Sunday, 26 August 2012

Bonar Bridge Ardgay GC - Course no 527

I played this great little 9 hole heathland course on the morning of 22 August 2012.  Showers had again been forecast and sure enough, my first few holes were played in light rain.  I almost had the course to myself and with the holes being set out amongst mature pine forest, only the occasional bird call and soaring buzzards disturbed the peace.  The turf is peat-based and being quite wet after the recent rain, the fairways were quite soft and the greens were on the slow side.  Bonar Bridge Ardgay is 2581 Yards Par 34 overall, and opens with a 354 Yard Par 4, trees on the left, heavy rough on the right and a small steeply sloping green.  A bogey there would have been OK, but I holed a long putt for an unlikely opening par. 
The 2nd is steeply downhill, forest on the right and a water hazard in front of the green.  A bogey was all my poor approach shot though the back of the green deserved.  This is the 3rd, a great  slightly downhill 171 Yard Par 3 played from an elevated tee. An easy par there after finding the green with my 3 Rescue off the tee.  The 4th is a 352 Yard Par 4 that looks innocent enough, but a water hazard cuts across the left side of the fairway around 220 yards out and the fairway slopes from right to left.  The slightly uphill 500 Yard Par 5th is heather and tree lined with a 90 degree dog leg and Stroke Index 1.  I was happy enough to take bogey!
This is the 6th, a really narrow downhill 174 Yard Par 3 with pine forest either side.  Just hit straight and hope!  The wide fairway on the 7th offers some relief and a pheasant amusing itself in the middle of the fairway gave me a good target.  Normally these birds are quite timid and will run off before you get remotely close, but  after  I'd just missed the thing by a few feet with my drive, this bird stood its ground as if to ask what I thought I was doing on its territory, only waddling off after I'd hit my second shot from a few feet away.  Strange.
This is the 8th, the last of the excellent Par 3s on this course.  The green is well protected by pine trees, but at only 137 Yards, this is the easiest of the short holes.  The last hole is a narrow slightly uphill 311 Yard Par 4, with OOB on the left and forest on the right, finishing as all good last holes should, right in front of the clubhouse windows.  I'd an unplayable lie against the wall that runs the length of the left side of the fairway, so a closing bogey was disappointing.  Still, gross 39, net 33.5 wasn't too shabby, with 15 putts. 
This is the 9th green and the clubhouse.  Bonar Bridge Ardgay is a few miles inland from the world famous Royal Dornoch GC and is well worth a visit.  Highland golf at its best and hospitality to match.

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