Wednesday, 4 May 2011

Bridge of Allan GC - Course no 402

I played here on 4 May 2011, on yet another warm sunny and almost cloudless Spring day.  The Bridge of Allan GC sits on high ground above the Village that also bears its name and is near to Stirling.  This is a 9 hole hilly parkland course of 2560 yards, Par 33, off the Yellow tees that I played from.  The course starts with a 223 yard Par 3, steeply uphill, with a dry stone dyke (a wall, for any non-Scots readers!) some 20 yards in front of the green.  The steepness of the hill meant I couldn't even reach the green with my driver, so a tricky start.  The 2nd hole has OOB all the way up the left side of the narrow fairway, with the drive played blind over another hill.  I managed a good par there to recover from the bogey at the 1st.  However, the 362 yard Par 4 3rd hole also had OOB up the left side and a small plateau green, so a second bogey there.  This is a view from the 4th fairway, with Ben Lomond in the far background.  At least the views were superb, as the golf was pretty average at best.   The 4th is a 314 yard Par 4.  I'd taken driver and hit it way left into the rough, leaving an easy wedge to the green for a good par.  The right club from the tee for me would have been no more than a 3 wood, since the hole is pretty much downhill, with the left side of the fairway leading to heavy rough, hidden by another dyke.

The 5th is a good 208 yard Par 3, steeply downhill, with OOB beyond a small dyke immediately behind the green.  I'd over-clubbed again with my 7 wood, but at least the dyke stopped my ball from being lost in the woods beyond the OOB.  a good pitch and run and a single putt and I'd rescued a par.  The 6th is steeply uphill and blind for both the tee and second shots, but at least I found my ball, 20 yards through the back of the green in heavy rough.  Another bogey there, though.

This is the 7th, a really good driving hole from an elevated tee, played with a draw over the tree in the middle of the photo.  At only 289 yards, this Par 4 would have been drivable had I got the drive on line.  However, I hit my drive almost pin high into the line of trees beyond the line of bunkers to the right of the fairway, so another bogey.  I parred the 8th OK, a 390 yard steeply uphill Par 4 and the Stroke Index 1 hole.  I was certainly glad that this was only a 9 hole course and that I would not need to go round again, but the steepness of this  fairway would certainly have been a demanding 17th, had I gone round a second time. 

The 9th is a 167 yard par as shown here.  The hole is downhill so plays much shorter than you'd think.  I got to the front of the green with an easy 8 iron, played to the left of the green to take full advantage of the slopes.  However, I got lucky, as there's some gorse bushes lie hidden awaiting anything slightly wayward from the tee.  A good finishing hole, though.  I went round in 40, 7 over par, with 15 putts, so not too good, for my 400th new course.  Only around 225 to go!  The Bridge of Allan course was in great condition, with fast and smooth running greens and I'd recommend it.  The views are really tremendous, but don't carry your full bag, as I did!  The climbs will get enough of your attention without you adding to the challenge by carrying a number of clubs that you probably won't need.   

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