There are a considerable number of private sporting estates with high-end shooting and fishing on offer to discerning clients. One of these, in the Scottish Highlands, also has a short golf course. We'd managed to secure the permission of the landowner to play this little course, so Craig, Stu and I duly turned up on 6 August 2013. We had good directions to turn off a minor road after an old General Wade bridge (look him up on Wikipedia) and follow the rough 4 mile track (4 x 4's advised). This estate is at the end of a private road and we agreed not to mention the name of the estate or its exact location, but trust me, only really dedicated course baggers would want to play here. The course had clearly seen better days some time ago and from what we gathered, isn't played much now, if at all. This is me by the 1st tee, with the 6th green and Craig's car in the background.
There were no scorecards for this course and although it originally had 9 holes, 3 of which lay on the other side of a river (with some stepping stones to avoid a soaking), those holes appeared to have been abandoned. Indeed, the course was in pretty rough condition, reminding us of Papa Westray and a few others. Flagsticks numbered 1-6 were wedged into overgrown holes, sometimes with stones and the very helpful and friendly Head Gamekeeper tried unsuccessfully to trace where the greens (and flagsticks) might have been. So, everyone agreed that the course now had only 6 holes.
I'd packed my laser range finder, and a rather incongruous piece of equipment it appeared, given our remote location 4 miles up a remote Highland glen, but this is the course we played, and the scores I managed -
Hole Yardage Par Score Putts
1 155 3 4 1
2 502 5 5 1
3 59 3 3 2
4 116 3 4 2
5 334 4 5 1
6 332 4 5 2
Totals 1653 22 26 9
With the greens so overgrown, we gave ourselves putts within a yard - a necessity, since the flagsticks were in some cases solidly wedged in place by stones, presumably to prevent the sheep from eating the flags, were any of the pins to be dislodged. These are some views of the 2nd, 3rd, 4th and 6th holes to illustrate the roughness of the course. We did find the 5th, eventually, up the hill from the valley floor where the course is located.
We've played in all sorts of odd places on our tour of Scottish golf courses. This was another at the rough end of the spectrum, so a great big thanks again to the landowner for allowing us access and to the estate employees we met on the day for their help.