Wednesday, 5 October 2011

Palacerigg Family Golf Centre - Course no 456

This golf centre is just outside Cumbernauld, under a mile from the separate Palacerigg Golf Course.  As the name suggests, this centre is primary intended for practice and game development for all ages and playing levels and with a covered 20-bay driving range and indoor training facilities and a PGA Pro, alongside a 9 hole course (and an on-site pub and restaurant), it's certainly well-equipped.

I played the 2675 yards Par 34 course after my earlier round on 4 October 2011 over the Palacerigg course.  I'd only just dodged a heavy shower at Palacerigg by getting round quickly, but the rain had stopped by the time I teed off again.  The views to the west from Golf Centre course extend 10 miles or so to Glasgow, or would have done had it not been raining there when I teed off.  It looked as though I could get most of the way round before the rain arrived, but not so.   My wet suit and rain hat were on by the time I left the 2nd tee and it was fair belting it down by the 3rd, but at least it was only a 9 hole course, so how bad could it be?  Pretty bad as it turned out, since although I was round in under an hour, it seemed longer in the driving rain and even stronger wind.
I've found that at most short courses attached to driving ranges the layouts are pretty undemanding, geared towards beginners. The Palacerigg Golf Centre course serves that market too, but is more of a test than some I've seen on my travels.  The course is also quite hilly and the ditch that cuts across the 1st, 3rd, 4th, 5th and 9th holes adds to the interest (and difficulty).  The recent wet weather meant that grass on some of the fairways was on the long side, so the course would have been playing very long, even without the wind and rain when I played it. 
The 1st hole is a steeply downhill short Par 4 of only 250 yards.  There's lots of hang time on the drive and with a strong side wind blowing, I was lucky to find my ball after it had  been blown left into wet and clinging rough.  Add to that a tiny and steeply sloping green (thankfully slow due to the wet ground conditions) and I'd started with a double bogey.  The 216 yard Par 3 2nd is steeply uphill directly into the wind and I needed a good single putt for par.  The 3rd is a 142 yard Par 3, played over a ditch, again into the wind and rain.  Another good single putt there for par.  The 4th was at least downwind, but at 324 yards and with a small green, I was happy enough with a bogey.  By then the weather was pretty awful and on a longer 18 hole course, I'd have been thinking about walking in.  However, there were only 5 holes to go.  The 5th was again straight into the driving rain and at 490 yards over a ditch and heavy rough ready to trap anything wayward, this was a tough test.  Double bogey there!
I'd hit a good drive on the 6th, but I then faced having to hit a wedge over a small tree to a green on the crest of a steep hill.  An 8 iron might have been a wiser choice, so another bogey.  The 7th is a downhill 183 yard Par 3.  It had actually stopped raining by then and the wind had dropped.  Even so, my 7 wood was wide of the small green and only a good pitch saved the par.  Back on came the rain,  another hill to climb up the long 8th and another bogey.  This is the 9th, a closing 347 yard Par 4, with the driving range in the background.  I managed a closing par for a gross 40, net 35, or net 1 over par with 13 putts, a good score given the conditions.  As I climbed the slope back up to the driving range and car park the clouds cleared away and the sun came out.  Just my luck.

My thanks and best wishes to Nigel, the owner and Pro for his generous help.

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