Monday, 25 June 2012

Sandyhills GC - Course no 510

I played here on 25 June 2012 after my round at nearby Calderbraes GC.  Sandyhills is an impressive 5944 Yard Par 70 parkland course on the east side of Glasgow.  The course looked to be in great condition and so it proved.  This is the 1st, a superb 496 Yard Par 5 played from an elevated tee, with (in my case at least) the 3rd shot having to clear a water hazard and find a large plateau green. I'd just missed the green on the left, leaving myself a difficult lob wedge over a bunker, but an opening bogey was reasonable enough.  I played pretty well on the front 9 apart from a couple of dodgy shots on the 2nd and 6th, the highlight being a solid birdie on the 8th, a 346 Yard Par 4.  The 8th plays from an elevated tee over a long dip in the fairway, then steeply downhill to the green.  Find the down slope beyond the dip, as I did, and it's a gentle wedge to let the ball roll down onto the green.  I'd only a 5 foot putt and played the hole very well.

I particularly liked the finishing holes at Sandyhills.  This is the view from the 16th Tee, a downhill 490 Yard Par 5.  The drive has to be threaded through a long line of trees and as at the 1st, a stream cuts across the fairway, forcing short hitters like me to lay up with their second shot.  I'd left myself around 160 yards to the flag and hit a great 27 Degree Rescue to within 10 feet, just missing the birdie putt.  This is a really good hole, but it would be easy enough to stray over onto the 8th or 18th fairways which run parallel to this long and narrow hole.

This is the 143 Yard 17th, easily the most interesting and best of the Par 3s.  I'd played my 27 Degree Rescue off the tee to around 15 feet, but missed the birdie opportunity.  The last hole is a really tricky 375 Yard Par 4.  Your second shot is steeply uphill, with only the top of the flag being visible.  If like me you leave your second short, you'll have a blind uphill pitch.  The green is slightly further back than you might expect and unless your a really low handicapper you'll probably be happy to match my closing bogey. 

I'd not really studied the scorecard before teeing off in my efforts to start in front of a 3-ball, but as the round progressed I couldn't help thinking that although the course was in superb condition throughout, the layout is a bit too unbalanced for my liking.  For example, the front 9 is over 350 yards longer than the back 9.  As might be expected, the 2nd is a Par 3 (following a Par 5), but although there are 4 Par 3s in total at Sandyhills, the next one doesn't appear until the 13th.  Ten Par 4 holes in succession is a few too many in my view and I wonder how many Sandyhills members can drive the steeply uphill Par 3 15th, a formidable 232 yards off the Medal Tee (I scrambled a 4 after failing to find the green off the Yellow Tee, a mere 227 yards steeply uphill). 

I scored a gross 83, net 72, 2 over net par, with 33 putts.  Not bad, considering I lost 4 shots on Holes 2 and 6.  The course was in superb condition throughout and the greens were amongst the best I've seen this year, anywhere.  Sandyhills is well worth playing, despite my reservations about the balance of the course layout.

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