Monday, 13 February 2012

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.

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