Saturday, 22 September 2012

Dullatur GC - Carrickstone Course - Course no 542

I played here on 21 September 2012 immediately after my round over the Antonine Course.  Like the Antonine, the Carrickstone is a hilly parkland course and at 6001 Yards, Par 70, is slightly longer.  I'd nipped on before a large group of 3 and 4 balls, but the course seemed relatively quiet in front of me, apart from a 4 ball of visitors.  I'd played pretty well on the Antonine and had high hopes for the afternoon.  The 1st on the Carrickstone is a claustrophobic 151 Yard Par 3, as shown here.  Just hit the ball very straight and avoid hitting anyone on the 8th tee, right behind the green.  The 2nd is played blind down a very steep hill and is a meaty 470 Yard Par 4.  I'd already caught up with the 4 ball in front by then and for the next few holes it looked at though I'd become the invisible single player.  It was only after I'd birdied the 466 yard Par 5 8th hole with a single putt from under 3 feet (as watched by the 4 ball from the next tee) that the guys decided to let me play through.  It turned out that there was no-one in front of them so the rest of the round was pretty quick.  I finished around 4 holes ahead of them.  To be kind, maybe they were just enjoying the course rather than thinking about those behind them, since in my view, the Carrickstone is by far the better of the 2 courses at Dullatur.
The Stroke Index 1 hole is the 4th, a narrow double dog leg 357 Yard Par 4, with OOB (and the railway) down the right side.  Your drive needs to thread its way past trees and the OOB to the right and stop short of a pond and more trees and your second needs to be absolutely accurate to find the small green.  I took 6 after blocking myself out by going too far left off the tee.  The next hole is an awkward 170 Yard Par 3, as shown here.  I'd just missed the green to the left with my second ball after losing my first in the bushes to the left of the photo and was lucky to escape with a 5 after a decent putt.  Another good hole, though.
The back 9 turned out to be even better than the front 9, with a succession of well-designed holes.  This is the 14th, a 299 Yard Par 4 played from an elevated tee over a steep hill.  Clear the hill, find the fairway and the bigger hitters would no doubt reach the green on a drier day.  The 15th is a 143 Yard Par 3 played steeply downhill from an elevated tee, with the small green fronted by a stream and bunkers.  Add in 3 really good Par 4s to finish and Carrickstone is great fun to play and I'd strongly recommend it.  I scored a creditable 83, net 72, for a net 2 over par, with 30 putts.  Thanks to the 4 ball letting me play through, I was round in just over 3 hours.  7 hours for 36 holes wasn't too bad overall and I'd still plenty of energy left for the heavy bag I had when caddying again the following day.
Mind you, my old golf shoes have still to dry out, since as this view of the 10th fairway shows, the Carrickstone course was just as wet underfoot as the Antonine had been.
I'm usually not particularly careful to read Local Rules on course scorecards unless I land on a path or am in doubt about a potential immovable obstruction etc.  However, I did notice that the scorecards for the Antonine and Carrickstone Courses contained a local rule that I can't remember coming across before, namely "The Captain shall have priority on the tee at all times."  Indeed, this is the first local rule, coming ahead of the usual stuff about out of bounds and areas of ground under repair etc.  All club officials work hard for their clubs and deserve appropriate respect from other members, but I'm not sure it's necessary or appropriate to formalise the Captain's rights and privileges in this way.  Maybe there had been an incident in the past, but I just wonder whether this works in practice.  If you ever play here, you might like to be aware that the Local Rules provide that cundies are integral parts of the course and that French drains are ground under repair.  No, I don't know either (maybe I should have asked the young lads I met on the Antonine what a cundie and a French drain looked like).

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