Tuesday, 17 July 2012

Turriff GC - Course no 516

Polly didn't feel up to a game after our hard day at Royal Aberdeen GC so I played at Turriff by myself on 10 July 2012.  Heavy rain was forecast and Turriff is a low lying 18 hole parkland course in deepest rural Aberdeenshire that was already pretty saturated even before I teed off, so she was taking a cautious decision - there was a lot more golf ahead of us.  Turriff looked to be relatively short at 5658 Yards, Par 68 off the Yellow Tees, but with the ground conditions being so heavy underfoot it was hard going at times.  Most of Turriff's holes are tree-lined, so it helps if you  find the fairways.  This is my "Position Z" off the 1st tee, en route to an opening bogey! I could see the flag, just, under the branches, but this was an early warning that accuracy rather than length would be important.

It was pretty easy to bogey consistently at Turriff by under-clubbing after finding casual water.  There was no run at all on the fairways and most balls simply plugged where they landed.  Similarly, the greens didn't look great after such incessant rain in recent weeks, but were really smooth, fairly fast and a credit to the greenkeeper's skills in such trying conditions.  Lift, clean and place on the fairways and try to keep control of the ball on the greens was certainly an odd mixture!  The first 3 holes are almost dead flat before the course turns uphill for the short Par 3 4th and the "longer than it looks" Par 4 5th, a couple of really good holes.  Best hole on the front 9 is probably the 6th, a steeply downhill 426 Yard Par 4.  If you ever play here, have a look at the 6th green when passing it while playing the 4th.  I didn't and therefore didn't spot this pond in front of the green, which is where my second shot ended up.  The pond is hidden from view by folds in the fairway when you play your second, so be warned.  Cost me a double bogey!

You might just spot some raindrops on the surface of the pond above and true to the weather forecast, it fairly chucked it down for the next 8 holes.  The 9th is a long steeply uphill 347 Yard Par 4 that takes you back to the clubhouse - tempting, but I wasn't going to wimp out, especially after scrambling an unlikely par on this difficult hole.  The fairway levels out after about 200 yards, so it's essential that you clear that off the tee - not easy when the rain is sweeping across the tee and 9 strokes out of your 11 handicap have already gone.  I'd just missed the green to the right with one of my Rescue clubs and thinned a lob wedge through the back of the green.  I'm usually decent enough with that club and was pleased to chip in from a poor lie.  Another good hole at Turriff and I was liking the course, despite the rain.

The 10th is an uphill Par 3 and is easy enough.  Next comes the formidable 11th, a 331 yard Par 4 played from an elevated tee, as shown here.  Tip - leave your clubs at the side of the fairway, opposite the 10th tee, as it's a long climb up to the 11th tee!  This hole played longer than it looks and I nearly lost my ball, despite splitting the fairway off the tee, after it plugged in a muddy lie, leaving only the very top of the ball visible.  By then the ground conditions were becoming almost farcical and aside from a 4 ball of local juniors on their school holidays, I had the course to myself.  The 12th is probably my favourite hole at Turriff, a dead flat 549 Yard Par 5 that in those conditions was playing closer to 600.  I managed a par with a long single putt, but it had taken me 4 full and well-hit shots to get to the green.  This is a particularly low-lying part of the course, but another good hole.  The rain stopped around the 15th tee and by the time I finished the round the raingear was packed away and the 4 ball of local juniors were back out for another 18 holes.  Good luck to them.  I just wish I'd had such opportunities when I was their age.

I'm not at my best in windy wet conditions so it was good to record a better inward half 39 against an outward 44.  83 blows, net 72 with 29 putts, so 4 over net par in those conditions wasn't too bad.  Turriff is a good little course, well worth the effort to find.  This is the 18th green from the path up to the clubhouse, with the 1st tee beyond it (not the easiest 1st tee to find - I had to ask in the Pro Shop!)

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