Dalmuir Municipal is an 18 hole parkland course in Clydebank, a riverside town just outside the west side of Glasgow, owned and operated by West Dunbartonshire Council and measuring only 5045 yards, Par 67, from the Yellow tees. When I played with a couple of local members in the Seniors Open at nearby Clydebank & District GC on 20 July 2010 (Course no 326), one of my playing partners had warned me that Dalmuir was extremely hilly and a really testing walk. I finally played the Dalmuir course on 31 January 2012 on a cold and cloudy day. Indeed, it was only 2 degrees C and had started snowing when I arrived mid-morning so I sat in the car for a while before deciding to risk it. I was still suffering the after-effects of a heavy cold so this looked likely to be a course that might either kill or cure. The dispiriting view from the car park was proof enough that Dalmuir would be a tough physical challenge, with some steep holes evident on what turned out to be the last few holes, but more of them later. This is a view from the 1st tee, with OOB to the left and a stream cutting across the fairway. The 1st is only 280 yards from the Yellow tees, but as signage was pretty basic at best, I'd started from the Medal tee by mistake, making my first hole a 300 yard Par 4. I cleared the stream easily and had only a short pitch to the green so a good start and with so many hills still to be climbed, there was no way I was going to go back up to the Yellow tee to correct my mistake. I'd started with an easy par.
The 2nd is a poor blind hole. At 226 yards, Par 4, it should be easy enough, but the small green is hidden behind a huge and overgrown mound about 190 yards out from the tee. I tried to clear the mound with my 3 wood, but came up short in heavy rough on the up slope of this mound. Luckily, I'd a decent lie and an even luckier wedge to within a few feet set up an unlikely first (and only!) birdie at Dalmuir. The 3rd was on the other side of a river running through the course and at 418 yards, Par 4, was the Stroke Index 1 hole. The drive is uphill, aiming at a narrow gap between mature trees. The fairway there slopes steeply from right to left, leaving a totally blind shot to the right of the gap and for me at least, a 9 iron to a small green well protected by bunkers. There was no run on the fairways, so this hole played a lot longer than it looked. I missed a 10 foot putt for par, but a bogey was OK. I'd caught up with the player in front by then, as luck would have it the guy from Clydebank & District GC who had first warned me about Dalmuir Municipal in July 2010! We played the next 8 holes together before he went home for lunch, after the 11th - he obviously knew what lay ahead from 13 onwards! Holes 4-11 are all pretty straightforward, with 2 medium length Par 3s and a run of short Par 4s from 266 to 317 yards. Scoring on this part of the course was pretty easy. I was only 3 over par at the turn and with an easy par at the 10th and a silly bogey at the 176 yard Par 3 11th, confidence was high.
The conditions underfoot were tricky and on some parts of the course extreme care was needed to avoid slipping in muddy or frozen areas. I'd not noticed the steep slope off the side of the 11th until is was too late and almost went head over heels down onto the 12th tee. No great damage done thankfully but the wet suit will need a good wash! The 12th is a steeply downhill 92 yard Par 3 played over the river to a small green. I miss-hit an easy wedge and missed the green by a good 10 yards for a poor bogey. From there, signage to the 13th tee would have helped, though I'd guessed correctly that it would be on the far side of a tall hedge. The 13th is a tough 419 yard Par 4 steeply uphill. I'd hit a really good drive but a bogey was OK. The route to the 14th is well sign-posted, but I struggled for a while to see where the green could be. This is a 220 yard Par 3 and by a process of elimination I worked out that the hole must lie on the other side of the river. The only likely candidate was a small plateau green requiring a carry of around 195 yards over the river and up a steep hill, avoiding trees to the right of the green. My 3 wood was just short, but the ball ran a good 50 feet down the steep hill leaving me with a blind approach. A bogey there was OK. The 15th was just as silly. The tee lies at the bottom of the hill that I'd tackled on the previous hole. The scorecard said that the15th was a 150 yard Par 3 and again, the only candidate was a flag at the top of a steep hill back across the river. Since the green was so high above the tee it was difficult to choose the right club. It was certainly not the 6 iron I attempted, so another bogey there. I eventually found that the 16th tee lies on the other side of the 13th fairway but by then I'd already decided that Dalmuir would not be featuring in my list of favourite courses. Signage or a course map would have helped!
The Par 4 16th was my favourite hole at Dalmuir, being steeply downhill for a change and an opportunity to open the shoulders off the tee. It's only 367 yard and plays much shorter. This is a view from the middle of the fairway - not pretty, but at least the high-rise residents will have a good view. I'd hit a good drive and had only a wedge to the green. A couple of putts later and I was still 8 over with 2 holes to go. The 17th is a bit shorter than the 13th, at only 354 yards, Par 4 but it's almost as steep. I managed a par with a good single putt from 10 feet.
The 18th is the longest hole at Dalmuir at 439 yards, Par 4. As shown here. It's steeply downhill, but although I'd hit a really good drive towards the middle tower block in the distance, my ball ran to the right leaving a steeply hanging lie. The plateau green lay behind yet another hill, so I'd a blind shot of around 180 yards. I stubbed my 20 degree rescue club, leaving me a wedge to the green. I suppose a closing bogey was OK, but I'd lost another shot, ending up with a 76 gross, net 66 or 1 under net par. I'd taken 35 putts on greens that were slow and fairly bumpy, so considerable room for improvement there.
Dalmuir is a "cooncil course" that provides value for money golf but I didn't particularly like it and I very much doubt whether I'll play it again. The course is laid out in a compact area and does well to accommodate 18 holes. I doubt whether anything could be done to make the course less hilly, but better signage would certainly help to improve the "visitor experience." Even some better quality tee markers (with hole numbers and yardages, please) would improve the appearance of the course at little cost.