Wednesday, 30 March 2011

Culcrieff GC - Course no 387

I played here on 29 March 2011, the day after I'd played at Dougalston, hard on the back (in more ways than one!) of several day's hard work trying to knock my garden into shape before the perennial weeds get a grip.  Culcrieff is owned and operated by Crieff Hydro, a large up-market hotel in upland Perthshire.  Although Culcrieff is short at only 4876 yards, par 66, it is extremely hilly and physically demanding.  Either that, or I'm not as fit I should be, since I was pretty tired by the 10th hole, yet another steep climb.   This is a view of the 1st green, giving a good indication of the hilliness of the course.   It was only after a few holes here that I remembered a conversation with a member at nearby Crieff Ferntower about hilly courses, which included a friendly warning about Culcrieff not having a single flat hole.  Still, the scenery was outstanding and despite the hills, this is a really good course, well worth a visit. 

I'd gone out in 39, or 5 over par, and not too bad.  Thankfully, the back 9 was the slightly shorter half of the course, since it was even more hilly. This is the 12th green (not even the highest point on the course!).  I missed the birdie putt, but it was a lovely early Spring morning and I'd time to take in the view, with the distant mountains still showing the last (I hope!) of the Winter's snow.  I'd parred holes 10, 11,12 and 13 (almost flat!) so all was well with the world, despite some tiredness.  The 14th was an easy looking downhill 132 yard Par 3, but I forgot to hit through the ball with my 9 iron and was lucky to escape with a bogey, much to the amusement of the greenkeeping staff working  beside the tee.  Honest guys, I'd been playing OK earlier!

There are some really good holes at Culcrieff, but I particularly liked this, the 18th.  This is a steeply downhill 212 yard par 3, with outside seating by the clubhouse and a children's play area alarmingly close to the back of the green, hence the sign by the tee cautioning golfers not to over-club.  I'd hit a suitably cautious 7 wood to the right of the green and managed to almost hole a pitch and run for a closing birdie.  Still, my closing par meant I'd come back in 34 for a 73, net 63, or 3 under net par.  I'd taken 32 putts on greens that were surprisingly good for the time of year and exposed nature of the course,

Culcrieff is a good test and even if you're not up to it, the views are great.  Give it a try.

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