Saturday, 24 November 2007

Weird and wonderful

On the Golf Monthly Forum members' blog, there's a fascinating account by David Paul of a golf course laid out on an Australian opal field. With the first tee in located in the back of a pick-up truck, and the ambient temperature 30C on a cool day, this is clearly a case of, 'golf, but not as we know it'. It did make me think of some of the strange couses reported in Preferred Lies and how there must be all kinds of places where people play golf in unusual circumstances (I mean unusual in the design or location of the course, rather than in any temporary situation like the sea of mud we endured 'at home' last winter).
Having asked members of the Forum for their ideas on must-see (if not must-play) course, here's a quick guide to some courses that sound either weird or wonderful, or in some cases both, and are all closer to home than Glengarry.
Starting with Scotland, there are several votes for Cullen Golf Club on the Moray Firth. Here's a short quote from their site, 'The unbridled thrill of the course lies in its par 3s. A quartet of short holes from the 11th to the 14th is the highlight of back nine and each features Cullen’s signature landmark - the 80ft. Boar Crag.The 12th and 13th are the most exiting, playingdirectly over this rusty red colossus, which completely blocks the greens from view'. Add views of dolphins and local cullen skink soup and that sounds well worth a visit.
Shiskine on Arran has been mentioned before but also gets a vote for its views and unusual 12 holes - not a bad idea for anyone short of time, a true 'hidden gem' of golf. And with its remote location it's unlikely to ever get overrun by tourists.
The only English course mentioned so far is Church Stretton, but it's on my list to visit if only because it's close to one of our regular routes to North Wales. Par 3's again put this one on the map. Miss the green and the ball might return to your feet - but judging by the photos, the views might be worth the pain.
Talking of Wales, I've had several reports of Nefyn on a spur of land on the Lleyn peninsula as being a must-play experience, with a particularly spectacular back nine. A final vote goes to Llanymynech , favourite of Ian Woosnam, and one of the few inland courses to figure in this mini gazetteer of golf.
Sadly I have played none of these, and some are probably off my map for a while, but so as to have a course from Ireland, I'm going to nominate Glenmalure in County Wicklow. Its hidden in a small valley and is pretty hard to find, but we spent a week there two summers ago. Our first round was a bit of a shock as the entire course is on the side of a hill and the slopes are very steep. Probably not particularly difficult or long by most standards, but plenty of blind hits over gorse bushes and greens that you reach only to see the ball disappear down the hill on the other side. Its saving grace, like most of the courses mentioned here, is that if the golf is bad, you can always look at the view.
I'm going to leave the round-up of weird and wonderful there for now, but I I'm sure there are more places I'll add in the future.
Finally, thanks to everyone on Golf Monthly Forum who sent in suggestions.

No comments:

Blog Archive