After a couple of hours of sleep, and a bit of a steep learning curve driving a big van on narrow roads on the other side of the road from what I am used to, we made it to the Irvine Golf Club in Bogside, Irvine, Ayrshire, Scotland – http://www.theirvinegolfclub.co.uk/. Celebrating their 125th year (the club opened in 1887), it seemed like a good choice for our opening round in Scotland. Looking at the scorecard, we decided to play the whites at 6415 yards rather than the yellow tees at 6116. Little did we know what that would bring, especially since there was only one par five and two par threes on the course.
The first hole was a pretty simple par 4 of 417 yards. Straight away down a bit of a hill. It was, however, a harbinger of things to come as Paul found a fairway bunker, one of the easier ones, and Jeff and Joe found the rough which was full of gorse and heather (which was everywhere just off the fairway). I managed to stay out of it, however I found enough of it later on.
I had a much better front nine, making quite a few good shots including a birdie on a shorter uphill par 4 called The Cup (318 yards with a 40 foot hill at the end). I hit my wedges much better today, with only one or two thin shots. I also made a great pitch shot over a bunker on #9 (the Racecourse), which was a 459 yard par 4, to make par. My putting was also very good (no three putts all day) to finish with a 43 for the front.
The back nine was another story. All of use were getting a bit tired, and with no water or food on the course (#9 does not come back to the clubhouse), we were missing the beer cart! I lost 4 more balls on the back in the gorse and heather, and finished with a 47 for a total of 90. All told, I had five 7s and two 6s in there, so the rest of the holes were pretty good. #18 was called Flagstaff and is a shorter par 4 with bunkers and an elevated fairway staring at you from the tee box and a well guarded green. I managed to make a two putt par, which I was very happy with considering how my driving had been for most of the day.
It was a great course, nice and open (although we didn’t take advantage of that most of the time), however with the lack of par 3s and 5s, there were some very long par 4s that made up the 6400 yards:
- #1 Eglinton – 417 yards
- #6 Cannon Hill – 410 yards
- #9 Racecourse – 459 yards
- #11 Grandstand – 464 yards (with bunkers in the landing area)
- #13 Snodgrass – 431 yards
- #17 The Warren – 396 yards
Tomorrow’s round is at Turnberry. We are all pumped about that, especially as the weather for the week appears to have changed in our favor…