Polly and I played here on 14 September 2011 on a bright and cool early Autumn day after we'd had the tail end of the hurricane that had affected the US. Bearsden is a parkland course just north of Glasgow, and the recent wind and rain meant that the course was soggy underfoot and still strewn with fallen leaves and twigs. Bearsden plays as an 18 hole course, 5512 yards, Par 68, off the Yellow tees. There are 11 separate teeing grounds and 15 separate greens, so navigation would be a challenge without the excellent course map on the back of the score card. I don't know if the club gets many visitors, but this is one of the best course maps I've seen on my travels, so well done to the club for providing such a helpful guide.
I've been persevering with my present set of clubs for a while now, but an amicable separation is coming soon. Truth is, I've had enough of my Taylor Made R7 Driver, Ping G10 3 and 7 Woods and Callaway X16 Irons. They've served me well over the years but it's time for a radical change so I've ordered a custom-fitted set of Ping G20 woods and irons. It's not quite time for a "What's in the Bag?" feature though, as the new clubs will be set aside until Christmas, but like a woman scorned, my present set have fair taken the huff. Either that, or the Pro's comments about my swing faults during the fitting session have confused me even further. Suffice to say I did not cover myself in glory at Bearsden. Maybe it was the clubs, maybe it was my argument with the sat nav about the quickest and easiest way to navigate through Glasgow to Bearsden, but this was a really poor round of golf. The 1st was an easy 291 yard Par 4, but I'd hit a duck hook from the tee into a very soggy lie. I found the fringe of the green with a good 5 iron and shifted enough mud to ensure I'd be more cautious about taking a divot for the rest of the round. I even missed a 2 foot putt, suggesting my trusty Ping Anser 4 had downed tools in sympathy with its colleagues. The 4th is the Stroke Index 1 hole, an uphill 377 yard Par 4 that plays far longer than it looks. The 4th green is also tucked away to the right of the fairway, shared with the 13th. I'd an easy pitch to the green to set up a par putt, but careless alignment led to me finding a bunker. A thinned sand iron exit into a hedge on the other side of the green led to an ugly 7 and further frustration.
I'd been thinking about a tip the Pro had given me to stop me hitting the ball out of the heel with my driver and hitting the odd sh--- with my irons. I needed to change my set up slightly and on the 9th tee something clicked, albeit briefly. The 9th is a slightly downhill 364 yard Par 4. The 9th green is to the right of this photo, with the clubhouse and the 18th green to the left. There was little run on the shared fairway after all of the recent rain, so it was a surprise to find I'd actually hit the ball straight, leaving only a short wedge to the green. A second consecutive par and I was out in 45, "only" 11 over. Woopy-doo.
That new swing thought also led to another long straight drive (with a new ball) on the 10th, leaving only a short pitch to the green. The fairway was still pretty wet, and mindful of the mud I'd disturbed when playing this hole as the 1st, maybe my sand iron was a poor choice. I'd only 50 yards or so downhill to the green, but there's a lot of bounce on my sand iron and it's easy to thin the shot if you try not to take much of a divot. There's also OOB just beyond the 1st/10th green, and no doubt some local ball forager will one day find my errant Titleist. I hope he gets more out of it than I did! This is the 14th, a 131 yard downhill Par 3, scene of my sole par on the back 9. I'd feel better if Bearsden was a difficult course, but it's not. Most of the holes are pretty straightforward and not particularly memorable.
Polly and I agreed that the best hole at Bearsden is this, the 18th, a 408 yard downhill Par 4, sharing a fairway with the 9th. I'd hit another good drive, but the hole dog legs to the left, with some bushes blocking the line of sight to the green. I managed an easy bogey there, but a 92, net 82, with 33 putts on slow greens wasn't much fun. We'd played the back 9 with Will, an American who now lived locally and was thinking about joining the club. It's his choice, but there are lots of good courses in the area and Bearsden would not be my first choice. I doubt I'd play it again, but if I did, 92 would be an easy target.