Thursday, 27 January 2011

Easter Moffat GC - Course no 370

I played this excellent heathland course to the east of Airdrie on 27 January 2011, a bright and cool day with no wind. Easter Moffat is an 18 hole course of 6043 yards off the Yellow tees. All of the greens were in play except the 10th where a Winter green was in operation. Most of the greens had just been sprayed with fertiliser, as will be seen from some of the photos! They'd also been hollow-tined and were very soft, so it was even more important to get approach shots as close as possible. The course had obviously suffered in the recent snow and there was absolutely no run on the fairways, so although some temporary tees were in operation, reducing the course to around 5900 yards, the par of 71 was still a tough test. Easter Moffat is a seriously good course and although relatively short, is a tough walk, with a few hills to negotiate. This is the 1st fairway, showing some of the damage done by the recent snow and frost. The Par 4 1st is only 325 yards, but plays much longer as it is steeply uphill, hence my opening bogey. The 2nd hole is blind, with the tee shot played over a hill. I sliced a short drive into trees to the right, hit a tree with an attempted recovery shot and ended up with another poor bogey, so maybe the run of good scores in 2011 was nearing its end - or was it? A decent par at the 3rd after a long single putt steadied things and a good birdie at the 4th, a 309 yard par 4, suggested that I might be settling into the round. I bogeyed the 5th, a 191 yard par 3 before studying the course map on the scorecard. There are minor roads running through the course that have to be crossed 4 times but the map is pretty good and thankfully the signage is clear.
The 6th is where Easter Moffat really gets serious. This is a 453 yard Par 4 and it would have helped had my 3rd shot, with a sand iron, had not been pulled left, leaving me an awkward lob wedge shot with only the top of the flag being visible. I took a double bogey, so a serious wobble. The 7th is a 421 yard Par 4 slightly downhill and should be not too much trouble. However, I sliced a short drive onto the 8th fairway and hit another slice with a 3 wood and ended up in woods between the green and the 8th Tee, as shown here. I had around 70 yards to the flag and at least I could take a full swing. Miraculously, my wedge missed all of the trees and found the green. I had a slightly uphill 20 foot putt. but at least it looked straight and sure enough, in it went for my most outrageous par so far this year. Easy pars at the short Par 4s on 8 and 9 and I was out in 39 and only 4 over par.

The back 9 at Easter Moffat was pretty tough. The 10th was an easy enough short Par 4, but next was a nasty 495 yard par 5 that plays much longer than it looks (hence the bogey), followed by the 12th, the Stroke Index 1 hole, an uphill 451 yard par 4 with a long blind second shot over a hill. I managed to get within 15 feet with my lob wedge 3rd shot but missed the putt, but at least I'd only had a bogey. This is a view of the 12th green - one of my favourite holes on the course. I also liked the 14th, a 342 yard par 4 with a blind second to a small sloping green. I'd dropped silly shots on the 14th, 15th and 16th, so with 2 holes to go, I was 9 over and probably heading for the buffer zone at best.

The closing holes are well worth the walk! The 17th is a downhill dog leg left 484 yard Par 5. I'd hit a good long drive and 7 wood to within 40 yards, so it was no problem to par the hole from there. The last is a classic short 118 yard Par 3 finishing in front of the clubhouse. I had exactly 100 yards from the Winter tee in operation and I only needed a bogey to finish net par. I struck my wedge almost perfectly, for once, and finished only 3 feet away for an easy closing birdie. I'd gone round in 79, net 69, or 2 under net par, with a couple of birdies. That's 21 under net par for my 6 new courses so far this year, thanks largely to some shortened holes, an improved short game and on this course at least, some lucky breaks. I really liked this course and would recommend it.

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