I'd played the fantastic Pitlochry GC course a few times in past years. A real treat for anyone to visit, really friendly and a great test of your game. Don't take my word for it, though, try it yourself and if that's not immediately possible, explore the club's excellent website, at http://www.pitlochrygolf.co.uk/visitors. I'd read somewhere recently that the club had developed a golf academy, driving range and a 6-hole Par 3 course and the website confirmed that, so a stop at Pitlochry on the way back from Auchendean Lodge on 14 April 2015 was an obvious opportunity to play the new Lettoch Links course.
This is not a links course, being laid out near the geographical centre of Scotland and about as far away from the sea as it's possible to get. Having said that, the name is pretty unimportant, as this is a really good and imaginative development that looks set to promote golf in the area and help the members to improve their game. I'd called in on a quiet Tuesday afternoon, but the course was impressively busy, with a large party of Norwegian golfers just leaving, having clearly enjoyed the course and the 19th.
The holes on the Lettoch Links range from 35 to 89 Yards and are absolutely ideal for beginners or for general practice/warming up for more experienced golfers. Indeed, as I made my way onto the course, a lady who must have been well into her 80s stopped me, just to say hello and talk about the new course. She'd been playing with a young lad who looked barely of school age. That's another thing I like about golf. Had we passed in the street, I doubt if anything would have been said between us.
This is the downhill 4th, an 86 Yard hole with a small green and a nasty looking bunker which I was pleased to avoid. There was some light rough to the left and I was glad that the course was playing relatively slow, as this hole looked as though it could get pretty fiery on a hot summer's day. I was playing OK, and after an opening birdie on the 35 yard 1st hole, I was still 1 under, after finding the light rough here and escaping with a par. I almost came to grief on the 5th, as shown below, after missing the green to the left. This is the longest hole on the course, at 89 Yards and was played into a strong head wind, requiring a full wedge.
This is the last hole, a 43 Yard hole with a wickedly sloping 2 tier green and a little bank at the back of the green covered in tough rough. I'd just missed the green and had an awkward pitch from the rough to a flag no more than 15 feet away. Anything even slightly strong would leave a very testing long uphill putt, but I managed to pitch my ball dead for a closing par and a 1-under total of 26, with 8 putts. £10 for a day ticket was good value and if id had the time I'd gladly have gone round a few more times. However, it was still the thick end of a 3 hour drive home so I reluctantly made do with one round. The Lettoch Links is a great addition to the facilities at Pitlochry GC, one of my favourite inland courses. I certainly hope to play the main course there again sometime and when I get the chance to do so, I'll also try to beat my gross 26 on the Lettoch Links.