Wednesday, 22 April 2015

Gleddoch Hotel - Academy Course - Course no 663

The Gleddoch Hotel and Golf Club sits high above the village of Langbank on the south side of the River Clyde. west of Glasgow.  I'd stayed there a few times on business and played the excellent 18 hole heathland course there one evening after a long day's work.  The main course is quite hilly in parts and is perhaps the best of the heathland/moorland courses along the Clyde estuary.  Try it if you're in the area.  It's a really good test and looked to be in great condition again when I played the Hotel's 4-hole Golf Academy course on 21 April 2015.  This little course is laid out in the grounds of the Hotel itself and you'll drive through the middle of it on your way up to the Hotel.

The first things I noticed about this course is that it needs some upgraded signage and better maintenance.  I measured the 1st hole, as shown here, at 112 Yards.  There was no sign at all, but this was clearly the logical start to the course, being closest to the Hotel, car parks and the main golf course.  This hole is steeply downhill, with excellent views north to Dumbarton and west to Ben Lomond and other nearby mountains.  A simple enough starter and an easy wedge to the green.  As I'd expected the green was slow and bumpy. Polly and have just joined Dunbar GC and its greens are fast and smooth running, so it was no surprise when I 3-putted this Par 3 hole.

The next hole, rather confusingly, was the Par 3 Hole 1 according to a sign on the tee and at 154 Yards, was steeply uphill towards the tee of the previous hole, starting almost at the entrance to the hotel grounds.  I'd only taken a few short irons and my putter, hence my bogey 4 at this hole.  Next and on the other side of the driveway to the Hotel, was the 3rd (signed as the 2nd, at 330 Yards). This hole is blind and downhill with a dog leg right after around 250 Yards to a small green, protected by a hole in the ground that many years ago was presumably a bunker, but is now just overgrown with weeds and moss.  

There's a path of sorts to the right of the green that takes you to a 4th tee and another blind tee shot, this time steeply uphill.  No tee signage, but the hole was around 395 Yards, with a dog leg sharp right after around 280 Yards, where a stream cuts across the narrow fairway. Another bogey there meant I'd dropped a shot on every hole, to go round in 18 strokes, with 8 putts.  This was not a great round, but the course isn't  a great test either. Indeed, my round was a rather dismal and under-whelming experience, despite the warm Spring sunshine.  

This 4-hole course is labelled as the Academy Course and whilst it might be useful for basic teaching, I doubt whether it would be particularly useful as a  warm-up for the main course, which I know is far better and a fitting partner to the excellence of the Hotel itself.  With some basic signage and more intensive green keeping this course could be real asset to the business. At present, it looks rather neglected.  A pity, because the setting is pretty good, as this final photo shows, with views to Ben Lomond and beyond. 

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