Well, it's officially early Spring in Scotland and a few nights ago I was thinking that with a bit of luck and lots of miles, I might finish playing every course in Scotland this year. I'd done 629 out of the 656 on our master list, so unless we found some more, I'd only 27 courses left, ranging from small pitch and putt courses to the Championship Course at Royal Troon. That sense of satisfaction was a bit premature, since at 21:33 on 21 April 2014 an e-mail arrived from Graeme, one of the regular readers of my blog. It seems that Graeme has also been doing the "all courses in Scotland challenge" and has played 525 so far. He'd also been comparing his list of courses with those that I've done so far and had come up with another 30 or so that he suggested I might need to add in.
If that wasn't news enough, some quick internet research revealed that most of Graeme's suggestions were either 9 hole or pitch and putt courses in far flung parts of the country e.g. Auchendean Lodge Pitch and Putt Course, in the gardens of a small Highland hotel (see www.auchendean.com). This was certainly the mother and father of hospital passes Good luck with that one, Google's Translate app - this idiom simply means unwelcome news in these circumstances! I'm grateful to Graeme in that with his help, at least we've identified more courses that when played, will take us closer to our final goal than we'd otherwise have been able to do on our own. I'm still researching Graeme's suggestions -and some may be wide of the mark e.g. Innellan GC members play their course backwards, but only one day a year in an end of golfing season novelty competition for club members only, so I don't think that counts. a further couple of his suggestions had actually closed some years ago, so it remains to be seen just how many more courses need to be added to the list that Craig Stu and I are tackling.
Anyway, Graeme had also suggested the pitch and putt course at Fisherrow Links in Musselburgh, only a few miles along the coast from where I live in East Lothian. I'd heard about this course a while ago but hadn't got round to finding and playing it. I'm playing 6 new courses in Aberdeenshire in a few days' time, but with a couple of free hours on 24 April 2014, I set off to play Fisherrow Links, a 9 hole pitch and putt course, with holes ranging from 60 to around 100 yards. The course only opened for 2014 a couple of days previously, so I was lucky in that there were new flags, direction arrows and all of the flags and tees were numbered. The fairways were neatly cut and although the greens didn't look great, they were reasonably smooth and true running. I'd taken my wedge, an old putter and a couple of balls and for my £1.40 green fee, I'd a quick spin around the course. The Fisherrow course is flat and unremarkable, but is a reasonably good practice facility. It was disappointing that I was the only golfer on the course. Either that, or others had seen the weather forecast, as the rain came pouring down a few minutes after I'd finished. Here are some random photos of the course.
The greens were reasonably quick-paced, making them tricky to hit and hold from the tees. I've been in reasonable form of late, so 26 shots in total, with a birdie on the approximately 60 Yard 4th and a total of 12 putts wasn't too bad. I doubt I'd want to play the course again, though.