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Monday, July 30, 2007

Scotland - Part Deux

Belleisle and Turnberry Kintyre
As I mentioned in the previous post, Duncan Martin assisted us with our itinerary, and it was he that recommended we play Belleisle, a municipal course in Ayr, about a thirty minute drive from Turnberry.

It was a great call on Duncan's part. Belleisle claims that it is the #3 municipal course in Scotland, behind The Old Course and Carnoustie. I'm not one to dispute their claim. Belleisle is unique from the other courses we played because even though there are views of the water from a couple of holes, it is a parkland course set away from the sea. It's not overly long (par 69) or difficult, but it can come up and bite you if you're not careful. And, it's a heck of a lot of fun.

Tub Rock played very well on the front nine, shooting a one over 36. He was dropping bombs from everywhere, and if not for a short putt he missed on #7, he could have shot 35. Jimmy played better than me, but neither of us really got it going. Amazingly, this was the only round we played in which it rained -- and only for about two holes. Belleisle has a true muni feel to it. The people we met on the course were there for the love of the game, and there was no pretention anywhere to be found.

I'm really glad Duncan steered us in the direction of Belleisle. I don't think many Americans know about it or ever play it, so it felt like we were putting one over on everyone.

In the afternoon, we played Turnberry's Kintyre course. I had read mixed reviews about Kintyre, but I found it to be a very good golf course and a stern test. Though not as dramatic as the Ailsa, there are a few holes that play along or toward the water, and it was extremely windy. By the back nine, we were feeling the effects of going out the previous night (remember, Jimmy had a hole-in-one the day before), minor jet lag, and walking thirty-six holes. Of the thirty plus times I've played 36 in a day, I think this was the first time I had ever walked all of them.

We all had our share of good holes and good shots, but scorewise, it was a round to be forgotten. Only Tubby and I stayed in double-digits, and it wasn't by much. The gorse and heather ate up far too many of our drives, and I in particular found myself hitting three (or five) off the tee too often. What started out as a good round (+1 after 4 holes), quickly turned into a nightmare after I blasted two OB on #5 and made a nine. Oh well. It didn't take away from the fact that it was a terrific golf course, and we were in Scotland when we could have been in the office.

Pictures: 1) Jimmy and Tubby discussing how far they hit their drives on #8 at Belleisle, 2) The eighth green at Kintyre, and 3) A typical bunker at Kintyre (from #10).


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