Thursday, 20 June 2013

Atholl Palace Hotel Pitch and Putt Course - Course no 582

The Atholl Palace Hotel in Pitlochry is a prestigious up-market hotel within driving distance of many of Scotland's famous golf courses, such as those at Gleneagles, Blairgowrie and Carnoustie.  It also has its own 9 Hole Pitch and Putt Course, a 960 Yard Par 27 course.  This little course is normally reserved for use by hotel guests, so a big thank you to the hotel for allowing me to play there on 18 June 2013 without actually staying overnight - something that would have added considerably to the cost of a planned 2 day trip to play 5 new courses. 
The  course is a half-mile from the hotel beyond a section of woodland and sign-posted forest walks.  The map of the hotel grounds is pretty good and although the scorecard also has directions, you'll probably need the map to avoid taking a wrong turning in the myriad of paths and routes that are available.  Other golf addicts like myself who try to play every available course might seek out the Atholl Palace course, but  I doubt whether many casual golfers would wish to play this particular course, given the number of full-sized courses in the local area, not least at Pitlochry GC, Dunkeld and Birnam GC and Aberfeldy GC, all of which provide excellent value for money golf in outstanding rural settings.  
The Atholl Palace course was in pretty good condition, but with the 3rd hole at 175 yards and the 8th at 157, it was substantially longer and more tricky than most of the other pitch and putt courses I've come across, where typically almost every hole is well under 100 yards.  The greens were certainly small, bumpy and slow-paced, but the biggest problem I faced was a guy (who turned out to be a foreign tourist coach driver) strolling along beside the first 3 holes on his mobile phone, totally oblivious to the fact that I was playing behind him.  When he did turn round, on the 3rd, he then picked up and initially pocketed my ball, still not realising that I was actually playing the course.  Bizarre. 

Here are a few photos of the course, starting with the somewhat dilapidated Starter's Hut/Player Shelter -

This is the 8th, a slightly downhill 157 Yard hole.

 A side view of he 9th, a 117 yard slightly uphill hole.

I bogeyed the 2 longest holes, the 3rd and 8th and parred the rest, either by finding the green or chipping close and went round in 29 (2 over par), with 15 putts.  Not bad at all, given the small size and condition of the greens. 

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