Wednesday, 4 May 2011

Airthrey Golf Course - Course no 403

I played here on 4 May 2011 after my round at the nearby Bridge of Allan GC.  Airthey is a Par 3 Course of 1104 yards, par 27 operated by and within the campus grounds of Stirling University.  It's open to the public but when I played it around lunchtime, it was busy with students and lecturers out for a quick round between lectures etc. The holes range between 86 and 154 yards. Here's a view of the 154 yard 1st hole, with the famous Monument to William Wallace in the background.    The Starter had commented that although the course was usually a fine test, with small greens and trees that really tighten the holes and call for accuracy off the tee, the greens were in a simply dreadful condition, despite recent top dressing and intensive care.  This was a fair and very honest assessment since the grass on most greens had either died back or was really struggling to stay alive.  This was a great shame, since the University is well known for its links to golf and the course forms part of some other impressive golf training and educational facilities on campus. 

Scoring was just a lottery, since tee shots landing on bare dry earth (there's been no significant rain for 2-3 weeks) would invariably run off into the light rough nearby.  Indeed, after my opening tee shot had hit the green and bounded through into such rough, it occurred to me that it might be better to aim for the rough rather than the greens.  I managed to par the 4th, 7th and 9th holes, but otherwise, this was a round to forget and move on.  This is a view of the 7th green, with some of the campus grounds in the background.  Note the unfortunate absence of grass.  I'd missed the green short, pitched onto the front of the "green" and finished close enough to nudge in a single putt.  I also holed out from a remarkable 12 feet on the 9th for a closing par, a putt that could just as easily have bounced off the various bare sections and missed by a considerable margin.  I'd gone round in 33, with 15 putts.  As I left, the soil on the 9th green was being tested for Ph levels, but I fear that some of the greens may have to be replaced or returfed, such is the damage that has occurred here. 

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