Tuesday, 28 February 2012

Montrose Broomfield Course - Course no - 479

I played here on 28 February 2012 following my earlier round at nearby Edzell. GC.   Broomfield is an 18 hole links course, measuring a short 4584 yards, Par 66 off the Blue tees, the only ones in play that day.  The Medal tees extend it to 4825 yards, but the course is almost completely flat, lying adjacent to the formidable Montrose Medal Course.  Although there are some gorse bushes to contend with the fairways are generously wide, making Broomfield a far easier proposition than the Medal Course, which acts as a Final Qualifying Course when the Open Championship is held at nearby Carnoustie.  Although there have been various changes to the Medal Course layout over the years, some parts date back well over 350 years, making Montrose the 5th oldest course in the World.  The Broomfield Course was laid out in the 1920's and offers an easy walking links golf experience, with fast running fairways and greens. Polly and I had really enjoyed playing the Medal Course some years ago, so I was really looking forward to this round over its shorter neighbour. This is a view of the 2nd green, giving a good indication of the flatness of the course.

The Broomfield course layout is not the easiest to follow, so I was glad to have the useful course plan on the back of the scorcard, and the course signage was also very good.  The wind was slightly stronger than when I'd played at Edzell earlier in the day and was blowing straight down the course, making the first few holes shorter and others particularly tricky.  Broomfield has 6 Par 3s off the Blue tees and although the rest are Par 4's, most are pretty short, at well under 300 yards.  The longest hole is the 3rd, but even that is only 377 yards and being downwind, played far shorter that it looked.  In contrast, the 5th, at 353 yards, was played directly into the wind and was a really tough test, reflecting its status as the Stroke Index 1 hole. 

I played the front 9 pretty well, despite bogeys at each of the 3 Par 3 holes.  I'd parred all of the other holes, but in reality only the 5th offered a real test as some of the downwind holes were almost driveable  and others played into the wind were short enough to reach with a Driver and a short iron.  Even when I'd missed a green in regulation my short game came to the rescue.  Accordingly, I scored 9 successive 4s for an outward 36 with only 11 putts on easily the best greens I've played on since last Summer. The 10th was another downwind hole of 301 yards, Par 4 and the Stroke Index 2 hole.  The fairway was a bit too invitingly wide, hence my wild hook into light rough.  However, at least that poor shotopened up the green, as a water hazard obstructs the approach from the right of the fairway, as shown here.  I'd played an easy wedge hoping for a kindly bounce onto the green but I caught an upslope and narrowly avoided slipping into the hazard.  A par from there was a good result.  The Par 4 11th should have been an easy enough hole at only 253 yards, but it was played into the wind and my thinned wedge sped right through the green, finishing on the top of a 3 foot high bank separating the 11th and 9th greens.  A scrambled par after a 6 foot single putt meant I'd extended my run of 4s to a remarkable 11 holes.  I've definitely never done that before!

That run came to an end at the 12th, a downwind 126 yard Par 3 played blind over a bunker, as shown here, with only the top of the flag being visible from the tee.  I'd hit a wedge to within 20 feet, so at least my par  meant I'd kept a 5 off the card, for a while at least.  The 15th is named "The Ditch" and sure enough, there's a deep  and very watery ditch in front of the green.  This was a 287 downwind Par 4 and I'm very glad I took my 3 wood off the tee on my way to another 4.  However, any lingering hope of avoiding a 5 was gone on the 16th, a 315 yard Par 4 played into the wind.  I'd hit a good drive but a hooked second to within a couple of inches of the OOB (honest! I measured it carefully!) and I was happy enough to drop only a single shot.  The 17th is perhaps the best of the Par 3s, 153 yards directly into the wind, with OOB all the way on the left.  I used a 3 wood to punch the ball low for a good par.  The 18th is a 271 yard Par 4 finishing in front of the Caledonian Golf Club clubhouse, one of the many Montrose-based golf clubs that play over the Montrose Golf Links.  The hole was at the back of the green, within yards of OOB and cars parked in front of the Caledonian's clubhouse.  I'd punched a 9 iron low onto the green, but my ball ran through into heavy rough, and a bogey from there was a disappointing end to a good round.

Broomfield is a short and pretty easy links looking course, but I'd played it in a modest enough wind, going round in 71, net 61, or 5 under net par, with only 25 putts.  This course is seriously flat and there's little shelter, so I imagine that on the kind of really windy days that make our links courses so enjoyably challenging (and sometimes almost impossible to score well on!) even this course would become seriously difficult.  Accordingly, I suspect I caught Broomfield when it was pretty defenceless.

The Medal Course gets most of the attention from visitors and rightly so as it is a magnificent course, but Broomfield is well worth a try, particularly if you're not used to links golf.  It's also great value.  Another feature of the Broomfield course is the plaques close to teeing grounds about the history of golf in Montrose. Here's a couple of the most interesting.

Edzell GC - West Water Course - Course no 478

Edzell is a quiet and very pretty village lying midway between Dundee and Aberdeen at the gateway to the Angus Glens reaching into the foothills of the Grampian Mountains.  Polly and I had played the Old Course at Edzell GC some years ago.  The Old Course dates back to 1895 and was designed by top golfer and architect Bob Simpson and amended some 39 years later in line with recommendations from the legendary James Braid.  It was apparently originally heathland in nature, but a major tree-planting programme started in the 1960s has brought a parkland air to the picturesque and peaceful setting.  Edzell is one of my favourite Scottish inland courses and has a great clubhouse.   Although I'd remembered from our earlier visit that  there was also a 9 hole course, I wasn't sure what to expect when I turned up to play the 9-hole West Water Course on 28 February 2012.  The West Water Course opened in 2001 and is a Par 32 laid out amongst mature pine trees on a flat site beyond the 2nd Hole old Course, and next to the club's Driving Range game practice area, a short 2 minute drive from the Clubhouse.  The West Water is an easy walking course that when I played it was clearly popular with some of the club's more senior players.  However, it's still a good test in its own right.

The course starts with a gentle 109 yard Par 3, with a single bunker and pine trees left and right protecting the small green.  I'd just missed the green and had an easy pitch but the green was faster than it looked so that cost me an opening bogey.  The 2nd is a 463 yard Par 5, with pine trees again protecting the green and making the second shot pretty demanding.  I missed the green to the left again so bogey No 2 on the card.  This is the 3rd Hole, a 148 yard Par 3. With the tee laid out so far to the left and the flag on the left front of the green, the trees to the left of the hole came into play.  It was obvious that some tree thinning had been going on and thanks to the club's excellent website, I gather that this will bring increased sunlight to the green in the early morning.  I've now researched hundreds of club websites as part of my efforts to play every Scottish golf course, but Edzell's is probably the most informative about course developments and even has its own "Greenkeeper's News" tab, enabling members to hear about course developments, ask questions and learn more about the challenges of maintaining their course.  A really innovative tool that I wish other clubs would consider.  I over-cooked an attempted draw and again missed the green on the left, so another bogey.

The 4th is a straight 305 yard Par 4, played downwind on the day, so an easy enough opening par. The 5th is a a more demanding 328 yard slight dog leg right, played directly into the strong breeze with a small hidden gully in front of the green.  I was glad I took an extra club to reach the front of the green, setting up my second par.  The 6th is a 116 yard Par 3.  I over-clubbed, misjudging the breeze and was lucky to get my long putt close enough to scramble a par.  West Water is generally pretty easy to navigate, but I did find the 7th pretty confusing.  This is the view from the tee. The hole is only a 263 yard Par 4, downwind, but I'd not realised that the line lies slightly left of the bunker in the middle of the picture.  I just aimed at the dark tree to the right of the bunker, flew it and had only a short lob wedge to the green.  A good 10 foot putt and I'd birdied the hole. 

I'd caught up with a Seniors' 4 Ball (using buggies) by then, so it was good to have a small audience for that birdie and for my next tee shot.  This is the 8th, a 103 yard Par 3.  I'd hit a full sand iron dead on line, but my ball was a lot further away than it looks on this photo and I even missed the 6 foot putt.  The last is a 150 yard Par 3.  I found a greenside bunker off the tee and had another bogey, but at least I'd managed to go round in 35, net 2 under par, with 14 putts.

The West Water is a good little course, well worth playing before you tackle the Old.  Overall, Edzell is an excellent complex for such a small village and both courses are well worth a visit.

Friday, 24 February 2012

Strathclyde Park Golf Course - Course no 477

This is a 9 hole parkland course in Hamilton, owned and operated by South Lanarkshire Council, playing to 2964 Yards, Par 36, off the Yellow Tees, which I played on 23 February 2012 after my round at nearby Dalziel Park.   The Strathclyde Park course forms part of a large Country Park and is bordered by Hamilton racecourse and runs close to the M74 motorway.  The full course was open for play apart from a couple of the normal greens and although some fairways were soggy, the conditions were pretty good.  The earlier rain had stopped and it was pleasantly warm, a rarity for a Scottish February.  The only problem was that the wind had really strengthened from the morning, such that none of the flags would stay in their holes.  I'd stupidly been blaming the guy a couple of holes in front for not replacing the flags and it was only after I'd walked forward on the 4th (up a steep hill!) to replace the flag that I realised it was really just the wind doing its best to make things more difficult.  This is the 1st, a slight rightdog leg  369 yard Par 4.  Although the full greens were open for play, they were slow and pretty bumpy, so putting was almost a case of hitting the ball harder than normal and hoping for a kindly bounce!

I'd bogeyed the 1st but a good long drive up the 2nd set up a wedge to the green and a couple of lucky putts secured an opening par.  This is the 3rd, a downhill 168 yard Par 3, with the M74 just visible in the background.  I'd played an easy 5 Rescue to the green and another couple of putts secured the par.  The 4th is a 361 yard Par 4 played from an elevated tee down into a valley, with the second shot being played blind over a hill.  I missed the green in regulation but a good pitch and single putt gave me another par.  The 5th is an uphill 279 yard Par 4 - and another easy par.  This was becoming a good round...

The 6th is a formidable 477 yard Par 5 and the Stroke Index 1 hole, played slightly down and across hill.  I was on in 4 and a 15 foot putt gave me yet another par.  The 7th was an uphill 174 yard Par 3, played directly into the wind.  This is the view from the tee, with the racecourse directly behind the hole and the flag nowhere to be seen (again). I'd just missed the green with my Driver (!) and wasted the effort of walking forward to replace the flag, which had fallen out of the hole again by the time I'd got back to my ball.  By that time I was also blaming the greenkeeper for making such shallow holes!  Anyway, a lob wedge to within a few inches after hitting the flag led to my 6th successive birdie.  The 8th is a 373 yard downhill Par 4.  I'd hit a good drive and 3 Wood to within a few yards of the green and a good pitch and run set up my 4th single putt of the round.  Still only 1 over par after 8 holes!

The last is a 448 yard Par 5, down and across hill after the drive.  The fairway slopes steeply from left to right for the second shot, so I'd aimed my drive on the line of a hard-surfaced pathway.  There had been little run on the fairways but my ball actually hit the path and bounded on, giving me a good sight of the green.  I was still short after a 3 Wood, but a sand iron to 10 feet and a couple of putts gave me an 8th successive par for a gross 1 over par 37, with 14 putts.  Net 32, or 4 under net par was a really satisfying end to the day's golf. This is a view of the final green, with the flag displaced, as usual.  The Strathclyde Park had been in pretty good condition and was not overly-demanding, hence my run of successive pars.  A good "cooncil" course and amazing value for money at a mere £2.75 for the round. 

Dalziel Park Golf Course - Course no 476

This 18 hole parkland course of 5872 yards, Par 70 off the Yellow Tees is part of an impressive Hotel, Restaurant and Conference Centre in Motherwell, a town a few miles south east of Glasgow.  Unusually, I'd just fronted up to play the course without doing any Internet research beforehand.  I only knew that Dalziel Park was an 18-holer, but 23 February  2012 was a very mild but damp day and I was planning to play at the nearby Strathclyde Park Course anyway.  My sat nav got me there easily, although the voice-over designer had obviously never heard of the great Walter Hagen.  The Course is on Hagen Drive, incongruously pronounced "Haijen" by my sat nav.   Some basic research would have told me that the complex had changed hands last year and that according to some course reviews on the Internet the course had been very poorly maintained by its previous owners.  Another 9 holes to the original 9 hole layout some years ago, but when I played the course only the original 9 holes were open for play (Holes 1, 2 and 12-18).  The Pro told me that extensive work was underway to improve course drainage and that it was hoped that the full course would re-open in due course.  As matters stood, it was clear that the 9 holes that were open were very much "work in progress" and far short of  the new owner's redevelopment plans for the course.  

Most of the West of Scotland parkland courses that I've played in recent months have been pretty soggy underfoot and as I'd expected Dalziel Park was no different, but the extensive drainage work that is being done here should  reap its rewards in due course.  I didn't see the closed holes (in a completely separate section beyond trees at the back of the 2nd green) but those that I did play were enough to suggest that there was a pretty decent golf course here under redevelopment.  I'll certainly need to go back sometime to play the holes that are currently closed, so I'll probably go back in the Summer next year, to see what's been done.

In the meantime, Dalziel (pronounced DL - sat nav designers please note) Park is still a pretty good test and will get better as the course dries out and drainage is improved.  It starts gently enough with a 244 yard Par 4, but any notion that this is an easy course goes on the 2nd, a tough 309 yard uphill Par 4 that plays a lot longer than it looks.  I pretty much had the course to myself other than a 4 ball of elderly members, equally oblivious to the strong wind, fine drizzle and muddy conditions.  It's always a challenge when the folk in front invite me to play through (and are watching for proof of the wisdom of their adherence to good etiquette).  My 6th Hole (in reality the 15th) was a downhill 136 yard Par 3 and one of the 4 ball had put his tee shot an impressive 6 feet of the flag.  An easy 7 iron to within 4 feet should have set up my birdie, but the greens were slow and a bit bumpy (no surprise at this time of the year!).  Still, an easy par would have reassured the guys that I'd not hold them up. This is the 7th (in reality the 16th), a largely uphill 431 yard Par 4 and the Stroke Index 1 hole.  With the fairways being so wet and the strong wind blowing almost directly into my face there was no way I was going to reach in regulation.  Indeed, I was still a yard short in 3, but a lob wedge to within a couple of inches was pretty satisfying, albeit for another bogey.

I thought the best hole here was the 9th (really the 18th), as shown here.  This is a slightly uphill 462 yard Par 5.  The drive is blind, the 2nd needs to clear a half-hidden stream and mature trees bordering both sides of the fairway  and the third should just be a short pitch at most.  I managed an easy closing par that way to go round in 37, with 16 putts.  Par for the course in play was 34, so my score was net 2 under par.  Dalziel Park wasn't at its best when I visited, but don't let that put you off, since my guess is that this course could be pretty good once all of the redevelopment work is completed.  I certainly hope the new owners achieve their ambitions for the course.  Thanks again to the Pro for his warm welcome and his kind donation to the Cancer Research UK charity.

Monday, 13 February 2012

Ravenspark Golf Course - Course no 475

Ravenspark is an 18 hole course in Irvine and is owned and operated by North Ayrshire Council.  The course is very much links-style in nature despite bordering on Irvine Town Centre and being a bit away from the coast itself.  Some fairways were showing signs of recent flooding and were still pretty damp, so the course was playing to its full length of 5881 yards Par 70 off the Yellow tees,  with none of the run on the fairways that might normally be expected during the Summer months.  The normal greens (thankfully all in play!) were also cut longer than they would be in the Summer, slowing down the pace of putts, but the course was still in pretty good condition when I played it on 13 February 2012 (and certainly a lot drier than at nearby Annanhill, which I'd played earlier in the day). 

Ravenspark is pretty easy walking, with only a few gentle slopes to tackle.  The clubhouse sits between holes 1-11 and 12-18, with the last 5 holes being particularly flat and short.  The course had been quiet (as might be expected on a Monday afternoon in February!) but it looked as though a bunch of elderly members had skipped on at the 14th for a few holes, so if you ever play here, be prepared for potential delays on the last few holes if these guys are around.   
Ravenspark starts with an easy 318 yard Par 4.  Hit anything reasonable off the tee and it's a wedge to the green, as shown here.  I'd done that OK and scored an easy opening par.  I'd noticed that a guy had teed off right behind me and was already addressing his second shot as I strolled to the 2nd tee.  I didn't hear his first "Fore" and as his second more urgent "FORE!" rang out, his ball whistled past within a few feet of my head, so a very close call. I resisted the temptation to comment on what must have been an almighty sh---.  Maybe it's just a concidence that the guy then cut over to the 4th and subsequently missed out another few holes  after I'd caught up with him on the 8th.  Fighting a sh--- is bad enough without an audience and/or risking an insurance claim!

I'd another easy par at the 2nd, but I made a complete mess of the 3rd, a 410 yard Par 4.  This is a low lying part of the course and was pretty muddy, and a fluffed pitch and run didn't help, but double bogey was a real disappointment.  The Ravenspark greens are quite small and the flags were mostly at the sides of the greens to minimise wear at this time of the year.  I'd found a greenside bunker on the 4th, a flat 156 yard Par 3 and with little green to work with I did well to get the bunker shot to within 10 feet.  Two putts from there meant that I'd dropped 3 shots in 2 holes.  I did at least par the next 3 holes, all short Par 4s.  The 8th is the Stroke Index 18 hole and was a  slightly downhill downwind 267 yard Par 4.  I'm not sure how I missed the fairway by 20 yards after a big hook, but taking 4 more from 50 yards out for a bogey 5 was just ridiculous.  Another mistake on the 9th cost me another bogey.  I was out in 40 with 13 putts and regretting my decision not to pack some energy bars!

The 10th fairway had been badly flooded, as large areas of grass had died and been replaced by mud, so a bogey on a slightly uphill 450 yard Par 4 was OK given the conditions.  The 341 yard Par 4 11th looks pretty formidable off the tee, but there's more room than you think.  There's OOB down the right and from the tee it looks as though your drive has to be threaded  through a small gap in whin bushes and gorse.  A dip in the fairway also suggets that the gap is very reachable, so my strategy was 3 wood and a short iron to the green.  The bushes on the right are actually a lot further away than they look but it doesn't help when you duff the 3 wood and proceed to plug your second into the face of the pot bunker protecting the flag.  Time for my best bunker shot for a while to within a foot of the hole, as shown here.  An easy par in the end, but I resisted the temptation to play the hole again, just in case....

Holes 12 and 13  run parallel to each other in a dip between the 14th and OOB.  Par these and you'll do well.  The 12th is a 382 yard Par 4 and the Stroke Index 1 hole.  I just missed a birdie putt from 30 feet, but got an easy par.  Dense gorse and whin bushes run the length of the right side of the 13th  fairway.  There's ample room on the left, but then you face some trees that block your route to the low-lying green, so only a very straight drive will do.  I managed that but blocked my second just short of the trees, leaving a blind 9 iron approach, but at least I got that to within 15 feet before missing the par putt.  The 13th is only 351 yards, but is quite tricky.  From there, Ravenspark peters out as a challenge and the last 5 holes are short, flat and relatively easy.  For example, this is the 16th, with the main coast road through Irvine in the background.  The hole is only 292 yards, so it's only a drive and a flick with a wedge.  The flag was near the front so I got a wee bit cute and landed my pitch on the up slope to the green.  Even so, a scrambled par was easy enough.  I parred the last 5 holes without incident for a gross 77, net 67, or 3 under the net par of the course, with 26 putts on small receptive greens.

Ravenspark is not a particularly challenging course and offers an easy introduction to links golf.  It's kiddies' stuff compared to the "real" links courses nearby e.g Royal Troon, Old Prestwick or even Irvine Bogside on a windy day, but it's great value for money and I enjoyed it.  North Ayrshire Council operates 3 "cooncil" courses (the others being Largs Routenburn and Auchenharvie) and Ravenspark is probably the best of the lot, with Auchenharvie a poor third.

Annanhill Golf Course- Course no 474

Annanhill is an 18 hole parkland course in Kilmarnock owned and operated by East Ayrshire Council, 5954 yards, Par 69 off the Yellow tees.  A number of temporary greens were in play when I played it on 13 February 2012.  Although drainage was an obvious problem on some of the lower lying parts of the course and some areas were muddy underfoot, conditions were still better than I'd expected.  The course was probably playing to something like 5500 yards, but although this made scoring easier in one sense, the temporary greens were mostly hairy and very slow.  Overall, a realistic par was probably around 67 rather than 69.  The course has a few gentle hills and the front 9 is over 300 yards longer and considerably more testing than the back 9.  Drainage was a significant problem on the opening 3 holes, each of which played far longer than their yardages of 442, 416 and 511 yards and balls plugged on landing on the wet ground.   There's a high power electricity line running the length of the 3rd fairway.  Each of the 60+ foot high pylons has a sign warning of death if anyone climbed the pylon and there are coils of barbed wire around 10 feet off the ground to deter any illiterate idiots.  There's also a newish looking golf ball impaled on one of the spikes of barbed wire on one of the pylons, but just how unlikely is that?  Surely any ball hitting such a spike would just be deflected and bounce off - very odd!

I'd bogeyed the opening 3 holes but as the Par 3 4th was little more than a 90 yard downhill pitch and run to a temporary green, I'd high hopes of stopping the bleeding of strokes.  However, the slope on the temporary green was more severe than I'd thought, so another bogey wasn't the start I'd been looking for.  This is the 5th, a 419 yard Par 4.  A good single putt for an opening birdie was encouraging, but I'd rather limped to the turn in 41, 6 over par.  The best hole on the front 9 is probably the 9th, a 394 yard Par 4 dog leg left, played from an elevated tee.  This hole is named "The Burn" (the Scots word for a stream or small river) but as the elderly couple in front had just invited me to play through, I'd not noticed that important piece of information on the scorecard.  The burn is completely hidden when playing the second shot and only the heavy ground conditions prevented my ball from running into the water hazard.  I chipped to within 6 feet and missed the putt, but this was a really good hole.

The back 9 turned out to be quite short and as I'd been driving very well and my short game and putting were also not bad, it was pretty easy to score well.  I certainly don't remember the last time I scored birdie, par, par, par, par, par, birdie, bogey, par on any back 9, but I'm getting ahead of myself.  This is the 16th, a gently undulating 314 yard Par 4, playing to nearer 300 yards.  I'd waited until the 3-ball in front were on the green before driving and just as well as my ball had for once run on a few yards after landing, finishing just a short pitch from the green.  An easy sand iron to within 10 feet, as shown here, set up Birdie No 3. 

Best hole on the back 9 is the 18th, a 435 yard Par 4 played downhill from the tee to a (very wet when I played it) wide fairway, with an uphill second shot to a plateau green.  I'd hit a good 3 wood to within 25 feet and was happy enough to get down in 2 from there for the closing par and 33 in total for the back 9.  I'd scored a 74 in total, net 64, or 5 under net par, with 28 putts, thanks mainly to the small size of the temporary greens that were in play.  Not bad. Annanhill is a good "cooncil" course that is well worth a visit, but is probably even better in drier Summertime conditions.  I'd only played it on 13 February 2012 because it was en route to Ravenspark, a nearby links course that I'd been wanting to play for some time and which I was hoping would offer drier playing conditions.

Wednesday, 8 February 2012

Rouken Glen Golf Centre - Course no 473

The Rouken Glen Golf Centre is on the south side of Glasgow and includes a James Braid designed 18 hole parkland course, measuring a short 4360 yards from the Yellow tees, Par 65 and a driving range.  There are some hills to tackle, but the course is so compact and short you'd need to be seriously unfit to have any trouble getting round. This is the shortest 18 hole course I've played in a long time and with 7 Par 3s of 102-203 yards and 11 Par 4s, all well under 400 yards, most of the holes are simple enough if you hit the ball reasonably straight.  There are a number of small streams to avoid particularly on the back 9, but if you avoid them, as I did, it's possible to score well here. 

It was bitterly cold and frosty with some temporary greens in play when I played here on 8 February 2012.  The ground was rock hard, meaning that the course was playing extremely short.  This is a view down the 268 yard 4th, a short Par 4.  I'd hit a reasonably good drive down the right side of the fairway, hoping to get some run.  Sure enough, my ball was on the green, so that was an easy first birdie.  However, the hard ground meant that there were also some odd bounces. I'd hit a sand iron on the 6th, a 117 yard Par 3 but my ball landed just short of the green and bounced 10 yards back towards the tee.  Bizarre!
I'd reached the turn in 36 (4 over par) in little over an hour by following the guy in front.  With the layout being so compact, the route was not always obvious, so it was lucky he was there and doing the full round, since signage was very poor, with no hole numbers on the tees or flags.  OK, so it's Winter, but surely there are some inexpensive tee markers that can be used to brighten up the place and help visitors? The 10th, as shown here, is probably my favourite hole at Rouken Glen.  This is a 301 yard Par 4, played steeply downhill, with the 2nd shot played over a stream to a small raised green.  The 11th is an uphill 252 yard Par4.  Hit a reasonable drive and it's only a wedge to the green.  I'd a 20 foot downhill putt left, but managed to hole it for a second birdie. 

This is a view from the 12th fairway over to the clubhouse, giving a flavour of the slopes and views over the city, with the 3rd tee and fairway in the left foreground.  It really was as cold as it looks!  I'd been playing reasonably well recently, e.g. a gross 76 (net 4 under par) off the back tees at my own course Glen GC (see www.glengolfclub.co.uk) a couple of days before, and that decent form was obviously continuing at Rouken Glen.  The 16th was a short 116 yard Par 3.  I'd missed the green to the right but chipped in for another birdie to get back to 4 over par. 

The 17th was a 299 yard Par 4, as shown here.  I was on in 2 and holed a 4 footer for my 4th birdie of the day.  Unfortunately I bogeyed the last, a slightly uphill 140 yard Par 3 that played a bit longer than it looked.  That took me back to 4 over for a 68, net 58, or 7 under net par, with 25 putts.  This might sound impressive, but even if you mishit the odd shot, the holes are short enough to scramble a bogey at worst.  I'm not sure what happened to the clubhouse, but it was simply a derelict shell, used only as a store for the adjacent driving range.  It was sad to see a course designed by the great James Braid in such a sorry state.  Maybe it looks a bit better on a bright summer's day, but with so many excellent courses within a few miles, e.g. East Renfrewshire, Eastwood, Bonnyton, Cathcart Castle, Whitecraigs, Williamwood and Pollok, I doubt I'd ever want to play Rouken Glen again, famous designer or not.