Monday, 25 June 2012

Calderbraes GC - Course no 509

I played this 9 hole parkland course on 25 June 2012.  Calderbraes is pretty short at only 2593 Yards, Par 33 and is quite hilly, as I'll explain.  The course is located just off the junction between the M73 and M74 motorways to the east of Glasgow, but don't even think about playing here without a car sat nav - I doubt you'd find it amongst the many busy roads in the area. However, it's worth the try as I thought this was a great little course.  There's an honesty box, but the Greenkeeper had the scorecards and some wise advice about the course layout, which isn't the most easy to follow. 

The 1st is a steeply uphill 359 Yard Par 4, but watch out for stray balls from the 5th tee and the 6th, which cuts across the 1st.  I'd been resting a slight neck injury and hadn't hit a ball for nearly a week, a record in recent times!  I'd struggled to hit through the ball properly last week and the opening hole here is pretty daunting, so I was delighted to find the green in regulation after a good straight drive and a 27 Degree Rescue.  The 1st hole shares a long and narrow green with the 4th and is the highest point on the course.  An easy par at the 1st.  The 2nd is steeply downhill with a sharp dog leg left.  At only 325 Yards, Par 4, you won't need your driver off the tee, but you'll still need a longer drive than mine, which was a slightly mis-hit 20 Degree Rescue and which finished in Position Z, as this photo shows.  A bold wedge might have found the green, but I chickened out, preferring to keep my new ball for a while longer! Still, an easy enough bogey.

The 3rd is a tricky little Par 3, with the small green nestling in a hollow, as shown here, completely blind from the tee.  This hole is only 131 yards, but plays far shorter.  I'd gone with 9 iron and found an awkward hanging lie in the bunker to the right of the green.  I played the bunker shot OK, but my ball trickled off the green into light rough.  An over-bold shot from there might put me back into the bunker, so I was happy enough to scramble a bogey.  The uphill 4th is the Stroke Index 1 Hole and deservedly so.  This is a 434 Yard Par 4, aptly named "Narrows."  With OOB all the way up the left and trees up the right, accurate hitting is a must.  The green perches on top of a hill and your third shot will be blind unless you have hit 2 huge blows.  Another bogey there, but this is a really difficult hole.

The 5th is a short downhill 261 Yard Par 4.  I'd hit my Driver into light rough 20 yards short and right, into an area doubling as part of the 6th fairway (and well within range of anything mis-hit from the 1st tee!)  The course wasn't particularly busy but even so, I had to wait until the 2-ball in front and the 4-ball in front of them cleared the 6th tee.  The wait was worthwhile, since I had another easy par.  The 381 Yard Par 4 6th is another good hole.  The tee shot is played blind over a small hill, with OOB on both sides.  The fairway slopes down from right to left and then takes a dog leg left steeply downhill to a small green, as shown here. The best line is slightly right of the marker, but unless you've hit 260+, your second shot will be blind.  I'd guessed that the banking to the right of the green would throw the ball onto the green, so I played my 27 Degree Rescue in line with the small round-topped tree, finishing 4 feet away.  I sank the putt for my single birdie at Calderbraes (hopefully impressing the 4-ball watching from the 7th tee).

The 7th is a 228 Yard Par 3 played steeply downhill to a long narrow 2 tier green.  I'd guessed it might need my 3 Wood, but the flag was right at the front of the green on the lower tier and my drive finished right at the back on the upper tier, leaving me a 60+ foot putt.  Sadly, I 3-putted for bogey.  The 8th is a 150 Yard Par 3, played uphill and parallel to the 7th.  My 7 iron tee shot was short, leaving me with a blind 20 yard pitch over steep banking to a small green.  I scrambled a par after a good lob wedge and a 6 foot putt.  The 9th is a slightly uphill 324 Yard Par 4, dog leg right, with trees up the left side and OOB on the right.  I played for a fade off the tee, but didn't bring the ball back far enough (either that or I'd aimed too far left!)  Anyway, I ended up under a tree in an awkward hanging lie in heavy rough.  I could only hack the ball back into play, so a closing bogey was a pretty good result.  I'd gone round in 37 with 15 putts, so slightly under net par.

Calderbraes is quirky, requires straight hitting and is great fun to play.  The course was in great condition and I'd recommend you give it a try.  There are a number of 18 hole courses nearby (I went on to play at Sandyhills), so a quick round at Calderbraes followed by one of the other courses would be a good day's golf. 

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