Palacerigg Golf Course is laid out over part of Palacerigg Country Park, just outside Cumbernauld and is an 18 hole course, owned and managed by North Lanarkshire Council and is home to Palacerigg Golf Club. Most of the course is heathland in nature and apart from a few minor slopes, is pretty flat and easy walking. I played here on 4 October 2011 and had expected that the course would be relatively dry after some unusually hot and sunny weather at the end of September, but more recent rain meant that the course was completely saturated, with casual water throughout. Indeed, a couple of the greens were flooded, with temporary greens in play and it was occasionally necessary to take a preferred lie in the light rough to minimise the spray when taking any divot on second etc. shots. The saving grace was that it wasn't raining (yet!). The course wasn't busy, so I got round in well under 3 hours, thanks to the 3 guys who let me play through on the 2nd (I later passed them again when playing the 15th. They were on the 8th by then and would catch some heavy rain later in their round, by which time I was already playing my second course of the day).
With a strong swirling and blustery wind blowing, it was difficult to make club selections and any shots landing in casual water would stop dead or plug. These conditions meant that the course was playing its full length of 5972 yards, Par 71, off the Yellow tees. The greens were heavy and very slow, but were true running and in good condition. The course is laid out in 2 loops of 9 holes with both the 9th and 18th finishing in front of the clubhouse windows. The front 9 is mostly parkland in nature, set amongst mature trees. This is the view of the clubhouse from the 9th, a 329 yard par 4 played directly into the strong wind (I needed my Driver and a 7 wood to reach the green in regulation!) but a good couple of putts for par meant I was out in 40, or 5 over par. That was pretty good, considering I'd lost a ball and had a double bogey on the 475 yard Par 5 7th, the Stroke Index 1 hole. I'd hit a good 3 wood, but the sidewind blew it into high soaking wet rough, never to be seen again.
The back 9 is more heathland in nature and if anything was even more saturated. I was therefore surprised to see the greenkeeper mowing the 10th fairway, splashing through pools of water and throwing up spray and cuttings as he went. The 13th is an unremarkable 265 yard short Par 4, I'd hit a good drive into the wind and had only a short punch with a wedge to the green, as shown here. My stance was reasonably dry but the ball was obviously on casual water, but the fairways here are generously wide and I couldn't be bothered to take a drop on drier ground. In the circumstances, my shot to within a few feet pin high must have been pretty good. I didn't see it, though, as I got my face and clothes washed for free by the spray! I did at least hole the putt for a solitary birdie and my clothes dried off by a couple of holes later.
This is the 18th, a tricky 447 yard Par 5, played directly into the wind, with a lateral water hazard down the right side of the second half of the fairway. I'd hit a good drive but my ball finished on an awkward sideslope. I should have laid up to the left side of the fairway with a 6 or 7 iron, but was too ambitious with a 3 wood, narrowly missing the water hazard. I then under-hit a pitch and run into more casual water (in those conditions, definitely the wrong choice of shot!) and bogeyed the hole, for 39 on the back 9. I'd had a 79, net 69, net 2 under par, with 28 putts. I liked the Palacerigg course despite the underfoot conditions. It's not very difficult and would have been even better had it been drier.