Tuesday, 4 September 2012

Invereshie House Golf Course - Course no 534

I played this 9 hole parkland course on the morning of 2 September 2012 at the start of a 3 day trip centred round the rarely-played course on Stroma, an uninhabited island in the Pentland Firth.  Craig and Stu were travelling separately and would play here in the afternoon, en route to meeting me in Thurso, where we stayed overnight before our trip to Stroma.  The Invereshie House Course is only open to its members and invited guests (staying at holiday lodges on the estate) and forms part of a private estate a few miles away from Aviemore in the Cairngorms National Park.  A sign at the gate to the course makes it clear that the course is not open to pay as you play golf, so a great big thanks goes to Kate, the very friendly owner who allowed us to play the course for a good-value £10 each. I've learnt on my travels that its always a good idea to listen carefully to advice about the course and Kate's warning that the rough was brutally thick certainly got my attention.  I declined her kind offer to let me have some old balls, but since Kate's advice was also passed on by the elderly couple I met coming off the course as I walked towards the 1st tee, I checked the bag, just to make sure I had some spares!  The Invereshie House Course measures a short 1851 Yards, Par 32 and as you might guess, requires straight hitting.
The course starts gently enough with a 285 Yard Par 4, but the greens at Invereshie are absolutely tiny and fast running, as I quickly discovered en route to an opening bogey.  This is the 2nd, a 236 Yard Par 4 dominated by a large pine tree, with Invereshie house in the background.  The wind was gusting strongly from left to right on this hole and I got myself blocked behind the tree, so another bogey.  The 3rd is a 140 Yard Par 3 with OOB on the right and with the wind factored in, became a very difficult target to find.  I missed the green, chipped close and single-putted for an opening par.
This is the 4th, a 248 Yard Par 4 aptly named "Heartbreak Hill" and deservedly the Stroke Index 1 hole.  The fairway is generously wide, but I managed to miss it by a few inches, had great difficulty finding it and could only hack it back into play.  The gap between trees protecting the hill up to the green is just as narrow as it looks.  I still had my newish ball in play after missing the green with my third shot and a bogey was OK in the circumstances.  The 5th is a 166 Yard Par 3 played over a very steep hill.  You'll want to go up and have a look first and note and how your ball will drift towards the band of rough to the left of the fairway if you get the same wind as I did.  Another bogey and my newish ball was living dangerously! 
The 6th is a really good 171 Yard Par 3, with the green tucked behind some trees, requiring a controlled fade.  That's how it should be played, but in my world, a missed green, decent chip and short putt was good enough.  The 7th is a 227 Yard Par 4 playing to nearer 270.  Another bogey after missing the green and tangling with the rough again.
This is the 8th, a downhill and downwind 230 Yard Par 4 played between trees from an elevated tee and my favourite hole at Invereshie.  My 3 wood would have been enough, as my tee shot with Driver was blown clear through the green.  Still, a par there and at the last, a 147 Yard Par 3, was pretty satisfying in the conditions.  I'd gone round in 37 gross, net 31.5, just inside the net par, with 13 putts on the tiny greens.  This is a good little course well worth playing if you're staying at the estate's holiday lodges.  Hit straight or take some extra balls.

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