WESTERN GAILES CONT
The bunkers fronting the 15th green leave enough space to hit a lower ball flight than may seem prudent. Many might think this detail is small beer, but when the wind blows......
Dead straight and another burn hole; even from the daily tee carrying the water miles short of the 16th green can be a chore.
The penultimate hole, while perplexing, is certainly one which gets the player thinking. The drive offers no clues as to the layout of the hole. Its like hitting into a field knowing the second will require something extra special, but who knows what?
It turns out we play over the ridge to a blind fairway that for all intents and purposes looks like it was designed for another hole much further left. We have the pole as a guide, but the pole doesn't reveal how dangerous the line is. Golfers approach from the right...across the width of the fairway. I am not convinced this is a very good hole, but it does command respect. Besides, all courses need a bit of controversy.
Not in the least controversial, Home is however, a very good finisher. Many golfers will play too far left trying to avoid a pair of bunkers guarding the right side of the fairway. There is a very good chance the bunkers well short of the green will then be in play.
The clubhouse is very comfortable and stately. Even the lockeroom oozes character.
Western Gailes has long been on my bucket list and it was wonderful to finally visit. With holes such as 6, 7, 9 and 17 the course can certainly claim a seat at the top table of Scotland. However, due to the narrow property, Western Gailes does not offer enough variety to stand shoulder to shoulder with the best of Scotland. In particular, the driving aspect of the game is heavily weighted toward trying to find fairways which narrow at the driving zone while fighting a cross wind. I would also note the heavy use of burns which cross fairways shy of greens at right angles. That said, it is no great shame not to hang with the Dornochs of the world as few courses can. For those looking for a tough day of driving the ball without being beat down by long yardage then Western Gailes will suit you to a tee. 2015