reports my progress in playing all of Scotland's 682 golf courses to raise funds for Cancer Research UK and hopefully of interest to golfers anywhere.
Monday, 28 March 2011
Esporta Dougalston GC - Course no 386
Polly and I played here on 28 March 2011. Dougalston GC is 5653 yards, Par 68, off the Yellow tees. Some Winter tees were still in operation, so the course was probably playing more to 5500 yards. Dougalston is owned and operated by Esporta, a prominent leisure company and is part of a large and impressive multi-sports complex to the north of Glasgow. Although it's situated close to some pretty up-market housing, the feeling is more of a rural heathland course. We pretty much had the course to ourselves, the peace being disturbed only by the air conditioning unit on top of the sports hall, which could be clearly heard on several of the holes and more significantly, the many low-flying planes coming into Glasgow International Airport - the course is directly below the main flight path. Those minor distractions aside, I thought that Dougalston was a really good course, full of interest and with some challenging holes. This is a view from the tee on the 1st, a 259 yard par 4. The drive looks intimidating, but the landing area is quite generous and after a good drive and sand Iron, I duly canned a 15 foot putt for an opening birdie. Indeed, I had 6 pars in the opening 9 holes, to go out in 36, only 2 over par.
This is the 8th hole, a 357 yard par 4, with Polly striding ahead (she'd laid up in front of the pond, finishing only a few feet short of the hazard). Credit where it's due, she played the hole really well! The 8th looked as though a fade was required off the tee, but I'd not noticed that the hole was named Aquarius. Sure enough, there was a large pond in front of the green. Not only that, my second shot from around 130 yards was obscured by some low branches. I opted for a low-punch with a 5 iron, which miraculously came off, stopping around 12 feet behind the flag. I missed the birdie chance, but I'm not complaining, as this was the Stroke Index 2 hole.
The 10th, a 403 yard uphill Par 4, is rightly the Stroke Index 1 hole. The fairway is extremely narrow, with trees on both sides. Some pine tress had been cut back on the right, but only a dead straight and long drive would do. I was just short of the green in 2, but took 3 more from there for a disappointing bogey. This is the 11th, an outstanding 163 yard Par 3, played from an elevated tee to a small target with a pond to the left of the green. My tee shot finished only 20 feet to the right of the hole, but I'd not noticed how downhill my putt would be, so 3-putted the hole. Very poor.
I'll not go through the agonies of the 16th, a tight 427 yard par 4, or how I managed to take 6 shots from 40 yards out, for a ruinous 8, but there was a sh--- involved which ended up in a water hazard. That hole contributed to my 43 on the back 9, so I was round in 79, net 69, with 32 putts, so 1 over net par after such a good front 9 was a bit disappointing.
Dougalston was in really good condition and is well worth a visit, but be warned, it's far from flat and there are a few tight holes to catch the unwary, not least this, the 9th. This is a 175 yard (very!) uphill Par 3, which plays longer than it looks. I'd hit a good 3 wood to 25 feet, but had a steeply downhill putt, hence the bogey. I'd certainly play here again.
When not playing golf I work as a caddy in East Lothian. I'm also a member at Dunbar GC (dunbargolfclub.com) and the Glen GC (glengolfclub.co.uk).
I'm married to Polly, who shares my passion for golf and all that it stands for.
I'm playing all of the golf courses in Scotland for Cancer Research UK and would be very grateful for any donations via the following web address -
http://www.justgiving.com/golfingcoasttocoast2. We're delighted to have had messages of support from Catriona Matthew, the 2009 British Ladies Open Champion and Colin Brown, a former Captain of the R&A.