This is a view of the 1st green at Rannaleroch, the larger of the 2 excellent courses at the Strathmore Golf Centre. I played both courses on 29 March 2010, having driven through rain and snow to get there. Indeed, the snow stopped when I got to Perth and amazingly, no rain or snow fell when I played the courses, though it was pretty cold. Rannaleroch is a fine parkland/moorland course of 5848 yards, par 70, off the yellow tees, with outstanding views of the Perthshire countryside. Usually "outstanding views" means more hills to climb (the last thing I needed, having struggled round my home course off the medal tees at the day before in a howling gale!) and although the course is far from flat, it is pretty easy walking. The course was also in great condition and I thoroughly enjoyed playing it.
It's also a great design with many interesting holes and surprises. For example, this is the 4th, a 173 yard par 3, with water on both sides and trouble behind. I almost got an elusive birdie after a good greenside pitch, but was happy enough with the par. By then, I'd caught up with a couple of guys using a buggy. Progress was slow, as the course was busy with girls practising for next week's Under-16's Scottish championship competition. The guys in front soon gave up waiting, and I found myself behind a couple of fine young golfers and their caddies. I didn't mind them taking 2 or more balls at every shot and it was a pleasure to see such good golfers at work. Later, I found out that one of the girls was only 12 - a very impressive player for her age.
I'd somehow done the front 9 in 41 against the par of 35, despite having a near-shank at the 7th and some poor play on the 8th. I also hooked my tee shot at the 10th out of bounds for a double bogey, so I needed to steady the ship and quickly. The 11th turned out to be a lovely little dog leg 280 yard par 4. Here's a view of the green. I should have birdied it, missing a short putt, but golf is full of "should have" "could have" etc. A really good hole though. From there, the course has a succession of really good holes, culminating in the 18th, a hugely difficult 440 yard uphill par 4 finishing, as all good 18th holes should, right in front of the clubhouse windows. I'd played some pretty indifferent shots with my short irons, so a 40 yard pitch over a bunker to the flag was not easy. At least I hit it straight, if a little long and played a second ball to within 20 feet. I missed both putts, but this was a super hole and a great end to a lovely course. I went round in 82, net 71 or 1 over net par, so that wasn't bad, considering the battering I'd taken over The Glen the day before. I hope that Craig and Stu can play this course in warmer weather, when the course is in peak condition. They're in a for a treat!