Friday, 14 October 2011

Wishaw GC - Course no 457

I played this 18 hole parkland course on 14 October 2011 on a dry and warm day.  Although there had been some recent rain where I live in the East of the country it quickly became clear that it had been far worse to the West, as the Wishaw course was pretty saturated. Wishaw GC is south east of Glasgow and at 5761 yards, Par 69, is not long, but with the course being so wet there was no run on the ball at all and high shots onto the fairway would plug, risking a lost ball.  I only found that out on the 10th, since the fairways were narrow and I don't think I hit a single fairway on the front 9!  It was quite an achievement to get to the turn without losing a ball, since although the rough was quite short, Autumn on a parkland course means fallen leaves, so it was quite difficult to find balls even marginally off line.

Wishaw is pretty flat and easy walking.  The first 7 holes run almost parallel to each other, separated by lines of trees and light rough.  The 8th, a short 146 yard Par 3, as shown here, at least provides a welcome change in direction.  My inaccurate driving in a gusting crosswind meant I dropped a shot on each of the first 6 holes, so a poor start.  Pars at 7-9 meant I was out in 41, but the front 9 was pretty bland.  The back 9 was more interesting, with more significant changes in elevation and direction of play.

This is the 11th, a 156 yard Par 3 played from an elevated tee, with OOB to the left.  I'd hit a reasonably good shot just left of the green and just missed my birdie after a good chip, but at least I was playing pretty well, despite the wet ground conditions.  I also had a good birdie chance at the short 275 yard Par 4 13th after finding the middle of the fairway for once off the tee, in yet another plugged lie.  I'd packed my laser range finder and was a bit nervous about using it as there were a couple of greenkeeping staff working at the back of the green.  The hole was front left of the green, well protected by a large bunker and I'd 84 yards to the flag.  At least the guys stopped working while I played, but they (and the bunker!) were well within range, so I was really pleased to hit a good wedge to within 4 feet. It's tempting to blame my missed putt on the recently-tined green, but I suspect I just misjudged the line.  Still, an easy par there was satisfying.

This is the 17th, a 178 yard Par 3 played directly into the wind, with an upslope in front of the green adding to the  playing length.  Indeed, I needed a decent hit with my driver to make the front of the green for another par.  This hole is called "The Glen" the name of my own home course in North Berwick, one of several holes I've come across that have that name.  Maybe not enough for a composite course yet, but who knows?  It would be nice if there were enough such holes to make up at least a 9-hole composite!

I'm not sure whether there's a clear "signature" hole at Wishaw, but my own favourite was the 18th, a tricky dog leg left 392 yard Par 4.  I'd hooked my drive into trees on the left, but I found a reasonable lie away from the puddle I'd landed in and there was a gap back to the fairway.  An easy 7 wood, wedge and a couple of putts and I'd finished the back 9 in 39, for 80 in total, with 32 putts.   A net 70, or net 1 over par was pretty good really.  Wishaw is probably a good test off the back tees in good weather, but it was not at its best when I played it, due to the soaking wet underfoot conditions.

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