Saturday, 12 July 2014

Montrose South Links Pitch and Putt Course - Course no 647

I played the 9 hole Montrose South Links Pitch and Putt Course on 9 July 2014 en route to Royal Aberdeen GC to watch the Scottish Open.  This little links course had formerly been managed by the adjacent children's play park but had recently become the responsibility of Montrose Golf Links Ltd, which looks after the Montrose Medal and Broomfield courses.  The South Links course is located beyond the practice area immediately behind the pro shop.  The course is only 701 Yards in total, with holes ranging from 63-102 Yards.  The 4 holes at 80 Yards and over are actually classed on the scorecard as Par 4s, making this a Par 31 course. Normally I'd expect a Par 4 to be over 250 Yards long, but as I'm not aware of any absolute rule on such matters, I guess it's for the owners of the many golf courses that are not officially registered to decide on the par of particular holes. Equally, we can only score our play against the scorecard provided to us, so despite it's extreme short length and its scorecard description as a pitch and putt course, the South Links would appear to be a "proper" golf course.  

I have a particular fondness for links courses in general, particularly in high Summer when these courses run fast, forcing golfers to use their imagination and create shots to suit the terrain and weather conditions.  The past few weeks have been pretty dry, warm and sunny in Scotland and one look at the South Links was enough to tell me that this little course would be running very fast.  The 1st hole looked burnt to a crisp and at only 86 Yards read as a Par 4 on the scorecard.  I'd taken my 9 iron, 58 degree lob wedge and putter onto the course.  I reckoned that any of those clubs would get me to the green easily enough, but I opted for a pitch and run with the 9 iron.  I landed the ball around 50 yards out but it finished a good 20 yards through the green in light wispy rough.  It then dawned on me that the course hadn't been watered much (if at all!) in the recent dry, warm and sunny weather.  A Par 4 was a decent enough result. Here are a few random photos of the course that I hope demonstrate the extreme dryness of the course.

The first 3 holes are 86, 102 and 80 yards long and are all classed as Par 4s.  I overhit my tee shots on each of these holes but scrambled a par each time.  The 4th is the first Par 3, at only 67 Yards. I opted to putt from the tee and still almost went through, leaving myself an almost impossible downhill putt from 20 feet.  I deliberately miss-hit that putt off the toe of my putter in order to deaden the stroke (try it sometime - it works!) but even that sailed past the hole, leaving me an awkward 15 foot uphill putt that, if it didn't drop, might come back to me.  I holed the putt to escape with another par.

I managed to score 3's on each of the remaining holes, including an unlikely birdie on the Par 4 7th (all of 81 Yards!)  Scary stuff and definitely the fastest running course I've played for a long time.  Great fun, though and a gross 30 (1 under par) with 14 putts was good scoring.  I didn't have time for another round, but a gross 30 without a bogey will do me anytime, even on such a short course. This course lies on the landward side of an old sand dune, with the children's play park on the seaward side.  The park was crowded with parents and kids having a great (and noisy) time on a hot summer's day.  Sadly, I was the only gollfer enjoying the South Links course. Play it if you get the chance, and enjoy!

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