Monday, 18 July 2011

Williamwood GC - Course no 425

Polly and I played this excellent 18 hole parkland course in Glasgow on 7 July 2011.  Williamwood is one of the clubs  which, like our own Glen GC, was founded in 1906, so in a sense, we felt at home here.  Indeed, the club was particularly welcoming and were looking forward to playing the course, despite the torrential rain that preceded us onto the 1st tee.  We'd booked a time, the starting sheet was pretty full, so out we went.  The 1st was a gently downhill 375 yard par 4.  I'd hit a good drive and a wedge to the left of the green, but by the time we were ready to putt the green was flooded, with streams of rainwater running down the length of the green.  We should probably have waited a few minutes before resuming play to allow the shower to pass, but instead we kept going and I took a bogey in the heaviest rain I'd played in for a long time (with worse to come!)  Given the conditions we agreed to concede short putts if they were affected by standing water.  We both had good wet suits, hats and umbrellas, so walking in wasn't really considered and by the time we'd played the 2nd, an uphill Par 3, the clouds had vanished and we were playing in bright sunshine, with the standing rainwater quickly evaporating to create sauna-like conditions.  Nice.  This combination of cloudbursts and sunshine persisted for the remainder of our round, such that I lost count of the number of times I stopped to get the rain gear on and off.  The course took all of the water pretty well, but as might be imagined there was no run on the fairways.  Overall, the course was in great condition. 

I'd started reasonably well in the soaking wet conditions, but really struggled on the 6th and 9th during further cloudbursts.  I'd duck-hooked a drive on the 6th into bushes and splashed my way up the 388 yard par 4 6th, only to get into a greenside bunker with a second ball and take a 9.  Worse was to follow on the 9th, another slightly uphill 385 yard Par 4.  I'd hit a good drive but pushed my second into an unplayable lie under a tree and after an sh---, taking an 11.  So, 12 over on these 2 holes alone meant I was out in 53.  My Sunderland wet suit still worked OK, but the rain had poured down my neck and my supposedly waterproof new Footjoys had long since sprung various leaks.  My golf bag was saturated, my grips were soaking and I'd long since abandoned my gloves.  With further showers approaching, we could either plod on or give up, but such was the quality of this course that we continued.  Indeed, we were actually enjoying ourselves, despite the deluge and I can only attribute that to the Williamwood course.  Parts of the back 9 had been substantially modified very recently and although I'd not seen the previous layout, I thought the new additions were really good.  The 10th was an excellent 525 yard Par 5 with various water hazards to avoid and this, the Par 4 325 yard 12th was equally good.  The 12th plays from an elevated tee and needs a good second shot to avoid a stream in front of the green and a large pond to the right of it. 

Another pond awaits anything left of the short 119 yard Par 3 13th, and it also comes into play from the 14th tee, as shown here.  We were by this time pretty soaked and I'd hit a really good long drive up the 14th, the 359 yard par 4 Stroke Index 1 hole.  However, the heaviest cloudburst of all we'd face that day broke by the I'd reached my ball, made all of the worse by a sudden strong wind.  I'd hit a good 7 wood to within 20 yards of the green but took another 4 from there.  I've never experienced a full tropical monsoon, but that was a good enough (if cold!) sample.

As you'll have gathered, this was not a day for scoring well.  We were simply enjoying the course and promising ourselves we'd come back when the weather forecast was more favourable.  There are some really good holes at Williamwood and although I'd few birdie chances, I'd hit a really good drive on the 17th, an awkward 392 yard Par 4, with a blind second shot over a hill to a small green. My trusty 7 wood came to the rescue again, leaving me with a tricky 20 foot downhill putt with a 12 inch break.  I mishit the putt, missing the line I'd chosen, but the ball still disappeared down the hole for an unlikely round highlight.  Here's Polly working out the implications!

It turned out that I'd needed a Par 4 on this, the excellent 403 yard 18th hole. I'd hit a good straight drive, but this still left me with a blind second to the green.  I'd come up just short of the bunker to the right of the green but a good pitch and single putt ensured I got a closing par.  I'd just beaten Polly to take our match score to 6-4 in her favour, with 3 more games to come.  I'd taken 99 blows, net 89, to navigate the course.  We'd not needed to concede short putts despite the deluge and remarkably, I'd had only 28 putts on greens that had held up very well.  We both really liked the course and I'd strongly recommend you give it a try.  I'd certainly want to play it again sometime.

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