I played these 2 courses on St Andrew's Day 2009, a bitterly cold but thankfully dry and sunny day. Canmore was first and a nice course it was too, despite being almost surrounded by housing. At barely over 5100 yards off the yellow tees, it is pretty short, but I really enjoyed it despite the fairways and rough being icy or soaking wet and the greens having been recently hollow tined. The bunkers were also frozen solid, although luckily I was only in one of them. I went round in a net 64 against a standard scratch score of 65 over the yellow course, with a birdie at the first, so the golf was pretty good. This is a view up the hill at the last, aptly called "Up the Hill" - makes a change from "Home" I suppose.
This is the 17th, a really good par 4 of 421 yards, requiring a fade off the left side of the sloping fairway and a good strong second. I took 6, trying too hard to avoid the bogey 5 that I should have settled for after my poor second shot! A pity, since I'd managed to keep a 6 off the card until then. Typical course management, Alan.
I was also impressed with the friendliness of all of the members I met, who went out of their way to either let me play through, or tell me about the course. Indeed, it was offered that I should play for free, since I was doing all of the Scottish courses for charity. I really appreciated that gesture, which will go towards future petrol costs etc. There was nothing pretentious about Canmore. Just a local course for local people and none the worse for that.
Cowdenbeath GC is a municipal course, run by Fife Council and known locally as Dora. I must find out why sometime! Dora was even wetter than Canmore, with most of the fairways completely saturated or with deep puddles. The fairways were wide, suggesting that Dora would be a good course for beginners and I passed a couple on the 4th, a good 104 yard short hole. I also liked the 3rd, a 295 yard uphill par 4 with a blind shot to a small green. I almost managed the birdie, foiled only by an outrageous crown around the hole, a feature of most of the holes.
Below is a photo of the second, a short, plain and unmemorable hole typical of much of this course. The setting sun and the boggy conditions made some of the holes on the back 9 more tricky to play, but I'm afraid I didn't take to Dora. I soon gave up trying to find relief from the standing water. My Footjoy Aqualite golf shoes will dry out soon and my golf trousers are already in the washing machine. Been there, done it, but unless the course was fully dried out and the greens were in better condition (and the bunkers showed some modest sign of being cared for e.g. raking) I would not rush to play it again.