Tuesday, 13 March 2012

Brighouse Bay Championship Course - Course no 481

I played this course a few miles south west of Dumfries on 12 March 2012. As Brighouse Bay Championship is described in the club's website as a links course, I didn't think to check in advance that all of the holes would be open for play, so it was disappointing to hear on arrival that the top half of the course was closed to allow it to dry out after the  above average Winter rainfall and that only the bottom 9 holes were open for play.  Brighouse Bay is almost 130 miles from my house and not the kind of place you'd find by accident, so I'll need to go back  to play the full course.  I'd also been hoping to play the nearby Kirkcudbright course on 13 March, but it was busy, so that's another trip to set up sometime. 

The full Championship Course is 5701 yards, Par 70 but the course I played was 2204 yards, Par 32 and seemed to be holes 1 and 13-18 from the main course, with a couple of temporary winter greens used to make up a 9 hole Winter course.   It was easy to see why half of the course was closed, as the 1st and 13th fairways were still pretty saturated, and anything hit with loft would plug on landing.  Like my own course in North Berwick (Glen GC) this course is by the sea, but I don't consider it to be a true links course, as the soil is more parkland in nature, without the true sand-based soils to be found on genuine links courses.   The club had a separate 9-hole Winter scorecard, but there was no Winter course map and course signage was disappointing, so navigation was a potential problem.  Fortunately I was able to follow a couple of local members who kept me right by indicating where tees and greens were. This is the 2nd Winter Course hole (in reality the 13th on the full course) with the Starter's Hut in the background.

It's difficult to say much about the Winter layout itself, other than that the views of the coast and the sea beyond were pretty good, even on the grey and overcast day when I played here.  This is the 6th green (the 15th on the Championship Course layout) giving a flavour of the scenery. The top half of the course is a good couple of hundred feet or so higher than the section that was in play and I suspect that on a clear sunny Summer's day the views from up there would be quite spectacular, so I'm looking forward to a return visit sometime to play the full course.  In the meantime, I had to satisfy myself with some mediocre play over the Winter Course.  For the record, I had 37 strokes with 15 putts, equating to a net 32, or even net par.  However, that's still a pretty dismal score on a such a short course.

Best hole?  Probably the 8th, the 17th on the Championship layout.  This is an uphill 370 yard Par 4 and the Stroke Index 3 hole.  The fairway is quite narrow and a pond awaits anything seriously under hit from the tee.  The fairway narrows further towards the green, which is further away than it looks.  A second fairway pond lies hidden from view for your approach shot to the green, as shown here, so be warned. A good hole, but I wish I'd known the pond was there, as my almost new Titleist is still in there somewhere.  At least I'll know next time.

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