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.

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