Wednesday, 4 June 2014

Lochgoilhead GC - Course no 638

We'd been trying to find time to play the 18 hole links course on the island of Colonsay for some years now and early June 2014 seemed to be a good opportunity.  The plan was to fly over from Oban Airport on 3 June 2014, play the course, stay overnight on Colonsay and and get the ferry back to Oban the next day, but as it turned out Craig and Stu couldn't make it, so I decided to do this trip alone, taking in the 9 hole course at Lochgoilhead en route.   One of the real upsides to playing every course in Scotland is that once in a while we come across a surprisingly good course where we least expect it.  One of the downsides is that when we're putting trips together we can plan for everything but the weather!  I'd booked the plane and accommodation a few weeks earlier, so I was committed, no matter what the weather had in store. 2 June 2014 dawned warm and sunny at home in East Lothian, but by the time I'd got within a few miles of Lochgoilhead, down a narrow twisting single track road with occasional passing places, the rain was getting progressively heavier.  

Lochgoilhead GC is a very short Par 3 parkland course, measuring a feeble 1870 Yards, Par 30, from the Yellow Tees, within the Drymsynie Estate Holiday Village.  Being so short, I reckoned the course would take me less than an hour to play and how wet could I really get? Very, as it turned out!  I'd waited until a real thumper of a shower was over before starting the course.  The 1st at Lochgoilhead is a downhill 166 Yard Par 3 with a huge and ancient oak tree on the left of the fairway.  I'd hit a reasonable drive just left of the green and decided to shelter under the tree to put the rain cover on my golf bag.  However, it seemed that every midgie for miles around was also taking shelter!  I had an extra strength midge repellent spray with me, but the humid air and lack of wind meant that I was soon being followed by clouds of midges, none of which took the slightest notice of the so-called insect repellent.  My expectations of a sub-hour round soon became a necessity!  The 1st was completed in something under 3 minutes, with a one-putt bogey.  The 2nd is a 194 Yard Par 3, as shown here.  Craig and Stu had played Lochgoilhead a while ago and told me it was a really pretty course, with outstanding mountain views.  You'll need to take their word for it, since as this photo shows, the mountains were shrouded in mist.  The 2nd is actually quite tricky since the line off the tee goes perilously close to another huge tree.  I scrambled a par after just missing the small green.

This is the 3rd, a slightly downhill 235 Yard Par 4 that's easily reachable.  I was pin high off the tee, but had missed the green again.  Still, the easiest par all day was a reasonable outcome, given the rain and midgie combination.  Three holes played, 15 minutes for 11 strokes.  Holes 4-8 are on the other side of a river, where the midgie reinforcements (as if any were actually needed!) lay in wait. The 4th is a decent 177 Yard Par 3 - bogey scored in record time. The 5th is one of the more difficult holes, requiring a dead straight drive short of a fairway bunker.  The hole itself is only a 245 Yard Par 4, but the fairway is really narrow.  I managed another easy par after a good drive.  

The 6th is a blind 161 Yard Par 3, with a marker post that's some yards to the right of where it should be - I flew a straight drive right over it and finished right of the green! Somewhere between the marker pole and the big tree is the real line.  The 7th is a slightly downhill 140 Yard Par 3.  I'd only packed a half set of clubs, since the luggage weight restriction on the plane to Colonsay was 10 Kilos.  The rain was pretty heavy at the time, so I reckoned a soft 27 degree Rescue club would be ample.  I should have tried the 7 iron instead as my tee shot was nearly in the river that runs behind the 7th green.  Another scrambled par, but I was making good progress and the rain had almost stopped. The 8th is a long 224 Yard Par 3 and well out of my Driver range, given the wet conditions. Still, a bogey wasn't too bad.  

The last hole at Drymsynie, as this course is more commonly known as, is an uphill 328 Yard Par 4.  I'd hit a decent drive, but a poor 9 iron left me stymied behind the large tree on the right of this photo.  Another bogey to close the round was disappointing, just as the sun broke through the clouds.  If I'd waited for the 50 minutes or so that it took me to play this course, I'd have had no rain and (probably) fewer midges to contend with!    I'd gone round in 34 gross, net 28.5, just under the net par, with 13 putts.  If I'd taken my time to enjoy more of the scenery and been luckier with the overhead conditions, I guess that a could have shaved a few strokes off the score.  Maybe next time, if I ever get to Lochgoilhead again.  I hope so, since this is a really good little course, well worth visiting and a bargain at a modest £13 a round. 

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