The sea is certainly visible, but this is a parkland course laid out on flat farming land on the road to the excellent Southerness GC, a few miles south of Dumfries. When I played it on 13 March 2012, it was a 9 Hole Course of 2332 yards, Par 33. Mungo, the genial owner, told me that sometimes there are 10,11 or even 18 holes, but for the time being he had sheep on the back 9, so it was definitely a 9 Hole Course for my "all courses challenge" purposes. Solway Links is also home to the only Golfcross course in Scotland. For those who've never heard of the sport, it's played with normal clubs to the same basic golf rules, with 2 major differences. First, you use an oval shaped ball, a bit like a rugby or American Football ball. Every shot is played from a special tee and instead of holes in the ground, you play to small rectangular nets suspended a few above the ground. The shape of the ball allows you to play for slices and hooks, draws and fades, high or low shots and get backspin, depending on how you place the ball on the tee. This is the ball! Golfcross is played over the same course as the conventional golf layout, but the goals were down when I was there, so I didn't get the chance to try my hand at this unusual sport.
Mungo had cut the course a few days before, but the grass was already growing freely, so it would be wise to stick to the fairways. The greens here are also small and quite fiery, so scoring would have been tricky, but for one other novel course feature. Instead of the regulation-width holes, the Solway Links holes were all around 6 inches wide, making putting less of a challenge. This is the 7th green, with some of the former back 9 holes and their current residents in the background.
This is the 9th green with the small clubhouse and my trusty 4x4 in the background. The course was deserted when I played it, but I gathered from Mungo that it was quite busy during the Summer months and that Golfcross was popular, particularly with visiting parties to the nearby links course at Southerness - a gem of a course, by the way! Thanks to the generous width of the holes, I only had 11 putts in my 35 stroke round. 2 over par gross, 3 7 under net par. Thanks also to Mungo for his background on the course and the game of Golfcross - a new one for me!