Tuesday 8 April 2014 was dry and bright in East Lothian and the day seemed set fair, so I started out on a 220 mile round trip to play a couple of short 9 hole courses, in Ayr and Irvine, in Ayrshire, in the south west of the country. Ayrshire turned out to be windy, with sunny intervals and heavy showers. My first course was to be the 9 Hole Par 3 course at Craig Tara, a caravan park and holiday centre just south of Ayr. I found the course easily enough but it was closed for maintenance (and drying out, if the pools of standing water were anything to go by). So, it would be 220 miles to play the 1277 Yard Par 27 course within the grounds of the Menzies Hotel, in nearby Irvine.
The hotel is quite impressive looking inside, and doubtless attracts many golfers keen to play on the many famous links courses nearby, but the hotel's golf course is pretty underwhelming. The fairways were soaking wet and boggy in parts and needed a good cut. The greens were full of moss and other less identifiable growing things, bumpy, slow and uninviting, with several of the flagsticks missing. The 5 flagsticks that were still in place were old broken plastic affairs with torn and faded flags. This course urgently needs proper maintenance and investment in some basic golf course equipment. As it stands, it doesn't offer an inviting surrounding to what appears to be a pretty good quality hotel. This is a view of the 1st Hole.
Were we not trying to play absolutely every course in Scotland, from the internationally famous right down to the most basic and humble, I'd not have stopped to play this Par 3 course. For the record, I went round in 31 strokes with 14 putts, counting a maximum of 2 putts per green, given the awful state of the putting surfaces and the overgrown holes, which looked as though they'd been in service for a year or more. At least I didn't get wet, dodging the rain that threatened for a while during my 40 minutes on the course.
Here are some other photos of this rather dismal little track. I've played it once and I'm afraid that'll do for me. I'll try Craig Tara later in the year, when it's drier!