Friday, 1 October 2010

Crieff GC - Dornock Course - course no 355

I'd played the 18 hole Ferntower course at Crieff GC on 14 August, but didn't have time to play the Dornock Course, the club's 9 hole course. I finally played the Dornock on 30 September 2010. Dornock is a 2270 yard par 32 course and like it's bigger neighbour, was in fantastic condition. I've played many inland parkland courses this year, from the humble to the grand,but I think the 2 Crieff courses have been in the best condition. Indeed, the practice green at Crieff is a sight to gladden the heart, even before you step onto either course. Anyway, the Dornock is a joy to play and clearly gave the high handicap members, juniors and seniors somewhere to play, as well as provide a great practice facility, away from the challenges of the bigger Ferntower course. That's not to suggest that the Dornock is easy, though. You might not run up big numbers, but getting a par on some of the holes is a real challenge.

The first 5 holes run parallel to the main road from Perth and a sign at the 1st tee reminds players that a wayward ball may lead to legal action, so players are encouraged to hit their shots when there's gap in the traffic. The 1st hole is an easy 292 yard par 4. Driver, wedge you'd think. However, there's some dead ground in front of the green so I'd left my second slightly short and bogeyed the hole. There had been a heavy early morning dew as can be seen from this photo from the 1st fairway. I made a complete mess of the 2nd, a 196 yard par 3. The tee pointed me towards a ridge in the fairway, with a bunker on the left side, with the green hidden by the ridge. I hit a good 7 wood and was just short of the green. However, it was only when I got to the ball that I realised the green I'd just passed to my right was the 2nd and that I'd played to the wrong green. I was 80 yards away from the right green and completely stymied by a tall tree, but at least a chip and 2 putts saved me from real embarrassment.

The 3rd is a short 254 yard par 4, uphill and with the green hidden behind some trees to the left of the fairway. A 3 wood over the top and a short pitch to 8 feet led to my first birdie (yes, I'd more than one!). However, I bogeyed the excellent 205 yard par 3 4th, trying to force the trusty 7 wood. An easy par at the next, a good par 3 and I was only 2 over after 5 holes. Even better, I hit a good drive up the steeply uphill 6th, a 256 yard par 4. As shown here, my lob wedge was within 3 feet, so another birdie went onto the card. One over par and 3 holes to go, but sadly, that was as good as it got. The 7th is a downhill 382 yard par 4, but I hooked my drive into the left rough and had to settle for a bogey. This is a look back at the 8th, a tricky 135 yard par 3, from the safety of the 9th tee. I'd hit an 8 iron, but there's steep slope in front of the green and I was slightly short, so I was left with an awkward 30 yard pitch to an elevated green. A good lob wedge and a 20 foot putt rescued the par, but I came to grief on the 9th, the Stroke Index 1 hole. This is a tricky 383 yard par 4, played over a ridge. I hooked the tee shot way left into heavy rough and was lucky to find the ball, but a closing bogey followed, for a total of 35, 3 over the par of 32. This gave me a net 30, based on half of my 10 handicap, so not bad really. I'd really enjoyed the Dornock course and if you ever get the chance to play the excellent Ferntower course, try the Dornock first, even as a warm up to the Ferntower's challenges. Here's a closing view, the last green and the clubhouse. Nice place, Crieff.

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