Thursday, 1 September 2011

Glenalmond College Golf Course - Course no 443

Glenalmond College is located in rural Perthshire a few miles west of Perth and is one of Scotland's leading private independent schools.   Amongst the extensive sporting facilities at the College there's an 18 hole golf course, measuring  5819 yards, Par 69 off the only set of tees.  The Glenalmond course is not normally open to the public as access is restricted to pupils, their parents and college staff etc. and local villagers.  Accordingly, I'm very grateful to the College for allowing me to play the course on 1 September 2011 and for waiving the £10 green fee, which I'll be posting to our nominated Cancer Research UK charity in due course.    There are 9 greens and 18 separate tees at Glenalmond and the course is moorland in nature, with  typically peaty soil.  This is a view of the 9th/18th green, looking over to the small clubhouse.

I'd met 3 club members (all of whom were former teachers at the school) by the quaint old greenkeeper's shed to confirm that there were no scorecards available and to ask for directions to the 1st tee.  Luckily I had an old unused card (from Bunclody Golf and Fishing Club) in my bag that could be used to take notes from the various tee markers.  I'd normally play balls off the front and back 9 tees at courses with 18 tees and 9 greens to save time and energy. However,  I'd failed to spot the 10th tee when playijg the 1st and it was only after I got to the 2nd hole that I discovered an 11th tee, establishing that there were in fact 18 holes. 

Since it seems unlikely that Craig and Stu will have cards when they play the course in due course, I've generated the following card, based on my round on 1 September -

Hole      Par   Yards   Stroke Index    Score   Putts

1            4        364            9                  4          1
2            3        128           18                 4          2
3            5        509            5                  6          1
4            3        130           17                 3          2
5            4        260           16                 4          1
6            4        348           11                 5          2
7            4        396           8                   4          1
8             4        453           2                   5          2
9            4        324          13                  4          1
OUT      35     2912                              39        13

10          4        325           12                 4          1
11          3        197            6                  4          2
12          4        443            1                  6          1
13          3        145           15                 4          2
14          3        215            3                  4          2
15          4        409            7                  5          2
16          4        352           10                 4          1
17          5        510            4                  5          2
18          4        309            14                4          1
 IN         34     2905                              40        14

TOTAL  69     5819                              79        27
                                       Handicap      10 
                                       Net score      69

The Glenalmond course is a good test and was in very good condition overall, testimony to the hard work of Neil, the Greenkeeper, who very kindly walked some of the back 9 with me and gave me some good advice on particular holes and greens.  Neil also gave me an interesting insight into some of the difficulties he faced in maintaining the course.  The course was pretty dry when I played it  but I imagined that drainage could be the biggest course management issue as the heavy peaty soil looked to be prone to water retention and flooding during wet spells, like so many other of our peat-based moorland courses.  It was also easy to imagine that there were no easy solutions and that the creation of ponds on some holes to collect surface water might become a health and safety hazard to young children playing the course on their own. 

As my score suggests, I played the Glenalmond course reasonably well, but it's not every day I get round in only 27 putts.  I guess my short game was good enough to get close to the hole, as none of my single putts were over 8 feet.  Neil's greens were also true running and firm, which helped.  The most difficult hole and my favourite on the course was the 3rd/12th.  As this photo shows,  a stream cuts across the fairway around 100 yards from the green.  It's only 3 feet wide and was invisible from where I played my second shots.    Although there's quite a difference in the length of these 2 holes, I managed to land in the stream both times.  Fortunately I was able to single putt, and presumably the club members know how best to avoid it, but for visitors like me this is a dangerous hole.

I also liked this, the 5th, an easy enough  260 yard uphill Par 4, played to a steeply sloping 2-tier green.  Played as the 14th, this becomes a hugely difficult 215 yard uphill Par 3.  I'd hit a decent enough driver from the 14th tee, but there's no run on peat based upslopes, so I do wonder how many of the young pupils at the College ever score pars on this hole.  I really enjoyed my round over the course, so thanks again to the College for allowing me to play it.

No comments:

Post a Comment