Monday, 21 March 2011

Douglas Water GC - Course no 384

I played this good 9 hole moorland course on 21 March 2011 after my game at Leadhills.  The Douglas Water course is 2951 yards Par 36 off the White tees.  The scorecard doesn't list the yardage from the Yellow tees I played from, but I guess the Yellow yardage was about 2800.  The first thing you notice about Douglas Water is the impressive new clubhouse, as opened a couple of years ago.  The old clubhouse is still standing (just) by the 1st tee and rather detracts from the quality of this course, but one step at a time as this is a small village club with, I imagine, modest resources.  Accordingly, it was all the more impressive that the club waived my green fee (a real bargain at only £6), so that's yet another small donation into the cancer research charity we're supporting. 

The second thing you notice about Douglas Water is that it's very hilly, as this look back down the 1st hole shows, with the new clubhouse and my car (the only one in the car park!) in the background  As this photo may also suggest, the greens were superbly maintained, running fast and true.  Indeed, these were the best inland greens I'd played on this year.  The rest of the course was in equally good condition and far better than some of the bigger courses I've played over recent weeks, so well done to the greenkeeper. 

Just how hilly this place is can also be seen from this view of the 4th green, with a low-flying RAF cargo plane passing by below the level of the green.  I'd parred the opening 4 holes by that time, but just when I thought that a really good score was on, Douglas Water struck back with two back to back Par 5's, the first into a strong head wind, and the second, at 565 yards to a tiny green, the Stroke Index 1 hole.  I dropped 3 strokes over those 2 holes, but managed to par the last 3 holes, including the 8th, a downhill 382 yard Par 4.  This is the view from the 8th tee, with OOB to the left and a temporary water hazard (after all of the recent rain and snow) 100 yards or so from the green.  A large open cast coal mine on the horizon is at odds with the tranquility of the course itself - I was alone for most of the round apart from a guy walking his dog.

However, I really enjoyed the course and went round in 39, 3 over par, with 15 putts.  Seven pars out of 9 isn't bad at all, for me anyway.  If you still have the energy after playing one or more of the other courses in the area, give Douglas Water a try.  You'll be pleasantly surprised by the quality of the course, despite the hills.  The greens are great, but if there's a flat bit on this, the 9th, I certainly didn't find it, after spending some minutes practising my putting after the round.  I'd missed the 9th green to the left (the green is blind from the tee) but hit a lob wedge to within a foot and thankfully I don't miss from there too often.

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