This is an 18 Hole parkland course lying above the town of Rothesay on the island of Bute, measuring a short 5062 Yards, Par 69 off the Yellow Tees. I played here on 9 July 2013 after my round at Bute GC. When I retired in 2010 the then Chairman of ferry operator Caledonian MacBrayne said he'd caddy for me when I played here and Peter lives within a few hundred yards of the course. Unfortunately, he'd cracked some ribs so couldn't carry the bag, but I was really pleased that he could walk around with me, as this is a seriously hilly and physically demanding course, never mind walking with several cracked ribs. This is Peter beside the 12th green, with the island of Arran in the background. Regular readers will recognise my golf bag, still going strong after literally hundreds of rounds. My latest golf shoes are doing less well!
Rothesay GC starts with a short Par 4 of 285 Yards, steeply uphill. Unless you've hit a monster drive, you'll still be far enough away to miss the small green with your second, just as I did. An opening bogey wasn't ideal, but no great harm was done as I parred the next couple of holes easily enough before remedying a bogey on the 4th with an easy birdie on the 5th. One over after 5 wasn't bad. The 4th is an awkward uphill 178 Yard Par 3 that plays a lot longer than it looks. In contrast, the Par 4 5th, as shown opposite, plays more like a longish Par 3 at only 235 Yards, steeply downhill. You also get your first view of the 6th and 7th from the 5th Tee, steeply uphill. The 6th is the Stroke Index 1 hole and at 515 Yards is quite a climb, so I was glad I'd taken only a half set of clubs! I was still a yard short of the green in 5 shots, but a single putt from there limited the damage. The 7th is again severely uphill, but a good drive, 9 iron and a chip to under a yard rescued a par.
The 8th, as shown here, is a 171 Yard Par 3, steeply downhill, with the Ayrshire cost in the background. I was through the back with an easy 7 iron, but a good little hole. Thanks again to the young lads in front for letting me play through. The short Par 4 9th is actually flat and a welcome relief before another climb up the 10th. This a very short Par 4 at only 244 Yards and anything left off the tee is likely to be lost. I scrambled a poor bogey. The 11th is another really good hole, this time downhill and at only 134 Yards is the shortest and easiest on the course - if you don't hit too much club, almost lose the ball in the rough, then hit a sh--- during a lamentable double bogey.
The 12th is uphill again, this time with a blind drive. I hit Driver, 7 iron for an easy par, almost chipping in from just off the green for an unlikely birdie. Another par though and I also parred holes 13-17. This is a view down the 16th, a 510 Yard Par 5, with Arran in the background again. This hole looks easy enough as most of it is downhill, but the green is quite small and I did well to get within 20 feet. I missed the birdie putt, but never up never in, as they say. Peter had to get home after that hole, as his house was just over the (yet another) hill but it was great to see him again, and I hoped his ribs got better soon. The 17th is a pretty flat 333 Yard Par 4 that looked easy enough from the Tee. However, I'd not been looking at the names of the holes on the way round. Had I done so here, I might have noticed that since the 17th was called "The Burn" water might be involved somewhere. Sure enough, a stream crosses the fairway and I only just cleared it after a weak drive. My 9 iron second also missed the green but a good pitch to under a yard saved par.
The last hole at Rothesay GC is a steeply downhill 215 Yard Par 3, as shown here. A cooling breeze had started, blowing directly up the hole, but my Driver was definitely the wrong club, as my ball finished 20 Yards through the green en route to the practice putting green. That error cost me a closing bogey 4, but 76 gross was decent enough for a net 65, 4 under net par, with 29 putts. 29 Degrees C was also the temperature that afternoon, subsequently rising to 30 during the drive home, according to the outside temperature gauge in my car. Rothesay is a really good course, despite the hills. I strongly recommend you give it a try.