Tuesday, 17 April 2012

Kirkcudbright GC - Course no 495

This is an 18 hole parkland course measuring 5412 Yards Par 68 off the Yellow tees.  Polly and I played the course early on 16 April 2012 on a day that began brightly but with every passing hour threatened the heavy rain that had been forecast (but more of that later).  We were both pretty tired out after our previous rounds and Polly still had her cold.  The club's Course Planner states that "The gentle slopes...reward the golfer with magnificent panoramic views over the Galloway Hills and the Dee estuary."  The views are indeed spectacular, but I'm not so sure about the "gentle slopes" bit.  Indeed, by the time I'd reached the top of the 7th Hole and surveyed some of the equally high holes yet to come, I thought to myself that if I'd wanted to be a hill farmer I'd have bought a sheepdog.  Maybe that's being unkind, but we both thought that this was a seriously hilly course.  This is a view of the 18th green and the clubhouse.

The Kirkcudbright course (pronounced "kirkoobree") is parkland in nature and starts at street level at the back of the town, winding its way up into lush farmland before returning down to the town.  The 1st should be easy enough, despite having a blind second shot to a small green, but the course really comes to life  from the 2nd.  The fairway runs uphill and slopes steeply left to right, with another blind shot over a hillock to a small green with OOB alarmingly close by.  A couple of opening bogeys were quickly followed by several more, with my opening par coming at this, the slightly downhill 176 Yard Par 3 9th Hole.  A pond guards the left side, but just aim at the right side and the contours take the ball down onto the green.  Polly also scored a good par and this her getting ready to play the hole.

The best hole at Kirkcudbright was probably the 11th, an awkward 279 Yard Par 4, as shown here.  I'd played a 3 Wood to just beyond the marker pole and from there had a short pitch steeply downhill to a small elevated green well protected by a pond and a stream cutting across in front of the green.  A par there was good and although I was finding the course pretty tiring, my game held up reasonably well - but not enough, as Polly won our Stableford match easily to square our Summer 2012 holiday golf matches 3-3 (I'd won narrowly at  the Cally Course). 

We also liked this, the steeply downhill 15th, a 213 Yard Par 3 that played far shorter than it looked.  You've got to respect any hole when the Course Planner warns you twice in as many sentences that the green is difficult to putt on.  There's a flat bit at the top left of the green, but there are seriously steep slopes to contend with and the hole had been cut on just such a slope.  With more time to spare I could have amused myself for hours and still not mastered this green, so a bogey was hardly a surprise.  Thereafter, the last 2 holes are almost completely flat, and a welcome relief after the severe elevation changes on almost all of the previous holes. 

This is the 18th, a gentle 383 Yard Par 4, but take care not to go left.  My second shot was only slightly offline but went perilously close to the clubhouse and OOB, as shown.  I'd gone round in 86, net 76, or 8 over net par, with 34 putts.  Maybe I was just tired, but I did find the hills on this course a bit of a struggle.  I doubt we'll play it again, given the other high quality courses in the area that we preferred e.g. Stranraer and Wigtown County. 

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