Tuesday, 29 May 2012

Doon Valley GC - Course no 505

I played here on 28 May 2012 after my round at Maybole. This is a moderately hilly 9 hole parkland/moorland course in the former coal mining village of Patna in East Ayrshire.  The course was built on a former coal bing, is owned and operated by the east Ayrshire Council and is home to the Doon Valley Golf Club, a small club founded in 1927 that draws its 100+ membership from the village and surrounding areas.  I'd been planning to play the course earlier in the year but had been advised that it tends to be quite boggy over the Winter months.  Even though it's been fairly dry and hot this Spring, the course was significantly softer underfoot than at nearby Maybole.  The Doon Valley course lies over the railway line from the modest clubhouse.  There's no automatic barrier etc. you just open the gate and cross the tracks after watching out for passing trains.

The course is less physically demanding than Maybole although at 2725 Yards, Par 35, is slightly longer.  The 1st is a slightly dog leg left uphill 344 Yard Par 4 (named "Incline" for obvious reasons!)  A decent drive and a 9 iron to just off the back of the green set up an easy opening par.  The 285 yard Par 4 2nd is more awkward since a deep gully runs across the fairway just where your drive would land and there's a drainage ditch at the bottom of the gully.  I avoided the drainage ditch but had a blind second to the green.  Another good lob wedge and single putt saved the par.  The same gully also comes into play on the 3rd and 6th holes, which cross each other.  I had the course all to myself, but couldn't help thinking that the gully could be a potentially dangerous area when the course was busier.

This is the 5th, a tricky 135 Yard Par 3, played slightly uphill to a small green shelved into the hillside, with another deep gully running almost the full length of the hole and OOB on the right.  The hole plays longer than it looks but banking behind the green feeds anything overhit back down to the green so it's better to be big rather than fall short and flirt with the gully.  I opted for an easy 6 iron, hit the banking and finished within 6 feet, with an uphill putt.  A good birdie there and a good hole.  The 7th is another good hole, this time a 484 Yard Par 5 played from an elevated tee.  The fairway is generously wide but unless you've hit a great drive you'll have a steeply downhill lie and won't see that a water hazard cuts across a hidden dip in the fairway.  A good second shot will clear the drainage ditch, but be warned.  I managed a good par after a lob wedge 4th shot close enough to the hole to leave me a tap in.

This is the 8th, another good hole, this time a 145 Yard Par 3 played over a small gully to a plateau green, with OOB right behind it.  I'd played my 27 degree Rescue club off the tee and plugged into the bank just a few feet short of the green.  An easy pitch from there and a 3 foot putt later and I'd escaped with a par.  The 9th should be an easy 287 Yard Par 4.  Find the fairway and it should be an easy pitch and at most a couple of putts.  Maybe I was just hot and a bit tired but I'm still not sure where the wild hook came from that took my drive onto the 7th fairway, leaving me a tricky 8 iron to the green, over a copse of trees.  I'd finished just off the back of the green, narrowly avoiding a bunker.  Another good chip to 4 feet set up an unlikely par.  I was round in 37, only 2 over par, with 11 putts (small greens again).  I usually check my clubs at the end of every round and just as well, as my lob wedge was missing from the bag.  Sure enough, it was still lying by the side of the 7th green and given the sweltering conditions I was very glad I'd not left it by the 2nd green, the only previous time I'd used the club that round.

Doon Valley has some good holes but I doubt whether I'd want to play it again, even on another hot and sunny day. 

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