This was a super little 9 hole course of 2628 yards, par 35 off the yellow tees, full of character and challenges, which I really enjoyed playing on 26 April 2010 after my morning round at nearby Galashiels. Although Melrose is a bit hilly, it is quite easy walking, with accuracy more than length being the basic requirement. For example, here is the somewhat intimidating view from the 3rd tee. The 3rd is a 149 yard par 3. There's actually tons of room on both sides of the green, but for the visitor, this is a scary hole. I thought the 5th was the best hole, a short downhill 254 yard par 4, with a pond to the left and a stream and bunkers in front of the green. Here's the view from the tee. I'd played a 3 wood to lay up short of the stream, but a hard first bounce took the ball into the water hazard, a few inches short of the stream as shown below. My only shot was to stand with my back to the hole and play a lob wedge back handed with my right hand onto the bank to the right of the bunker and hope the ball would trickle onto the green . Miraculously, this shot came off exactly as planned, impressing a local member who had been practising his short game nearby. I just missed the 20 foot putt for a lifetime birdie, but a par was pretty good from that lie. Being realistic, I could have stood there all day and not bettered that back-handed shot!
Accuracy is also essential on the 9th, a short 259 yard downhill par 4 as the clubhouse and car park look to be within range for anything mishit off the tee or from the second shot. Here's a view from halfway down the fairway. My 3 wood had finished 20 yards short of a pond in front of the green and the pin was right at the front of the green. A lob wedge over the pond to a narrow strip of rough in front of the green was the obvious choice. However, I must have used all of my Melrose luck on the 5th hole, since although my ball landed where I'd planned, it hit a clod of earth and bounced back into the pond. A double bogey followed for a round of 42, but I didn't mind. Melrose is one of the best 9 hole courses I've played in recent months, with great views and a really interesting lay out. It was also in great condition, with true and fast running greens (as I found out on the 2nd, after putting right off the green and down a hill!)