Monday, 15 August 2011

Craignure GC - Course no 438

I'd stayed on Mull overnight after playing on Iona and I had time to play the Craignure course on the morning of 13 August 2011 before getting the lunchtime ferry back to Oban.  However, the heavy rain had continued overnight and was still coming down in buckets when I arrived.  The course looked to be pretty sodden and being low lying and built on marshy looking peat-based ground, I was clearly going to get very wet, again.  The Craignure course has 9 greens and 18 tees, making it an 18 hole golf course.  I played the course with a ball from each tee, in effect playing holes 1 and 10 etc at the same time, to make sure I got round in time for the ferry and at least avoid some of the rain.  That plan worked OK, thanks to some really outstanding course signage.  As I've mentioned before in previous blog reports, some courses don't think about visitors and seem to assume that they will be able to navigate their way around their courses without difficulty.  Not here at Craignure.  The signage is amongst the best I have seen, so well done to the small band of volunteers that keep this little village course going.  They must be a trusting lot too, since although the clubhouse door was locked, they'd left the windows open!

The course turned out to be even wetter than I'd imagined, with water frequently splashing over my shoes.  This is a view from the 6th tee, but to get there the water on the path through the bracken was ankle deep.  On some fairways and paths I was literally walking through water 4-6 inches deep in places, so I was really surprised that all of the greens were still perfectly playable.  On the downside there was no run at all on the fairways and most shots were either plugged or in casual water.  Despite all of that and the continuing deluge I played relatively well, aided by some good putting.

This is the view from the 8th tee, with the 7th/16th green in the foreground and the 17th beyond that.  The driver of the silver car (a Mercedes!) in the middle of the photo decided it would be a good idea to watch me playing the hole and parked right behind the green, only a few feet away and right on my line.  My cautious 6 iron off the 8th tee (177 yards in the pouring rain!) cost me a shot, but I'd rather that than hit the car.  I finished the Craignure course in around 90 minutes, taking 84 overall, net 74, against the course par of 67, with 30 putts.  Craignure is short at 5227 yards, but plays much longer in the rain!  Good fun and great signage, but with 18 holes in such a small area  I suspect that it's best played when there are few others about.  Indeed, to play the 9th/18th holes, you almost have to drive over anyone playing the 7th/16th and 8th/17th holes.

If you ever get to make the trip to Iona, and I recommend you do, try adding Craignure to your itinerary and hope it doesn't rain. 

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