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MURPH's Handicap Mission

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#871 BuggeraCup


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Posted 26 May 2018 - 05:00 PM



On Sunday, I had a late start and then drove the 45mins around the estuary through Dundee over to the Carnoustie in order to play their championship links. Carnoustie is hosting the Open Championship this year so I was really looking forward to testing myself against what is renowned as the toughest course on the Open rotation. Again, the weather was pretty good. Sunny skies but still cool with a decent breeze blowing but overall nothing to complain about.


1st, Par 4, 389m

Well after two great days of beautiful ball striking I was probably due for a bad round and it certainly started that way at Carnoustie. I hooked my first drive over the burn on the left onto the adjoining course which is internal out-of-bounds. From there I hacked my way up the hole for a triple.(Triple Bogey, +3)


2nd, Par 4, 407m

Pushed a high, pop up drive slightly right into the wind and caught the deep fairway trap. I could only get out with a wedge from there and then found the green with a 6-iron but couldn’t hole the putt for par. (Bogey, +4)


3rd, Par 4, 325m

I really enjoyed this short hole that was playing downwind. I took a 4-iron down the left side and found the fairway. From there my PW found the centre of the green but was still a bit short of the pin as my caddie told me to not go over the green under any circumstances. Unfortunately I three-whacked from there. (Bogey, +5)


4th, Par 4, 364m

Again I hooked my drive over the burn on the left, not as bad as the first hole though and I got lucky that the ball stayed in play. From a scruffy, thick lie I could only come up short left of the green from there. A decent pitch but not close enough to be able to hole the putt. (Bogey, +6)


5th, Par 4, 369m

Hit what I thought was a great hybrid off the tee downwind in order to stay short of the crossing burn. This thing just landed hot though on the downslope and kept rolling eventually just tumbling into the burn. Penalty drop and then hit my 9-iron to the centre of the green and took two putts. (Bogey, +7)


6th, Par 5, 500m

Famous Par 5 with OOB all the way down the left and I didn’t feel like I had really hit a decent shot yet as I found myself +7 after 5! With the wind helping a little but mostly off my left I took the famous Ben Hogan line and worked it back off the left side and found the fairway a long way down there. I hit a great 3-wood from there that came up not too far short of the green and finally hit a decent pitch to stone dead. (Birdie, +6)


7th, Par 4, 373m

I thought I was back on track after the last hole but again I lost my drive to the right rough and again got lucky to miss the right fairway traps. From there I also flared my second shot to the right from a good lie. An easy chip was executed okay and I holed a nice 12ft for the par. (Par, +6)


8th, Par 3, 157m

This was a great example of a short links hole that can play so difficult. With a helping breeze it was only a PW because the pin was right on the front left but the OOB fence was only about another 5 yards to the left off the green. I couldn’t bring myself to go anywhere near it with the way I was hitting it and I ended up bailing out to the short right. I was in no trouble and I was on short fairway grass just off the green but I had just about no chance of getting it close due to the slopes on the green and the fear of the OOB just off the downslope if I got a bit aggressive. From there I was only ever going to make four! (Bogey, +7)


9th, Par 4, 416m

I hit a long drive just short of Nicklaus’s bunker but it still faded off into the rough on the right. I got lucky with my lie over there and then absolutely nutted a pure hybrid that was all over the flag and ended up about 15ft away. Unfortunately I couldn’t capitalize by holing the putt. (Par, +7)


Front 9, +7, 43

2/8 Fairways

3 GIRs

17 putts


10th, Par 4, 417m

I pulled my drive to the left and again I got lucky to miss the trap. My approach was also pulled and missed the green to the left with the traps between me and the pin. Same as before I was probably always going to make five as there was no way to stop it close to the pin. (Bogey, +8)


11th, Par 4, 351m

A really nice drive split the fairway and the bunkers on both sides. My PW was a bit fat and came up short and right which was very disappointing. However I managed to hit a decent chip and holed a nice putt to salvage. (Par, +8)


12th, Par 4, 407m

Another really nice long and straight drive. A nice 8-iron also found the correct area of the green near the pin. A decent first putt but again it was a little short (common theme for me on these links greens). (Par, +8)


13th, Par 3, 141m

This hole was playing downwind and I hit what I thought was a great 9-iron but it was too strong and even caught the downslope at the back of the green and went a long way from the putting surface. I couldn’t even really hit it directly at the pin with my pitch and from there I took another two putts. (Bogey, +9)


14th, Par 5, 459m

A nice drive was long and used the contours to find the right side of the fairway. My approach, which was hard enough anyway with a 4-iron, certainly wasn’t helped when I got it very skinny. It shot in low and was very lucky to miss the right hand ‘spectacles’ bunker but it did run into the deep greenside trap that was short right. I splashed out but no where near the pin and couldn’t hole the putt. (Par, +9)


15th, Par 4, 437m

Another tough Par 4 on this finishing stretch that just seemed to keep getting harder and harder. Another nice drive found the fairway. Again my iron shot was terrible and this time it did catch the fairway traps about 50 yards short of the green on the right. Could only just splash it out and start again and actually hit a really nice second pitch and holed the putt.(Bogey, +10)


16th, Par 3, 235m

A very tough and long Par 3 that plays to a long but very narrow green with steep fall offs on both sides. Luckily the wind was helping a bit and I finally found the middle of the club face on an iron shot and my 4-iron was pure to the green and actually rolled up to about 20ft. My first putt was short (again!) and I made the next one for par. (Par, +10)


17th, Par 4, 421m

Tough, tough hole with the Barry Burn crossing the hole a couple of times. I thought I hit a good drive but it was just pulled slightly and didn’t really fade back like I expected it to. In the end it just dribbled into the burn on the left. From there I actually hit a great long iron to the green and took two putts to get in. (Bogey, +11)


18th, Par 4, 421m

The famous  finishing hole didn’t get any easier but at least I hit a great drive to the fairway and it was long enough to decide to have a crack at crossing the burn a second time on the way to the green. I should have played conservatively and laid up but I knew this might be the only time I ever played Carnoustie so I went for it. Found the burn right about where Jean did in 1999 but got up & down in two from there. (Bogey, +12)


Back 9, +5, 41

5/7 Fairways

2 GIRs

15 Putts

TOTAL = +12, 84

7/15 Fairways

5 Greens in Regulation

32 Putts


My ball striking was terrible all day although I at least started to drive it better on the back side. On top of that my short game wasn’t much to write hole about either and I was still struggling to get a feel for the speed of the greens. Conditions were pretty good so I can’t blame that. Carnoustie was just a bloody tough course and there is often trouble on both sides of the fairways and greens and also a bit of water and OOB in play throughout the course. Again though, I loved every second of it and can’t wait to watch the Pro’s tackle it in July.



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Edited by BuggeraCup, 26 May 2018 - 05:14 PM.

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#872 BuggeraCup


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Posted 26 May 2018 - 05:02 PM



Back to the Old Course again today after getting the very first tee time in the ballot so it was an early start for the 7:00am tee off. Conditions were obviously pretty cold but again the skies were blue and clear and the wind was virtually non-existent. 


1st, Par 4, 355m

Pretty cold and tight and I didn’t have a chance to warm up at the range before the early tee off so I hit a bit of a pop up tee shot that found the fairway (not that its that hard on the 1st!) but pretty short. 6-iron approach was more than I wanted in and I pulled it slightly and missed the green left but at least I cleared the burn which was better than last time. Long chip was a bit aggressive and I missed the putt coming back. (Bogey, +1)


2nd, Par 4, 395m

Long drive up the safer left side found the fairway. 8-iron in found the green but was a good 40ft short of the back pin. Solid two putts for par. (Par, +1)


3rd, Par 4, 337m

Another long drive but it leak a bit right and flirt with the bunkers on the right. Left myself with a good angle and easy PW but again I didn’t really get it close enough. Easy two putt though. (Par, +1)


4th, Par 4, 411m

Went well left off the tee for safety and easily found the fairway. Iron shot in was a little chunky though and I ended up just clearing the deep Cartgate bunker short of the green. Tough chip wasn’t really hit with any authority and I left it well short and couldn’t make the putt to salvage par. (Bogey, +2)


5th, Par 5, 514m

Long fairway drive and my 3-wood approach hit into an upslope and stopped just short of the green. Again a weak pitch cost me a good chance of birdie. (Par, +2)


6th, Par 4, 360m

Again the driver was working and I hit a nice drive up the middle. Only had a wedge in but the pin was up front just over the big swale at the front so I ended up going long. Easy two putt though. (Par, +2)


7th, Par 4, 349m

Teed off with the 3-wood to stay short of the ‘shell’ trap but it was a flared a little right however still found the fairway. Again just a PW in and again I didn’t hit it close enough to give me a good look at birdie. (Par, +2)


8th, Par 3, 154m

Thin 7-iron found the green but obviously rolled through a fair way to the back of the green. Really good two putt actually to salvage my par. (Par, +2)


9th, Par 4, 289m

Nice drive but it did leak a bit right and flirt with the fairway traps but I got away with it. Little bump and run looked good for a long time but I just couldn’t get it to stop and it rolled out to about 12ft. Like the rest of my Scotland trip, I couldn’t make the putt!! (Par, +2)


Front 9, +2, 38

8/8 Fairways

7 GIRs

18 Putts


10th, Par 4, 311m

I hit a solid drive but it didn’t fade at all like my normal ball flight and in fact, actually drew just a little bit. We found it but it was in amongst a few gorse bushes so I took an unplayable drop and started again. Pitched on and had two putts. Disappointing start to my back nine after a pretty solid front side! (Double Bogey, +4)


11th, Par 3, 164m

Hit my 6-iron pretty fat which landed it well short and from there it bounced right on the contours and ended up right against the face of the ‘Strath’ bunker. First attempt out of the trap was unsuccessful and I realized how much of a legitimate trap these bunkers are. My second shot was awesome though and I managed to put it to about 2ft and holed the putt for a ‘good’ bogey. (Bogey, +5)


12th, Par 4, 316m

Really nice drive found the fairway and took the bunkers out of play. Pin was slightly left on the plateau and I put it to about 30ft but again I couldn’t capitalize. (Par, +5)


13th, Par 4, 388m

Really strong drive found the fairway but I was right behind the dune which blocked my view of the green. Pin was right which was just about impossible to get at from my angle and on top of that I pull my 7-iron approach slightly. Disappointing three-putt from about 50ft. (Bogey, +6)


14th, Par 5, 523m

Another decent drive but this one was turned over slightly instead of my normal fade. It was still a long drive but into the rough on the left. The problem was that I was far enough down there that I was kind of obligated to have a crack at the green in two as the lay up is no bargain on 14. However I ended up topping my 3-wood by trying to hit it too hard and ended up in the ‘Hell’ bunker, right up near the face. I had to play a SW splash shot out sideways and start again. Next shot found the green and from there I took another two putts. (Bogey, +7)


15th, Par 4, 391m

Great drive down the middle and a solid 9-iron away from the pin because it was tucked to close to the OOB on the right. Easy two putts from there. (Par, +7)


16th, Par 4, 345m

Again a great drive and found the green with my short iron. Again I didn’t hit it close enough, or putt well enough, to take advantage of it. (Par, +7)


17th, Par 4, 436m

Drive was long and aggressive straight over the Old Course Hotel sign and found the right portion of the fairway. Like when I played on Saturday, the pin was back left behind the Road Hole bunker. I pulled my approach shot but I hit it well enough that it was long enough to skirt the bunker and I was left with a reasonably easy chip. Knocked it pretty close and holed a good 5ft for the par. (Par, +7)


18th, Par 4, 361m

There is a mile of room left on 18 but my caddie said aim at the clock so that’s what I did. I faded it a little bit and when it also bounced even more to the right I was worried that I might have to reload due to the OOB. But it was never really in too much danger and it found the fairway just near the road. From there I hit an absolutely perfectly pure 9-iron that was all over the pin. Ended up 6ft under the hole and I even got a polite round of applause from the gathering crowd which is pretty much always present behind the green. Holed it and got even more applause!!! (Birdie, +6)


Back 9, +4, 40

6/8 Fairways

5 GIRs

16 Putts


TOTAL = +6, 78

14/16 Fairways

12 Greens in Regulation

34 Putts


Again I hit the ball really solid and my stats indicate that, especially my driving. It goes to show that the Old Course is very wide open and its actually pretty easy to hit a heap of the wide fairways and the double greens. Especially in the calm conditions that I played it in there weren’t many defences for the old girl. That’s being said, I never really hit it close enough to take advantage of my opportunities and it just goes to show that you really need to be on the correct side of the fairways to be able to get at some of the pins. On top of that I putted like an absolute gimp which meant I was never going to shoot a really low score. That being said, sub 80 on the Old Course (twice actually) exceeded my expectations and even if I had shot a 100+ you still wouldn’t have been able to wipe the smile off my face! I loved every single second of it!



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Edited by BuggeraCup, 26 May 2018 - 05:19 PM.

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#873 BuggeraCup


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Posted 26 May 2018 - 05:04 PM




Today I was driving up from St Andrews to Inverness a few hours away. I had no golf pre-booked for this day and I was just going to play it by ear and see how I felt as to whether I wanted to have another round or not. I had really wanted to play Cruden Bay, just north of Aberdeen, but on this day it was nearly freezing temperatures with a strong, cold wind and the rain was coming in sideways. Due to that I elected to skip any golf today and instead I found a good pub to have a counter meal and a couple of beers to break up the trip instead of a game of golf. I would have loved to have played Cruden Bay, I’ve heard that it is excellent and a lot of fun but I’m pretty sure that I made the right decision based on the conditions!   

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#874 RobNewy


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Posted 26 May 2018 - 05:41 PM

Looks stunning.

How far forward are the normal tees than the championship tees?

#875 BuggeraCup


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Posted 27 May 2018 - 01:56 AM

Looks stunning.

How far forward are the normal tees than the championship tees?



Carnoustie certainly had some tees that were a long, long way back from where we played. I think that they can set that up very long if they want to. It's bloody tough though and tight in places so I don't really think they have to do that, particularly if there is any kind of wind. 


However, on the Old Course there wasn't too much difference from where I played compared to where the pro's hit from. There were a couple of holes where they have built some new tee boxes. The 17th Road Hole certainly has a new tee box (that is actually over the road on one of the other courses) that adds a good 40m compared to where I hit from. To be honest, if there is no wind and nice weather at St Andrews, I don't think that there is much they can do to protect the course - its not really that long and there's not really any more room to lengthen it.  

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Posted 27 May 2018 - 03:51 AM



I was really looking forward to playing this modern links that is a fairly recent addition about 15mins outside of Inverness. This links was the brain child of the same guy who developed Kingsbarns back down near St Andrews. There were designed by different architects and apparently the developer is even credited as a co-designer at Castle Stuart as he was very hands on. I really enjoyed the course and to be honest, I probably enjoyed it even slightly more than Kingsbarns from a design point of view but both of them are world class courses. I had an early tee time and I had bought an all-day ticket so I ended up playing 36 holes. The course was exceptionally quiet the day I played and for my morning round I basically had the place to myself. The service was excellent and they set me up with a bar tab so I could order anything I wanted all day and just fix it up at the end. 


In the interest of time, I’ll just write about one of my rounds (the best one obviously!!!) at Castle Stuart unless there is relevance between my morning and afternoon rounds that is of interest. In the cold morning round, I played off the slightly forward tee markers and then on the afternoon round I play off the back markers (which still weren’t right back off the championship tees where the pro’s play in most cases).


1st, Par 4, 399m

This hole starts right down by the water and is a nice gentle opener with even more room available for the drive than seems apparent from the tee. It was also playing downwind this morning. I hit a great drive straight down the middle leaving a 9-iron in. Solid approach found the heart of the green but again I failed to get the birdie putt to the hole. (Par, Even)


2nd, Par 5, 530m

Still downwind and slightly downhill bending around the estuary. I hit my drive down the left side playing away from the water hoping for my standard fade. It never really came and I feared that I might put it in the gorse that covers the embankment up the higher holes. I got lucky though and the slope bounced it back to the right, still in the rough in a pretty ordinary lie but in no real trouble. 4-iron was skinny and right and it caught the rough to the left and lucky not to be dead in the fescue. Hacked out of there with a PW and came up short left of the green. Tricky chip from below the narrow green was really well played leaving only a few feet for par. (Par, Even)


3rd, Par 4, 266m

Great short hole right at the end of the property hard against the edge of the estuary still had a helping wind today. Hit a great drive that just bounced left of the green due to the contours but was pin high. From there I hit a magic little checking flop shot off a tight lie to leave a kick-in bird (in my morning round I actually had a putt for Eagle). (Birdie, -1)


4th, Par 3, 176m

A beautiful, but tough, uphill Par 3 that turns away from the water and has Castle Stuart as a back drop. Had a solid 4-iron in and I got it a little thin and it also leaked right in amongst the mounds on the right but almost pin high. Again I hit a really nice chip with not much green to work with and then holed the 6ft to salvage. (Par, -1)


5th, Par 4, 430m

A long Par 4 that also works uphill and was also against the wind today. I hit a pretty good drive that found the left hand side of the fairway. Still had a 4-iron in but I then preceeded to hit a big, old ‘Hillary Swank’ (shank!) and actually got lucky to find the ball near the embankment not too far from gorse but in no real trouble. Hit a sh*t next shot and then my next one wasn’t much better but at least I one-putted. That is how you ruin a nice start to your round folks! (Double Bogey, +1)


6th, Par 5, 522m

Turning back downwind this Par 5 was well within range in two (on knocked it just to the right of the green in my morning round) and I had visions of doing that again when the ball left the driver face. It just didn’t quite draw as much as I expected with the wind and then it didn’t really bounce to the left with the fairway contours like physics suggested it should. Such is links golf though and it found the second of two pot bunkers on the right. Could only take wedge out but I got out safely and was still in range with my third which I knocked onto the front edge. Two putts from there. (Par, +1)


7th, Par 4, 451m

Another really tough Par 4 slightly uphill and into the wind to a stunning infinity green high on the cliff. Hit a decent drive although it did balloon a bit into the wind but still found the fairway. From there I had to hit a 3-wood to get home and I thought it was great but it didn’t bounce down like the caddie thought it might from the high ground to the right of the green as it was just a little too far right. From up there I hit a typical links shot with my 7-iron and got it rolling down the slope onto the green. It was a very good shot but still rolled out to about 10ft which was about as close as I could get it reckon even with another ten goes at it. Missed the putt unfortunately. (Bogey, +2)


8th, Par 3, 208m

Long and into the wind but the green is a really big bowl which does help collect the ball. We decided to hit 3-wood but I absolutely pured it and I ended up hitting it through the wind to be honest and it found the back of the green however the pin was near the front. It was an epic roller coaster of a putt from about 60ft and it was too hard for me! (Bogey, +3)


9th, Par 4, 350m

Lost my drive to the right into a scruffy lie in the rough. The lie wasn’t too bad though and was certainly no excuse for the fat 5-iron I hit from there. I then compounded the error but pushing my 9-iron third and missed the green right. Good chip and a one-putt from there. It was a disappointing finish to the outward nine and I really felt like I had let a potentially great round slip – especially as it was second time around the course which gave me more confidence. (Bogey, +4)


Front 9, +4, 40

4/7 Fairways

3 GIRs

13 Putts


10th, Par 4, 360m

Back down on the lower level by the water but still into the wind. Again I lost my drive to the right and it was pretty short. Really good hybrid from there though found the green and I two putted for par which felt like I had dodged a bullet. (Par, +4)


11th, Par 3, 130m

Great little Par 3 against the estuary back into the wind with a slightly elevated tee. The pin was at the front today just over a massive, deep trap. I hit a hard 9-iron and I pulled it slightly but it stayed in the air long enough to clear the trap and then it rolled a bit closer with the contours. Made a great 15ft for bird. (Birdie, +3)


12th, Par 5, 518m

Hit a terrible pop up drive into the wind that went no where and missed the fairway. A good 3-wood from there though got me back into position. Still had 7-iron in for my third to a green that’s designed for shorter clubs than that. Two putts. (Par, +3)


13th, Par 4, 416m

After a tough, steep walk from the lower level up the embankment to this tee I hit a perfect long fading drive that found the fairway. I then proceeded to do exactly what I did in my morning round and thinned my PW approach which ran through the green into the rough. Hit an okay chip from a tricky spot but couldn’t make the putt and was pissed off to make a bogey from where I should have been sniffing a birdie! (Bogey, +4)


14th, Par 4, 360m

Turning back into the wind I turned my drive over too much and actually got really lucky to find a nice lie in the dune to the left. Hit a really pure 9-iron from there that was all over the flag and holed a nice 15ft. This hole was another perfect example of angles and positioning on links golf. There is a central fairway bunker almost right in the middle of the trap and then deep swale short right of the green and the green slopes hard from right to left. My caddie told me to go well left of the fairway trap (the fairway is about 60m wide!). In the morning, what did I do? Flared it way right, still on the fairway with a perfect level lie but I had absolutely no hope of stopping it on the green. In the afternoon I hooked my tee shot way left in the dunes but I had a great angle and was able to stop it easily due to the contours and set up a birdie even though I was in the rough – I love that about links golf! (Birdie, +3)


15th, Par 4, 409m

Hit a nice drive that found the right hand side of the fairway. Got my approach with the hybrid pretty fat and wasn’t able to get up & down with my pitch. (Bogey, +4)


16th, Par 4, 325m

Downwind and slightly downhill short Par 4 that you just had to have a crack at. Hit a great tee shot on this semi-blind hole but my caddie thought it might be a fraction too far left to take the contours and roll onto the green. He was right! It went straight and I actually had to take a drop from under a gorse bush. Wasn’t able to get my tricky chip close enough. (Bogey, +5)


17th, Par 3, 210m

Long Par 3 but downwind and there were also contours short and left that you could use to run it on to the green. I hit it a bit too fat to take advantage of it but was able to for my second shot and I actually holed a really nice putt for the par. (Par, +5)


18th, Par 5, 508m

Shortish Par 5 that is downhill and, today, downwind. Hit a brilliant drive straight down the middle that was very long. Never any question about having a lash at it as again, it might be the only time I get to play here! Hit a perfect 5-iron but it didn’t really fade at all but still found the big green about 30ft from the pin. Putt looked like the right line but I bloody left it about a foot short!!! Tap-in birdies are always good fun though and a great way to finish a great day of golf on an awesome course. (Birdie, +4)


Back 9, Even, 36

4/7 Fairways

5 GIRs

15 Putts


TOTAL = +4, 76

8/14 Fairways

8 Greens in Regulation

28 Putts


I really enjoyed this course and playing 36 holes definitely gave me a feel for the course and I played with more knowledge and confidence the second time around. My ball striking was okay but probably not as good as my rounds at St Andrews or Kingsbarns though. The difference this time though was that my short game was a lot better and I finally got the putter going. This was the first (and only) time that I managed to record less than 30 putts for a round on this Scotland trip and it made all the difference and lead to my best score and round for the entire trip. I highly recommend Castle Stuart if you find yourself up in the Scottish Highlands at any point.

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#877 PerryGroves


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Posted 28 May 2018 - 09:53 AM

Good stuff B'Cup, I can't wait to get back over ther, look forward to the next reports, hopefully you headed up to the highlands.

I got you at TOC (birdied the last for 77) and you bested me by a couple at Kingsbairns, we had the wind blowing in the opposite direction.

Quick story at TOC, like you I had 4 iron in on the road hole after a good drive. Said to myself, you are unlikely to be back, make a good swing and you can tell everyone you made par. Jumped at it, left and further left and was lucky to make bogey. disappoint.
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Posted 30 May 2018 - 01:13 AM

Good stuff B'Cup, I can't wait to get back over ther, look forward to the next reports, hopefully you headed up to the highlands.

I got you at TOC (birdied the last for 77) and you bested me by a couple at Kingsbairns, we had the wind blowing in the opposite direction.

Quick story at TOC, like you I had 4 iron in on the road hole after a good drive. Said to myself, you are unlikely to be back, make a good swing and you can tell everyone you made par. Jumped at it, left and further left and was lucky to make bogey. disappoint.




Nice work mate, 77 is always a solid score anywhere. 

To be honest, with the way I hit it I probably should have scored a bit better than I did. I struggled with my putting all week, I just couldn't get the ball to the hole and hardly made any putts at all. Other than that just a couple of errors at 11 and 14 also cost me.


My caddie said to me at Kingsbarns that the wind was not from the normal direction. It was essentially completely 180 degrees out from the normal, the same thing happened up at Royal Dornoch ironically.

#879 BuggeraCup


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Posted 11 June 2018 - 01:08 AM



Along with the Old Course at St Andrews, Royal Dornoch was the other course that I was really looking forward to playing and is a 'bucket-list', 'must-play once in your lifetime' kind of course. It was the home of famous architect, Donald Ross and the course is a quintessential links course, played in an out and back fashion along the coast. The course is interesting in that there are three different types of terrain that the course is spread across. Firstly, there is the high ridge away from the coast near the clubhouse that has holes such as 1, 2, the green on 16 and the 18th - these are the least interesting holes on the course. However, you will also find holes like 7, the 3rd tee and the first half of the 8th and 17th holes which are so memorable. Then there is an intermediate ridge line where you will find just above the links land immediately adjacent to the beach. This has holes such as 3 thru to 6, the second half of 8 and 17 and the famous green of the 14th, "Foxy". The rest of the holes are right up against the coast with views of the ocean pretty much everywhere on the course once you get past the 2nd. 


Again, I might only be here once, so I decided to play 36 holes with a caddie in a day and, again, the weather was sunny, however, it was pretty bloody windy, especially in my afternoon round (a solid 20+ knots) which also made it pretty cold for my liking despite the sun.


1st, Par 4, 331m

The First was playing straight back into the wind so it wasn't an easy start even though this Par 4 is a gentle opener to the round. A nice drive straight down the middle found the fairway. From there it was still a full 7-iron that found the middle of the green. As per my normal theme on this Scottish trip....I left the birdie putt short! Par (Even)


2nd, Par 3, 177m

A narrow green on this pushed up Par 3 is guarded by two deep bunkers on either side of the entrance to the green and steep drop offs on the side. Again into a stiff wind, my 4-iron was a little off the toe and I missed the green short right but at least missed the trap. Either way it was still dead and lead to a bogey. Bogey (+1)


3rd, Par 4, 413m

The walk from the 2nd green to the 3rd tee is pretty special and leads through a chute of gorse bushes before revealing the coast and the majority of this beautiful seaside links. The tee shot calls for a soft draw around the ridge line to miss the bunkers through the fairway right. That was achieved nicely but my approach shot into the wind, with a hybrid was fat and thus, short. Couldn't get up and down from there. Bogey (+2)


4th, Par 4, 422m

The 4th has a similar feel to the 3rd but this time the hole runs right along the intermediate ridge on the right with the high ridge on the left. It tempts you into probably aiming too far to the left which is what I did. We feared it might have been in the gorse so I hit a provisional. The first shot was found but it was still pretty dead and I just had to punch out. From there I found the green and two-putted. Bogey (+3)


5th, Par 4, 353m

Finally a shorter Par 4 was very welcomed as we were still straight into the wind on the outward journey. A nice long drive from the, again, elevated tee found the fairway but was probably a bit too long and left a tricky pitch over the front trap onto a down slope to a front pin! Luckily the strong headwind helped on this occasion and I played a great pitch that sat down dead right near the pin for an easy tap-in! Birdie (+2)


6th, Par 3, 161m

Six is a great hole, the green is cut into the slope near the base of the main ridge line with gorse way left, three deep pot bunkers on the left and a steep drop off on the right hand side of the very narrow green. On top of that, it was still straight back into the wind, so much so that I tossing up between a 4-iron and a hybrid. I ended up hitting the iron and I absolutely pured it. It actually looked like it might go in for a while before settling one foot to the left of the back pin. Another short birdie putt. Birdie (+1)


7th, Par 4, 479m

There's a steep walk up to the 7th that runs high along the top of the high ridge line. Again, still into the wind made this straight away Par 4, with thick gorse on each side play more like a Par 5 today. Driver and then 3-wood, both hit very well still left me 60m to the green. A decent pitch found the green but I couldn't hole the 15ft to keep my momentum going. Bogey (+2)


(((Note: there are currently relocating the 7th to be right on the edge of the ridge line further to the right of its current position. It will have an infinity green and allow views of the ocean but will basically be an exact replica of the current hole and should be an improvement on what is already a fine hole and improve the course even further.))) 


8th, Par 4, 434m

This is a great driving hole from the high ridge line. If you are long enough, you will see your ball fly (or roll) over the the precipous of the ridge and shorten the hole significantly by finding the lower fairway section. Alternatively, an iron off the tee will leave your tee ball on the upper fairway section on the high ridge line leaving a longer shot in but a nice view of your target green. I went with the driver and hit a nice drive leaving a 9-iron in. Found the green but again left my first putt way short and three-putted. Bogey (+3)


9th, Par 5, 529m

Finally we reached the end of the property and turned to have the wind predominantly at our backs. We were also right along the beach now and would pretty much stay there until we turned inland at the 16th tee. This Par 5 was playing pretty short in this wind and I found the fringe of the green in two and got up & down from there to finish the front nine in style. Birdie (+2)


Front 9, +2, 37

5/7 Fairways

5 GIRs

16 Putts


10th, Par 3, 146m

This little Par 3 was playing shorter than the card yardage and was straight downwind with deep pot bunkers guarding the front and left. Even with a back pin, the green slopes away from front to back and with it being downwind, I had no idea how to stop it! Instead I decided to be indecisive and try and steer a wedge down there. It didn't work and I missed short left and couldn't get up & down from there. (Bogey, +3)


11th, Par 4, 446m

This straight away Par 4 was straight downwind and has a ridge running through the fairway. I found the left fairway with my drive and then ended up over-clubbing downwind and ran through the green. I chipped okay but again my Scottish putting curse kicked me in the nuts! (Bogey, +4)


12th, Par 5, 535m

Downwind Par 5 that is similar to the 9th but with a green that sits at a different angle. Good drive but it found the right rough then I also lost my 3-wood a little to the right and short. From there I had a tricky lie but hit a nice pitch to about 10ft. Unfortunately I lipped the birdie putt out on the high side but at least I hit a decent putt on this occasion. (Par, +4)


13th, Par 3, 171m

Another downwind Par 3 and again I was indecisive instead of making an aggressive swing with the right club instead of trying to steer something. Found the front left trap (on the bounce) and was lucky to even get the ball out with my next shot. Two putts. (Bogey, +5)


14th, Par 4, 445m

'Foxy' is a hole that I had read a lot about and is a perfectly natural hole with an amazing green complex. The fairway sits at an angle to the tee box but with the helping wind off the left I found the left portion of the fairway a long way down. I then hit what I thought was a perfect punchy 6-iron but it just caught the top of the upslope to the plateau green and was rejected well away. From down there I had several chip options and none of them were very appealing. I ended up taking hybrid and ran it up the slope but well beyond the pin from where I two-putted. I played it again what I thought perfectly in my afternoon round and still couldn't find the putting surface in regulation. So bottom-line is that I've got no idea how to play the approach shot to 'Foxy'. I think its the type of hole you could play over and over and never get tired of playing it and it sums up natural links golf pretty well. (Bogey, +6)


15th, Par 4, 322m

I felt like the round was slipping away so I played aggressively on this short Par 4 (downwind still) and carried the large dune in the middle of the fairway that is the main hazard on the hole. From there though I hit a pretty poor pitch to the back pin and compounded the error by three-jacking! (Bogey, +7)


16th, Par 4, 401m

16 is a pretty boring, straight hole that works it way uphill with the green up on top of the main ridge line. I hit an okay drive to the fairway but my approach was long and was lucky not to be dead in the gorse. I hit an okay chip but couldn't hole the putt for Par. (Bogey, +8)


17th, Par 4, 405m

Another great hole that is a very similar concept to the 8th where the hole tumbles down the high ridge but the green complex is much more interesting that the 8th. Again there is a decision to carry the drop off to the lower fairway or stay high with a longer shot but a view of the green. Again I took driver and again hit a good one to the lower fairway. From there I had an 8-iron in which I hit well but hooked it, plus it started riding the draw wind. I thought it was going to miss way left but the green is in a bowl and anything left will kick onto the green - unbeknown to me initially. I was happy when I got to the unseen green and saw my ball about 20ft away. Again I left my putt short! (Par, +8)


18th, Par 4, 456m

Tough finishing hole back towards the clubhouse although it is a little boring as it is back on top of the high ridge line. I hit a drive that I lost to the right rough. My approach was a little heavy and came up short right. My pitch up to the plateau green was pretty good but again I couldn't hole the putt. (Bogey, +9)


Back 9, +7, 42

5/7 Fairways 

3 GIRs

19 Putts!!!


TOTAL = +9, 79

10/14 Fairways

8 Greens in Regulation

35 Putts!!!


The course kicked my arse in that wind, especially in the afternoon round, but I loved every single minute of it. It was truly beautiful and some of the holes, like 4, 6, 8, 14 and 17 were absolutely world class and memorable. Some of the green complexes were amazing yet completely natural and unmanufactured.........I still have no idea as to the best way to play the 14th second shot!!! Royal Dornoch is a must play in my opinion, it is a bit of a hike to get up to the highlands but this course is well worth it and a course that you should play at least once in your life.

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#880 BuggeraCup


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Posted 11 June 2018 - 01:22 AM



Again on my planned travel day it decided to piss down rain so again I decided to skip playing a round of golf. I drove from Inverness to Edinburgh but on the way I checked out Loch Ness first and then found a good pub for lunch and did a quick distillery tour all of which were awesome. Early the next morning I flew out from Edinburgh direct back to Dubai to reunite with the family.


My entire trip was awesome and a dream come true. I still can't believe that I didn't get rained on once while on the golf course - just on my planned travel days. I ticked two bucket list course in the Old Course and Royal Dornoch along with some other world-class links. There were plenty of other courses that I could have played, especially around St Andrews but I was happy with my choices. I highly recommend doing a trip like this if you get the chance.


If I'm ever lucky enough to do a similar trip then my next destination will be over to Ireland an Northern Ireland. Hopefully my trip will include tracks like Royal Portrush, Royal County Down, Ballybunion Old, Lahinch, Doonbeg, Tralee etc............better start greasing the wheels now!!! 

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#881 BuggeraCup


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Posted 11 June 2018 - 01:40 AM

Back into Dubai golf.

I played a round with some mates at the Els Club. It was certainly a change from playing in sub 10 degrees and wearing every piece of golfing clothing that I own in Scotland to playing in 40 degree heat in Dubai.


I hit the ball pretty well especially on the front nine. In fact I instantly felt comfortable being back on fast Bermuda greens and it showed in my putting. Additionally, I felt like I had a lot more variety and options in my short game which I think is a direct result of the different situations that you are faced with in Scottish links golf. 


I birdied the Par 3, 5th after a nice tee shot to 10ft and then Eagled (my first of the year!!!) the Par 5, 6th after a nice drive and a perfect drawing 3-wood to the heart of the green. That still left me with a lightning fast, downhill 40 footer that I was more likely to putt off the green instead of holing. But I hit a perfect putt that looked like it would be close the whole way. 3 under through 2 holes.......happy with that!!!


That stretch lead me to playing the front nine in +1, 37. However, the back nine was a bit of a slog as the wind got up. I didn't feel like I hit it too badly but I just got in some bad spots and didn't make the up & downs and the putts that I needed to keep the momentum going. At least I did manage to birdie the Par 5 last to come home in +5, 41.


In the end a fairly solid +6, 78.

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#882 BuggeraCup


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Posted 11 June 2018 - 02:11 AM

Yesterday I played with one of my mates at Trump International. The namesake might be a c*#t of a bloke but this course is pretty bloody good. Its also set up nice and firm and fast which I really enjoy as it gives you a lot more options around the green and is different to a lot of the other Dubai courses. Although I love the course, in the half a dozen times or so that I've played it, it has dominated me. It's long and is usually very windy (just like it was this time!) as it more out into the desert. So this time, my mate and I were determined to play a bit better and we also decided to play some slightly more forward tees instead of the championship pegs.


Right from the start I hit the ball great and my mate (who is a very good golfer himself) really tried to keep other focused on what we were trying to do on every shot which I think really helped. A got a string of Pars going but then I doubled bogied the really tough 7th. However I bounced right back straight away by making birdie on both the Par 4, 8th and the Par 5, 9th (after just missing a 15ft eagle putt which would have been my third eagle in as many rounds!!!). That resulted in me turning in +1, 37.


The back nine was more of the same but the birdies weren't really looking like coming although I did make some good pars on the way. When I nearly aced the short, downwind Par 3, 17th (1ft for birdie!!!) and parred the last I had put together a pretty good round of +4, 76. Unfortunately, my mate got me by a shot!


Im playing Yas Links on Wednesday then I have an amateur tournament coming up next Friday at Al Zorah which should be good fun.

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#883 BuggeraCup


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Posted 15 June 2018 - 04:27 AM

Played today at Yas Links down in Abu Dhabi which is right next to where the Formula 1 track is. It's a nice course, kind of a fake links course but they always set the course up too soft and damp instead of firm and fast. There is awesome undulations in the fairways and green surrounds but they are essentially obsolete because the course is always too soft which is disappointing.

The course is rit by the water and as a result it is usually pretty windy and today was no different as there was a solid two club breeze. My ball striking was really solid all day. My driving wasn't as good as it normally is, I only hit 7/14 greens but most of my misses (other than the 2nd hole) were all pretty much in play. My iron play, which isn't usually my strength, was very solid and I managed to hit 12 greens in regulation. However, my putting stats were horrendous even though I felt like I put a pretty good roll on the ball. I had one three-putt and then I two-putted very thing else for a total of 37 putts!!! Despite that I managed to post a solid 79 which was pretty good considering those tutting numbers.

Playing in an amateur tournament tomorrow at Al Zorah which should be good fun.
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#884 BuggeraCup


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Posted 16 June 2018 - 07:32 PM

Played in a tournament yesterday at Al Zorah Golf Club which is a Jack Nicklaus designed course about 45mins north of Dubai, the Al Zorah Summer Open. It was standard Dubai summer weather, very hot around 42 degrees and a decent wind that got up by about mid morning. The course was in immaculate condition, as it always seems to be up there, and the playing conditions are probably the best in the entire country at the moment.


The tournament was played under stableford scoring conditions and I hit the ball great pretty much all day, despite the wind. I got a little lucky on the opening tee shot where my drive just skirted around the deep fairway trap instead of going in it and that stroke of luck kind of got me going. I only hit 7/14 fairways but most of my misses were still well in play and most of the misses were due to the strong winds more so than a bad swing. My iron play has really improved recently and it was very solid with a great ball flight and I actually ended up hitting 13 greens in regulations which was impressive. After a poor putting day in my last game at Yas Links I felt like I rolled it well today but again, other than a nice 25 footer on the 12th, I didn't really make any decent lengths putts. Conversely, I don't think I missed a putt inside 6ft all day which is really needed in a tournament to keep the momentum going.


Playing off a 5 handicap I shot 77 off the stick and ended up with 37 points in the stableford comp. I thought it might be a chance for a prize but two guys managed 38 points and I lost out for third on a count back. Doesn't matter though, I hit it great and it was a very solid round of golf so I'm happy.

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#885 BuggeraCup


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Posted 06 July 2018 - 11:56 PM

Today I had my second ever Sub-Par round of golf. Equalled my PB with a -2, 70!!!


First day of my Summer holidays off work today so I took the opportunity to have a game before we head off on our vacation. Played at Arabian Ranches in hot conditions (about 46 degrees when I finished) with plenty of haze and dust in the air but not too much wind, about one clubs worth.


I hit the ball just about perfectly today. Everything was on-song, drove it straight and long and hit some pure irons to give me plenty of looks at birdie and putted decently, no three-putts today. Very solid golf.


10th - Par 4

4-iron to right centre of fairway, downwind PW to 15ft. Two-putts. (Par, EVEN)


11th - Par 4

Great drive over the fairway trap. 8-iron was really solid but a little long. Two-putts (Par,  EVEN)


12th - Par 3

6-iron was too solid and actually went a little long over the green. Nice little chip which was relatively straight forward and holed the 3-footer. (Par, EVEN)


13th - Par 5

Drive was long but a little left of where I wanted and got lucky to miss the desert. Downwind I only had 5-iron in which found the green about 30ft away. Two-putts. (Birdie, -1)


14th - Par 4

Nice drive found the fairway. 9-iron looked good but only found the front fringe due to the headwind. Lightning fast downhill chip was really well played leaving a tap-in. (Par, -1)


15th - Par 4

Drivable Par 4 that I decided to have a go at, hit it well but thought it might have been too far left. Got away with it and played a nice pitch which rolled out to about 12ft. Holed the putt! (Birdie, -2)


16th, Par 5

Another great drive but I hooked my 3-wood into the desert. Played an okay 3rd out of the sand but left it in an impossible position above the hole and couldn't get it up and down. (Bogey, -1)


17th, Par 3

Tough Par 3 but hit a pure 6-iron to 20ft. Two-putts. (Par, -1)


18th, Par 4

Another solid drive into the wind then I hit a perfect 6-iron that flew straight over the flag and ended 15ft away. Weak putt though missed low. (Par, -1)


Front Nine

(-1) 35

7/7 Fairways

​6/9 Greens in Regulation

15 Putts


1st, Par 4

Another pure drive found the right fairway. Must have started thinking about my score because I hit my 9-iron terribly fat. Pitched on but still two putted. (Bogey, EVEN)


2nd, Par 3

Solid 7-iron used the back stop behind the pin. Putt looked in all the way until it turned away at the death. (Par, EVEN)


3rd, Par 5

Another long and straight drive then a solid 3-wood that just drew a little too much with the breeze and caught the green side trap. Excellent bunker shot to 3ft and holed the putt. (Birdie, -1)


4th, Par 4

Downwind and driving well so I took on the cross bunker and was rewarded after another great drive. GW in was all over the pin, landed 6ft long and sucked back to 2ft which was duly kicked in for back-to-back birds! (Birdie, -2)


5th, Par 4

Tee was up on this tough, long hole today with some helping breeze which made it easier. Found the fairway then had a PW in which found the green about 15ft away. Just missed the birdie putt though. (Par, -2)


6th, Par 4

Okay drive found the right fairway. 9-iron approach was ever so slightly thin and pushed a little but got away with it and found the right edge of the green but about 35ft away. First putt was good but rolled out about 5ft past. Holed the tricky breaking putt back though. (Par, -2)


7th, Par 3

Long tough reverse redan with all cross wind. 4-iron was really pure and and found the front of the green about 30ft short of the hole. Two good putts from there. (Par, -2)


8th, Par 5

Another great drive split the fairway. Took hybrid but hung it out slightly to the right leaving myself a tricky pitch downhill to the pin. Played it nicely but it still rolled out about 15ft. Good putt but just missed low. (Par, -2)


9th, Par 4

Drive was solid but the draw held it against the breeze. Missed the desert but found the light rough. Great 8-iron found the green again about 15ft above the hole. I wasn't sure but I kind of knew that this putt might be for a sub-70. Hit a really nice putt but it just stayed high. (Par, -2)


Back Nine

(-1) 35

6/7 Fairways

8/9 Greens in Regulation

16 Putts



(-2) 70!!!

13/14 Fairways

14 Greens in Regulation

31 Putts


I think that I hit two bad shots all day, the approach on 1 (my 10th) and the 3-wood second shot on the 16th (my 7th). Everything else was pretty much how I pictured it in my head. I don't think I've ever had stats that impressive in a round of golf before, I was literally just boring the course to death and never really got into any trouble. In reality, -2 was probably as high as I should have shot today because I had plenty of good looks at bird throughout the round. 


Don't get me wrong though, I'm stoked with this round and its the perfect way to start my holidays. I felt like a round like this wasn't too far away, the only problem is I won't get to play for the next 3 weeks!!!

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