Polly had decided not to play the Allander Course after our round over the larger of the 2 courses at Hilton Park GC on 8 July 2011. The Allander is a 5469 Yard Par 69 off the Yellow tees and like its neighbour, is a hilly heathland course. However, the Allander is much the easier course and with no-one in front of me (until the 8th) I was able to play quite quickly. The heat of the morning had been replaced by warm cloudy overcast conditions so it was easy enough to rattle round and just as well, given the weather that developed later in the round. I was also playing fairly well, with a run of 4 successive pars on the front 9 enabling me to get to the turn in 39, only 4 over par. This is the excellent 5th Hole, a 370 yard Par 4 dog-leg right. I'd hit a reasonably good drive but my 2nd shot was semi-blind and I really didn't fancy going straight for the green with my new ball. Instead, I chipped an 8 iron up the fairway, with the intention of playing a short pitch down to the green. I didn't see that the fairway fell away to the right and ran all the way down to the green so I was really surprised to find my lay-up second shot had finished on the green quite close, leaving me 2 easy putts for par. If I played this course again I'd use the same tactic, as it's much safer than trying the direct approach.
I was waived through by a Ladies 4-ball on the 10th, just as the rain started. The first bolt of lightning and roll of thunder (some miles away) was on the 11th, a downhill 524 yard Par 5. I played the hole far too quickly and took 7 whilst deciding whether it was safe to continue and almost ran the short 285 yard Par 4 12th Hole (another par) as the weather worsened and the lightning got closer. I bogeyed the uphill 13th and although the rain had got worse, the lightning seemed to have stopped, so I decided to try to finish the course. The 14th is a 331 yard downhill Par 4. I'd hit a good long drive and only had a flick with my sand iron. This the result leaving me with an easy tap in for my only birdie of the round (the rain by this time was torrential, as the photo shows!)
By then I'd caught up with Bob, a local member, who kindly invited me to join him for the last few holes (and subsequently very kindly made a donation to Cancer Research UK - every contributions helps the cause and makes our golfing efforts even more rewarding!) The rain and lightning stopped just as quickly as they'd started and my good play continued, with further pars on 15 and 18. I'd gone round in 79, net 69 to match the par of the course, with 30 putts. The Hilton Course is a far more substantial test, but the Allander is good fun to play and although still quite hilly, it's not nearly as testing a walk. Together, these courses offer a great day out.
I'd played 9 courses in the past 7 days and had gone round the last one in net par in just over 2 hours, but it was time for a couple of days' rest before resuming the Challenge at Alford and Inverurie.