Craig, Stu and I played an excellent parkland course in the Scottish Borders on 28 April 2013. This course has 12 holes and measures 2990 Yards Par 44 from the only set of tees. The owner has requested that we do not publicise either the name or exact location as he wishes to preserve the privacy of his country estate, so out of respect for his wishes, I'll refer to the course simply as "Another Private Course."
This course has 12 separate tees, playing to 6 greens. One of the greens is played 3 times and one is only played once. Apart from that, each green is played twice from different angles. A large pond comes into play on Holes 4, 5, 8 and 9 and tall trees are a particular feature on Holes 3, 8 and 12. However, there's absolutely no rough on the course (I suppose that if you have your own personal course you can set it up to your own preferences!) so there's tons of room on most holes, even for Stu's occasionally wayward drives. For example, the 1st fairway is at least 300 yards wide and the hole itself is only 295 yards long. The Par 4 334 Yard 3rd hole is awkward, since we all played our drives towards the wrong green. That mistake cost me a double bogey after I stymied myself amongst trees that shouldn't have come into play. This is the 5th Hole, an excellent 170 Yard Par 3. You need to avoid the pond, 3 greenside bunkers and the OOB behind the green. I found one of the bunkers, had an awful lie and dropped a shot as a result.
The weather had been the usual April mixture of sun and heavy showers and a swirling wind that made club selection difficult. We'd driven through some pretty meaty showers en route and it looked as though we might get a good soaking somewhere during our round. The longest hole on the course is the 5th, a 480 Yard Par 5 that we played directly into a really nasty shower that we could really have done without, hence my bogey 6. That was also the Stroke Index 1 hole so maybe that dropped shot wasn't too surprising. We all thought that the 131 Yard Par 3 8th was the prettiest and best hole on the course, played between mature trees and (hopefully) over the pond, as shown here. I hit a very easy 8 iron just short of the green and foolishly opted to putt over a few feet of short fringe grass, hence my bogey 4. A chip would have been far easier and would probably have saved me a shot.
This is the 9th, a 117 Yard Par 3, with the next shower closing on us fast in the background. I needed a punched 7 iron to reach the green, but managed an easy enough par. I finished with a disappointing bogey on the 255 Yard Par 4 12th after fluffing a greenside chip into a bunker, the worst shot I've played in a good few weeks, so not a good way to finish. I went round in a poor 55, or 46.7 net, after deducting 2/3rds of my 11 stroke handicap, with 19 putts. The course is pretty compact and like the similarly excellent Tower of Lethendy course in Perthshire, wouldn't be very practical if a large number of players were on the course at the same time. However, we guess that the course is lightly played and that player safety on this 6 green/12 hole course isn't an issue.
Thanks again to the owner for allowing us to play here and to his very generous donation to Cancer Research UK. We'd really enjoyed playing the course and his generous hospitality. Now if only one of us could win the National Lottery.....
Finally, this is me on the bridge to the 4th green, dressed ready for the next approaching shower. This was the first round that all 3 of us have played together this year and the next will probably be our 10 June trip to play the Lighthouse Keeper's Course on Fair Isle, surely the most remote course in Scotland. Happy days!