Tuesday, 24 July 2012

Port Glasgow GC - Course no 521

I played here on 24 July 2012 on a dry and mainly cloudy day that became increasingly humid at the round progressed.  After what seems like weeks of almost constant rain the course was pretty wet underfoot, with the greens in excellent condition but far slower than I'd prefer.  Port Glasgow is a hilly moorland course measuring 5567 yards, Par 67 from the Yellow tees.  After an easy looking Par 3 opener, this course then hits you smack in the face with its Stroke Index 1 hole, a formidable 342 Yard Par 4 that's as steep as you'll play without the ball running back to you.  I'd hit a good Driver and 3 Wood but was still slightly short of the green.  If you ever play here, remember to leave your clubs 100 yards short of the green as the 3rd tee is to your left from there.  Your second shot on the 3rd will be blind, so have a good look at this hole on your way down from the 2nd green.  Thankfully, most of the remaining holes on the front 9 are relatively flat and easy walking.  The 4th is a good 505 Yard Par 5, but there's dead ground in front of the raised green so this hole plays considerably longer than it looks.  This is the 5th, a slightly downhill 427 Yard Par 4 and my favourite hole on the front 9.  The front 9 is 360 yards longer than the back 9 and I was out in7 over the Par of 35.
The 10th is a short Par 5 at only 460 Yards with OOB all the way down the right of the fairway.  The green sits in a dip beyond a slight rise in the fairway.  It's an easy enough hole if you lay up short of a bunker at the top of that rise in front of the green and hit a short pitch and run down to the hole.  I just missed the birdie putt.  The 11th is a 124 Yard Par 3 and supposedly the easiest hole on the course.  Easy, that is, if you avoid the OOB to the right and the 2 deep bunkers in front of the raised green.  I managed an unconvincing par after just missing the green off the tee.

The 12th is a testing 391 Yard Par 4 played downhill, as shown here, to a flattish section of the fairway, before the hole sweeps even more steeply downhill and slightly to the left.  My second shot had finished left of the green in heavy rough and double bogey was disappointing on such a good hole.  I really didn't rate the 13th, a steeply uphill Par 3.  Only the top half of the flag was visible from the tee, poking its head above a hill covered by gorse, heather, long rough and rock.  I guessed that the green lay immediately beyond the hill that was visible, but the green was actually 50 or so yards beyond that hill.  I'd only looked at the scorecard briefly and yardage markers at Port Glasgow are only provided on the white Medal tees, so I'd understood the scorecard to show this hole as 136 yards.  The correct yardage is actually 186, hence me being 50 yards short with my 27 Degree Rescue club off the tee!  Thank goodness I can putt, as I saved an unlikely par with an outrageous 25 footer with 2 feet of break!
I thought the best hole at Port Glasgow was this, the 16th, a 440 Yard Par 4.  The second shot is blind over an infinity edge on the fairway.  I hit a good 3 wood, my ball running down the hill to just short of the green.  A good par after another decent putt.  I'm not sure about the 17th, a 247 Yard Par 3.  This hole is steeply downhill, but a wide band of heather protects the front of the green, so unless you can fly the ball over that obstacle the wise tactic would be to lay up (on a Par 3!).  I really wasn't sure what to do, and my weak Driver ended up in the heather, costing me a bogey. The 18th is another downhill Par 3 this time a "mere" 210 Yards.  I'd mis-hit my 3 Wood right, leaving a copse of mature pine trees between my ball and the green.  Luckily there was a small gap under the lowest branches, but my low dunt with a 7 iron was poorly played and the resultant double bogey 5 was not the climax to the round I'd been looking for. 

I'd gone round in 80, net 69 with 29 putts.  2 over net par wasn't bad on a course that rewards local knowledge.  I'd hit some decent shots and some not so great, but I'd enjoyed the round.  The Port Glasgow course reminded me in parts of other local moorland courses such as Paisley, Greenock, Gourock and Skelmorlie.  I'm not a great fan of hilly moorland courses, though, preferring the vagaries of links golf on dry, warm and even windy days.

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