Wednesday, 9 January 2013

Cambuslang GC - Course no 559

I'd not played much golf at all since the games at Turnberry in November due to a really nasty bout of flu and a long spell of wet weather that led to the flooding of various Scottish courses in recent weeks.  So, it was good to get back to "the all-courses challenge" on 9 January 2013 by playing this good little 9 hole parkland course in the eastern outskirts of Glasgow.  Cambuslang is short at 2881 Yards, Par 35 off the Yellow Tees, and is pretty flat and easy walking, with only a couple of small hills to contend with.  A couple of temporary greens were in play and combined with forward tees on some holes, I guess this shortened the course to something like 2600 Yards overall. The Cambuslang course is laid out over a surprisingly small area, meaning that a 9-hole round shouldn't take long, but the downside of that compactness is that the holes are pretty close together, with quite a few fairways crossing each other.  For example, the 1st and 6th holes are crossed by the 7th and the 2nd is crossed by the 4th, so you need to be mindful of other golfers and the risk of wayward shots.  I just followed the guy in front as best I could and noted when he stopped to give way to other players, but it took me a while to notice all of these potential hazards and I completely missed the fact that the 1st is vulnerable from the right by shots from the 7th. 
The 1st is a 501 Yard Par 5 that played longer than it looked, with the green sitting at the top of a gentle upslope.  I'd hit a decent drive and with Cambuslang having a winter mats policy in place I'd another chance to test my new Mark 3 Rocket Launcher smart mat, from  I've lost count of the number of old offcuts of astroturf etc that I've lost on various courses and I'm a mug for new gadgets of all kinds, but this new mat actually works and is a great improvement on anything I've tried before.  It takes a wee bit of getting used to but I'm sold on it as a Winter game improvement aid to the extent that I'll be using it even on courses that don't have a winter mats policy.  Anyway, a great connection with my 3 Wood left me with a short iron to the green and my opening par was easy enough.  The 2nd is a 306 Yard  Par 4.  Aim at the left of the fairway to avoid a stand of trees front right of the tee that might otherwise catch your drive and leave you looking at bogey or much worse.  Be careful on this hole though, as it might not be immediately obvious that players 2 holes ahead may be playing from the 4th tee, to the left and above the 2nd fairway. I managed a good birdie after a 9 iron to 3 feet, using my new mat.
This is the 3rd hole, a 132 Yard Par 3, with Polly walking ahead to assess the lie I'd left myself in the bunker, short of the green.  Easy enough as it turned out, but a costly bogey nevertheless.  The 4th is an awkward 352 Yard Par 4.  The drive is easy enough to a wide fairway, but the green sits at the top of a steep bank and your second will play far longer than it looks.  I'd 139 yards left according to my range finder but the shot played nearer to 160 and I only barely made the front edge with my 27 Degree Rescue.  The 5th is a 317 Yard Par 4 played from an elevated tee, semi-blind over some high trees.  The right side of the fairway gives a better line into the small green.  I'd hit a good drive and a punched 6 iron to within 15 feet.  The greens were slow and bumpy but still reasonably good for this time of year.  Another birdie after a good putt and I was 1 under par with only 4 holes to go.

The 6th at Cambuslang is a 413 Yard Par 4 and rightly the Stroke Index 1 hole.  The drive is easy looking as the fairway is initially generously wide, but the second shot is longer than it looks and the longer the fairway runs, the narrower it gets.  The fairway also dog legs to the right, so a tee shot favouring the left of the fairway gives a better view of the green. The 6th green is also quite small and has more slopes than most others, so  I was happy enough with a bogey 5.  I'll take level par with 3 to go anytime.  Another bunker to the left of the green and a repositioning of the existing bunker would make this hole even more formidable, but some might say the hole is tough enough already! This is a view of the 6th green and the clubhouse.

The 7th is a 344 Yard Par 4.  The small beech tree in the distance is a good line off the tee.  Another good drive and a 27 Degree Rescue set up another easy par.  The 8th is a 168 Yard Par 3.  A stream to the right of the green lurks ready to swallow a really wayward drive but otherwise, this hole looked to be pretty defenceless and I'd be adding some bunkers given the chance.  Another par.  The 9th is a 348 Yard Par 4.  The green sits in front of the clubhouse windows and a gully in front adds to the difficulty.  Unfortunately for me, a temporary green was in play, reducing the hole to a drive and short pitch, as shown here.  I suspect the 9th would be my favourite hole at Cambuslang and maybe one day I'll get the chance to play it to the normal green.  I hope so, since I liked this little course nestled inconspicuously between factories and housing.  OK, it's crossover holes are quirky and straight hitting is pretty important, but I liked the welcoming feel to the place and the friendliness of its members.

I managed my par at the 9th for a gross 35, even par, or net 29.5, with 13 putts.  A good score and a tough one to beat if I ever play the course again.

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