Monday, 7 July 2014

Strathallan School Golf Course - Course no 643

Strathallan is one of Scotland's leading independent fee paying schools and on its impressive campus a few miles south west of Perth, there's a 9 hole parkland golf course. The course is normally reserved for pupils, staff and their guests, so is lightly played.  The Summer Term had just finished and most of the boarding pupils and staff had gone on holiday, so the campus had an unmistakable off-term feel to it. Our buddie Graeme knew someone at the school so it was arranged that Graeme, Douglas and I would play the course on 7 July 2014 after reporting to Reception. Quite rightly, the School has to have careful regard to security issues, even during holiday periods.  The weather forecast was for sunshine and heavy showers and we'd driven up in occasional showers.  It looked as though we'd get a good soaking but this ominous looking cloud passed us by!

There was no scorecard as such but were each given a detailed course map showing a yellow route for Holes 1-9 and a Red route for holes 10-18 and 9 separate greens.  This suggested that whilst most of the Front and Back 9 holes used the same tees and greens, Holes 1 and 10 and 3 and 12 played from different tees, making Strathallan an 18 Hole Course.  However, when we played it there was only one set of tees for all of the front and back 9 holes, so we played Strathallan as a 9 Hole Course.  Since there was no scorecard, we estimated hole distances as best we could, my scores being -

                              Hole          Par         Yardage                Score              Putts

                                    1              4                 290                         4                    1   
                                    2              3                 222                         5                    2
                                    3              3                 141                         3                    1  
                                    4              3                 238                         4                    2
                                    5              4                 246                         3                    1
                                    6              4                 354                         4                    2
                                    7              4                 425                         5                    2
                                    8              3                 143                         4                    2
                                    9              3                 139                         4                    2
                                    Totals    31              2198                       36                  15

The course layout was not the easiest to follow, given the absence of defined fairways and the use of single tee markers in locations that didn't match up with the course map.  So it was a case of teeing up on the preferred side of each tee marker and guessing the location of each green. This is Graeme and Douglas en route to the 2nd green, located 120 Yards or so behind the large tree closest to the centre of this photo.  Apart from areas of deep jungle around the boundaries of the course and the greens themselves, the course was mainly cut to light rough length, adding to our navigation difficulties. Defined fairways would have helped but since the course appeared to be targeted at beginners/casual play, maybe the School just prefers to keep it that way.  For example, this is a view of the 6th/15th Holes with the green located slightly to the right of the tree in the centre of the photo.  

Perhaps the best hole on this little course is the 8th/17th, a 143 Yard Par 3 as shown opposite, played almost blind towards a small green with a collar of high rough in front and high rough and a large lake immediately behind.  However, the tee for this Hole didn't match up with the course map so it's entirely possible we played to the wrong green. Anyway, we enjoyed seeing and playing the Strathallan course, despite the lack of a scorecard and our resultant navigation difficulties, so another big thank you goes to the School and Graeme's friend for allowing us access. 

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