Saturday, 14 January 2012

Cameron House Hotel Wee Demon Course - Course no 471

I played this excellent 9 hole parkland course on 13 January 2012 after my earlier round at nearby Vale of Leven GC.  The Wee Demon Course is part of the excellent facilities at the 5-Star Cameron House Hotel on the west side of Loch Lomond.  Most of the course had been in shade all day so the morning's frost hadn't lifted and the greens were pretty firm and white.  Given the absence of any footprints, I was the first (and only!) player that day.  The course is just past the seaplane mooring and at the side of the yacht marina and weaves its way between and around some high end luxury timeshare lodges overlooking south end of Loch Lomond.  I'd been expecting the Wee Demon to be a gentle untesting pitch and putt course, but there's actually 4 Par 4s, water hazards aplenty and a variety of testing holes.  The course is still only 2155 Yards, Par 31, but scoring well was difficult.  I also faced a more serious technical challenge.  The batteries in my digital camera had died on the 1st tee and I'd no spares.  I'd acquired a new smartphone the day before but who reads 119 page manuals when trial and (frequent) error works (eventually)?  I finally got the camera to work on the 3rd hole and I was just glad that the course was quiet and the surrounding lodge balconies were empty as it took me a good 20 minutes of fiddling with the phone to get any photos.  I was just hoping no-one phoned me as I still had no idea how to accept an incoming call!

Anyway, the Wee Demon lived up to its name.  The 1st is a 415 yard Par 4 running along the side of the sloping course and overlooking the marina.  There's a burn hidden in a gully around 250 yards from the tee but that was out of range for me.  I was more concerned about thinning my ball out of a greenside bunker into one of the lodges surrounding the green.  This is the Stroke Index 1 hole, so bogey was OK.  The 2nd was even more tricky.  This is a healthy 237 Yard Par 3 with a 190 yard carry over a lake, with OOB to the left.  My drive had plugged in the semi-rough just short of the green and I'd just about given it up as lost before finding it.  I hit a good pitch onto the green, but the 2nd green was completely frozen and my par putt just skidded its way past the hole.  Another bogey and I was beginning to really respect the course.  The 3rd was only 117 yards, but the green was three-quarters' surrounded by the lake I'd crossed when playing the 2nd.  The teeing ground was also frozen so it was no great surprise when my footing slipped and my sliced tee shot veered 20 yards short and right of the green, just short of the lake. Luckily the green had seen some sun during the day and was softer than the 2nd.  My lob wedge hit the pin and stopped a few inches away so that was a first par.  The 4th was a 170 Yard Par 3 and its green was obviously white frozen solid. I'd hit a good drive which ran off to the side of the green and I was left with a slow put up and across a steep slope.   I got lucky with the pace, so another par.  The 5th was a 225 Yard Par 4 with another small lake in front of the green.  I'd hit a good drive just right of the green, but a clumsy chip should have been closer.  Par was OK, but that was a missed birdie opportunity.  The 6th was slightly uphill 417 yard Par 4 with another completely white green.  Another nearly lost plugged ball after my second shot and my new Titleist was clearly at risk.  Bogey there was not bad in the circumstances.

The 7th was a daunting 163 Yard Par 3 over another small lake.  I cleared the water (and the green) easily so yet another bogey.  This is the 8th, an uphill 263 Yard Par 4.  the fairway narrows at around 200 yards and a stream and road on the right come into play.  I'd hit a strong drive up the right of the fairway well past the bend in the road and had only a lob wedge to the green.  all of the lodges have balconies overlooking the course and I guess that on warm Summer evenings there might be quite a gallery of spectators eager to pass judgement (or laugh!) I should have got the lob wedge closer, but a par there was OK. 

The 9th tee was in a shady part of the course under trees and the greenkeeper had put a temporary tee further back, turning the 148 yard downhill final hole into something like a 165 Yard Par 3, as shown here.  My strategy, such as it was, was to hit an easy 3 wood.  I'd noticed that the green looked as though it had seen the sun and would be receptive to a ball carried onto it.  there's a gully behind the green and OOB (and a road and buildings) beyond the gully.  3 Wood was simply a daft choice as my ball carried the green and hit halfway up the large tree directly behind it.  I was almost stymied for the pin, but if I could just hit a lifetime lob wedge through a tiny gap in those branches....and why is it that your poor shots are invariably noticed by passing walkers etc and your lifetime shots go unseen?  I'd a 3 foot putt for par, but the greens had been unpredictable, either fast, slow, bumpy, smooth, frozen or soft.  This would be a slow and bumpy tester.  Dead centre for a closing par and a 35 total, net 30 (net 1 under par), with 15 putts.

The wee Demon is a seriously good 9 hole course and a tough test.  It's also great value for money at only £10 a round but if you play it during the Summer months, be prepared to have an audience!  There's one final oddity about the Wee Demon.  I'd need to check, but I suspect that at almost 17 inches long, it may have the biggest scorecard in Scottish golf!

No comments:

Post a Comment