Monday, 28 May 2012

Maybole Golf Course - Course no 504

This is a 9 hole course in the village of Maybole in South Ayrshire owned and operated by South Ayrshire Council, measuring 2450 Yards, Par 33 off the Yellow Tees.  I played here on 28 May 2012 on a hot (well, 26 Degrees C) and sunny day.  There was no Starter or honesty box in sight and no-one around other than 30+ lady pensioners in the clubhouse playing cards - an unexpected sight - all of whom suggested I "just play the course if you want, son." 

Maybole is a short parkland hilly course with 6 Par 4s ranging between 231 and 361 Yards and 3 Par 3s, one of which in my humble opinion needs a serious re-think.  After a short and steep climb to the 1st tee, the course starts with a steeply downhill 333 Yard Par 4, as shown here.  This was a gentle introduction but like so many of the other holes here, the green slopes away from you and anything even slightly long goes through the green, with a narrow bunker at the back lurking in wait.  I missed the bunker but still bogeyed the hole.  The 2nd is the longest hole on the course at 361 yards, back up the hill, with a blind second shot to a small green.  A marker pole of some kind would have helped and I only scrambled a par by chipping in from the side of the green after hitting my second shot well right of the correct line.

The 3rd is a good 197 Yard Par 3, slightly uphill, with the green located on a shelf on the side of the hill.  Aim right and let the ball run down onto the green.  I'd hit slightly too far right and got caught in light rough, so another bogey on the card.  The 4th is much the same as the 1st, steeply downhill and the 5th is much the same as the 2nd, again with a blind shot to the small green.  The 6th is a 220 Yard Par 3, steeply downhill and aptly named "Slippy" since the front half of the long and narrow green simply follows the steep slope of the hill.  Some effort has been made to level out the back half of the green, as shown above, but it looked to me as though the green needed to be shelved far more deeply into the hill to allow balls landing short to run onto and stay on the green.  I'd played an easy 27 Degree Rescue short of the green, but with the flag only a few feet on, I'd no chance of finishing anywhere near the hole.  Even with the green being soaked by the sprinkler, the slope on this green was the main contributor to my bogey.  A very poorly designed hole.

The 7th was my favourite hole, a dog leg right 278 Yard Par 4 played steeply uphill and blind off the tee.  The marker pole is a reasonably accurate guide, but a fade is required to avoid running out of fairway and finding a deep drainage ditch that borders the left side of the fairway.  The second shot is slightly downhill to another green that slopes away from you.  This is deservedly the Stroke Index 1 hole.  I'd hit a good drive and an easy pitch with a sand iron to light rough at the back of the green.  I'd only 15 feet or so to the hole and the putt was reasonably straight, so a good birdie there.

The dog leg right 8th is the last of the uphill holes and is a short 231 Yard Par 4.  Avoid the large fairway bunker and it's only a flick to the green, which slopes steeply downhill from back left to front right.  I'd cleared the fairway bunker off the tee and hit a lob wedge to within 8 feet, leaving an awkward downhill putt which just caught an edge and fell in for an unlikely successive birdie.  I would have been looking at another 8-10 foot putt had it missed.  The last hole at Maybole is a 143 Yard Par 3.  I bogeyed this hole after finding the right side bunker off the tee.  I'd gone round in 36 gross, only 3 over par, with 11 putts (well, the greens are small and it helps when you chip in twice!) 

Maybole was a pleasant enough track on a sunny day, but with so many other excellent courses in the area, I doubt whether I'd want to play it again, even if something was done to improve the 6th.

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