Wednesday, 20 June 2012

Ayr Golf Centre @ Roodlea - Course no 507

The Ayr Golf Centre @ Roodlea, consisting of a driving range, short course practice area and an 1882 Yard Par 329 hole parkland course is a couple of miles east of Ayr, off the A70 road.  The short course practice area had formerly been a 3 hole Par 3 course, so that's one less for us to play in our challenge of playing every course in Scotland.  I played the 9 hole course on 20 June 2012 after an intensive spell caddying at tournaments over the Renaissance Club and other local East Lothian courses.  I'd strained a neck muscle a couple of days previously - a heavy bag, pouring rain and strong winds didn't help, so maybe I should have given it more of a rest, since this minor injury was the probably the root cause of some pretty erratic play at Roodlea. 

The 261 Yard Par 4 1st hole plays steeply uphill, with bushes and trees to the right ready to swallow anything wayward.  This is the Stroke Index 1 hole.  I'd hit a good drive up the left side of the fairway, but mis-hit a short wedge right of the green.  A good recovery and single putt avoided an opening bogey.  The 2nd, a drivable 260 Yard Par 4, is steeply downhill and blind off the tee, to a small green, as shown here.  An easy par there.  The 3rd is back uphill again, with another blind tee shot (and no direction marker to help).  This hole is only 250 Yards but plays much longer, especially if, like me, you find dense rough after missing the fairway right (which is further left than you might guess).  The small plateau green is also difficult to hold, so a bogey was reasonable.

This is a view over the course and the driving range from the back of the 3rd green. The 4th is an easy looking and flat 115 Yard Par 3.  By this time my neck injury was really playing up and a topped 60 yard tee shot led to another bogey.  The 5th is a 147 yard steeply downhill Par 3.  A full blown sh--- off the tee and another bogey!  No surprise that the Par 4 6th is steeply uphill.  It's only 265 Yards but plays far longer, so be warned. I'd hit a good drive up the middle of the fairway, but another sh--- led to another dropped shot.  I really should have taken my pull  trolley or a half set of clubs!  The Par 4 7th is steeply downhill and at only 255 Yards is easily drivable.  I was through the back of the green with my 3 Wood but a good pitch and a short single putt led to my sole birdie.

The 8th is steeply downhill with OOB all the way down the left side only a few yards from your target line.  This is a 132 Yard Par 3 and should be simple enough, but the green simply follows the line of the steep slope.  It would have helped had the green been cut into the hill, as on the 2nd (see the photo above).  I'd hit an easy wedge, landing the ball well short, but even so my ball ran right over the green into heavy rough.  This is a poorly designed hole, so the best of luck if you ever play here.  This is a view from the 9th tee.  This is a 197 Yard Par 3, slightly downhill.  Easy enough if you're straight, but I'd pulled my 3 Wood tee shot slightly left of the green into some lush rough.  A closing bogey for a gross 37, 5 over par, with 14 putts.

I'd enjoyed the round at Roodlea despite some poor shots and all of the climbing.  The greens were in superb condition and the course had been very well-maintained.  OK,  so I don't like the 8th, but don't let that put you off giving this place a try.  At only £8 a round, it's good value.

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