Polly and I enjoyed watching the first round of the Scottish Open at Royal Aberdeen GC on 10 July 2014, but the course isn't the best from a spectator perspective. I'm also nursing a strained calf muscle so standing around on sloping ground for hours wasn't too clever, so we opted to play a local course on 11 July, rather than go to watch Rory etc. We'd enjoyed playing Newburgh on Ythan GC around 10 years ago, and since it's only a few miles north of Aberdeen and 5 minutes from the pub we'd been staying at, that's where we headed, early on the morning of 11 July 2014. Newburgh on Ythan is an excellent 18 Hole links course. The Front 9 is laid out on hilly ground offering outstanding views of the open countryside and out to sea/over the rest of the course and the adjacent nature reserve. The Back 9 is flat, bordered by the River Ythan and its estuary. That part of the Aberdeenshire coast is rightly famous for its sand dunes and one of the biggest is clearly visible on this photo of Polly lining up a putt on the 16th green.
When we'd last played the Newburgh on Ythan course I can't remember seeing a 6 hole pitch and putt course to the right of the 1st Hole, nor was this little course on our list of courses to play in our round-Scotland challenge. It's easy enough to track the larger courses but as I've commented before, it can be difficult to find such little courses. The 6 hole Foveran Course has its own scorecard and is generally used by junior members to develop their game to the point that they're ready to tackle the club's main course. The course has holes ranging from 58 to 106 Yards and is a Par 18 measuring 513 Yards in total. Here are a couple of photos of the course, first the uphill 3rd and next, the downhilll 4th.
Although quite a few clubs maintain separate courses designed specifically for juniors and general practice, I can't remember any others that were in such outstanding condition. As these photos suggest, the Foveran Course had clearly defined fairways and light manageable rough (and some real jungle if you strayed seriously offline!) The greens were just as good as the greens on the main course, though cut slightly higher to help beginners cope with the small sloping surfaces. No such consideration on the main course though. On one of the Holes the greenkeeper had cut the hole on a slope. After holing out for a bogey, I dropped a ball at the top of this slope and watched it roll around 20 feet - now that's really fast! Good fun to play, though.
The Foveran Course was easy by comparison and I went round in 17 gross, with 9 putts in little over 20 minutes. If you're ever in the area, I strongly recommend you give Newburgh on Ythan GC a try. The main course is only 5810 Yards from the Yellow Tees but is still a tricky Par 72. However, you might wish you'd warmed up by playing the Foveran first!
Another thanks to Russell in the pro shop for his generous donation to our charity.