I played here on 25 August 2011 with Graeme, an old friend of mine at the Glen GC. We were on our way to play at Beith GC and we stopped off here to play the 9 hole parkland course attached to the impressive Mearns Castle Golf Academy, to the South West of Glasgow. I've come across some pretty unremarkable driving ranges and practice facilities in my own travels around Scotland, but this is definitely one of the very best I've seen, with coaching led by some former European Tour professionals who have also become leading coaches in their own right. Throw in a children's nursery (a great idea!) and an excellent 2542 yard Par 33 parkland course and this centre really stands above the rest. We'd expected that on a midweek morning the place would be pretty quiet. Not so, but thanks to the very welcoming and helpful staff there, we squeezed onto the course (and I really liked the odd name for the local business that sponsors the Ist hole!)
The scorecard even had a helpful map of the course, but did we study it in advance? Did we know there was a stream across the fairway at the 1st, ready to drown anything overhit from the tee? Of course not, as that would have been good course mangement. Instead, we footered our way around, wary of the hills we'd be facing later in the day at Beith. Indeed, I was still tired after so many successive days of golfing and caddying etc. and by the time I'd negotiated the modest hill on the 2nd Hole here, I was reminded I'd forgotten to bring my lighter golf bag and leave half of my clubs in the car! I'd taken a double bogey at the 1st, so a par at the 2nd, a largely uphill 495 yard Par 5, and the Stroke Index 1 hole, was pretty satisfying. However, another double bogey at this, the 394 yard 3rd Hole, was disappointing.
We both liked the 4 Par 3's here, ranging from 141 to 191 yards, with the uphill 8th, at 191 yards, being a really good test. I'd gone round in 40, net 35, (so 2 over the course par) with a disappointing 17 putts. We both really liked the facilities at Mearns Castle Golf Academy and envied those who had it on their doorstep.