GRAVEYARD - The 5th & 14th


The Greenkeeper's View

A good, hard hole, a narrow flightpath with trees on both sides, a side-sloping fairway and a wee bit uphill.  You hear a lot of folk saying a low handicapper normally hits a nice draw, although there is the odd exception.  Anyway, a draw here will potentially put you in much grief down the slope and into the wood to the left of the green; if you salvage a par from there you’ve done well.  No, the best ways to play this is either a straight iron or five wood directly onto the green or a high fade which cuts in between the trees.

The 14th

Use the head here, slow and controlled swing and if you need to use the fairway in front of the green, there’s no great harm in that.  When chipping on or long-putting be aware that the green always tends to fall towards the slope and the trees below the green and you can see some big swings, especially when it’s dry.  Treat a par here as you would a birdie elsewhere and then stroll off towards the best driver's hole on the course at the 6th.

The 5th

Well named, the Graveyard: it can be that for many a player’s score and it also reflects that the out of bounds between the 4th tee and the green was a former paupers’ graveyard for the adjacent Argyll & Bute Psychiatric Hospital. I struggle to cut the fairway directly in front of the tees because of the slope, but if the grass here is a bit longer than I’d like, it’s maybe no bad thing to catch the odd mis-hit that this hole seems to encourage. A lot of the trees surrounding the green and the fairway have been cut over the years, but a lot more have grown! I’ve heard it said that the course could benefit from having bunkers, but I think that in terms of being able to maintain the place it’s hard enough as it is and at this hole, it might actually lessen the degree of difficulty as a poorly struck shot would be saved from worse grief by the sand.
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