitely well worth playing if you get the chance, but don't be surprised if the course lives up to its name! I'd certainly like to play it again sometime and to beat the poor score of 91, net 81 (9 over par) that I managed first time round.

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