Wednesday, 4 September 2013

Whitecraigs GC - Wee Course - Course no 616

Whitecraigs is in my view one of the best 18 Hole parkland courses in the Glasgow area. I'd played it in 1983, in the Scottish final of a pairs competition sponsored by Volkswagen, with my partner David Anderson.  I know the year, since I still have the trophy after we won the qualifying competition at our then home club, Lothianburn GC, some weeks earlier. We didn't win the national final.  If memory serves, we were 6th, but not bad! I'd not noticed it at the time, but Whitecraigs also has a 9 Hole Par 3 Course, so I made the short trip from nearby Linn Park Golf Course to play Whitecraigs' Wee Course on 4 September 2013.  This course is a 970 Yard Par 27, with holes ranging from 80 to 131 Yards.  As might be expected, the greens were tiny and difficult to find off the tees.

This is the 1st, the shortest hole, at only 80 Yards. With the flag on the right, I played a gentle sand iron off the slope to the right of the green.  This stopped just short of the green but a 20 foot chip set up an easy par.  The 2nd is a more challenging slightly uphill 129 Yard Par 3.  I missed the green again but a chip and putt rescued the par.  The 3rd  hole lies downhill to the left of the 2nd and is a 92 Yarder played over a stream to a small shelf of a green cut into a bank with pine forest immediately behind the green.  A deep bunker protects the right side of the green.  I'd only missed the green by a yard, so another chip and putt and another par.

The 4th is an 87 Yarder, downhill.  Yet another missed green, short pitch and single putt par. This is the 5th, a 97 Yard downhill hole played over a stream.  Hit the bank in front of the green and you might roll back into the water. There was also a yellow flag on the left side of the green presumably to off a more difficult hole option, protected by a bunker short of the green, as shown.  Just for fun, I played a ball at both holes and actually found the green both times.  I birdied the 5th i.e. the flag on the right of the green.  The 6th lies up the hill to the right side of this photo and at 131 yards is the longest hole. I missed the green quite comfortably and didn't get my pitch very close either, so a bogey on that one.

The 7th is a downhill 119 Yarder with pine forest to the left and behind the green.  I hit an easy 9 iron deliberately to short right of the green to allow the slope to feed the ball down to the hole.  I just missed the hole and finished only 4 feet away, but missed the birdie putt. This is the 8th, played from a gap in the forest steeply downhill, with a stream ominously close behind the green.  The hole is 127 Yards and is quite tricky.  Left or long is dead. I managed to find the green with an 8 iron tee shot for an easy par.

This is the last hole, a 108 Yarder.  Another stream protects the green and there's another water hazard to the right.  I hit a poor shot short of the green and followed that with an equally weak chip en route to a second bogey.  Still, 28 shots is only 1 over par, so not bad.  13 putts was also OK on tiny greens that were slower than they looked.

I'd not seen Whitecraigs up close for 30 years, but the main course looked just as impressive as I'd remembered it and the old clubhouse hadn't changed either.  I guess that when I finally finish the challenge of playing every course in Scotland I'll have a rough list of courses that I'd like to play again.  Of the Glasgow courses, I'd certainly want to play Whitecraigs again.  If I have to wait another 30 years, so be it, as I'd have played another 3000 or so rounds of golf by then!

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