Wednesday, 10 July 2013

Bute GC - Course no 597

I played this little 9 Hole course on 9 July 2013, the day after my rounds over the Kyles of Bute and Port Bannatyne courses.  The previous day had been the hottest in Scotland all year and 9 July was forecast to be even hotter, so I'd been hoping an early start and a quick round before tackling Rothesay GC later in the day.   Bute GC is to be found near the village of Kingarth on the south west side of Isle of Bute and is an almost flat 2593 Yards Par 34 links course, with great sea views over to the mountains on the nearby island of Arran.  A few holes are lined with gorse bushes, but the fairways are pretty wide.  However, the rough is pretty tough and with so many wild flowers around  it was sometimes really difficult to find  wayward balls.  For example, this is the 1st Hole, a 317 Yard Par 4, played slightly downhill, with Arran in the background.  It looked as though the rough was pretty wispy and that I could drive straight for the green, cutting across the dog leg.  Eh, that'll be a no.  I was rewarded with an almost 5 minute hunt for my newish ball and a short pitch to the green out of heavy tangly rough, hence my bogey.  

Next, the 2nd was a 328 Yard Par 4.  Avoid 2 sets of ditches running across the fairway and your second will need to clear a wall, with rocks, the beach and the sea immediately behind the green.  I hit a reasonably good drive but just found the rough and could only hack it out short of the wall, leaving myself a 50 Yard pitch.  Another bogey, but this is probably the best hole on the course.  The 3rd  is an innocent looking 149 Yard  Par 3, played to a small green with a lateral water hazard i.e. the sea to your right.  I'd noticed that this hole is called "The Trap" and that one of the 3 golfers in front was fishing his ball out of a stream that runs in front of the green.  I assume that the trap is that this stream isn't visible from the tee.  I'd hit a 7 iron tee shot slightly right, which bounced off a rock into rough short of the stream.  With the hole cut only a few feet onto the green right behind a tussock of heavy rough, I was happy enough with another bogey, and even more pleased that the golfers in front let me play through, since I was hoping for a quick round.  Thanks again, guys.

The course cuts away from the shore after the 3rd, with gorse bushes coming more into play if any shots are seriously wayward (and the guy who teed off immediately behind me was still on the 5th when I finished my round!) 

I particularly liked the 8th, a 285 Yard Par 4.  The fairway is wide and flat, but then ends in a small wall of sand dune, leaving a short blind pitch for the second shot. Your reward on this hole is a final look over to the sea and Arran in the distance.  The last hole at Bute GC is a 265 Yard Par 4 with OOB over a wall right behind the green.  Easy enough unless your drive is seriously wayward. However, I finished the Bute course in a somewhat disappointing 41, or 7 over par, with 16 putts.  I suspect I was just playing too quickly.  There are 3 courses on Bute and whilst I prefer Port Bannatyne and Rothesay, this is the only links course on the island and is well worth a visit.

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