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Robin_Hiseman

  • Karma: +0/-0
Let me put a word in for Dragoin's Tooth at Ballachulish. I did the layout for them before they went off to build it DIY. Simply a gorgeous location for a golf course.

Have a read of the following review.

http://scottishgolfcourses-allofthem.blogspot.co.uk/2011/08/just-back-from-playing-dragons-tooth.html

2023: Aberdovey, Liphook, Mill Ride (x9), Hillside, Lytham, Delamere Forest, Formby, Birkdale, Carya, Maxx Royal, Cleeve Hill, Sunny (Old & New), West Byfleet, Hoylake, East Berks, RSG, West Sussex, Hollinwell (x2), Alwoodley, JCB (x2), Beau Desert, Painswick (x2), Stranahan, Belfry (Brab & PGA)

Niall C

  • Karma: +0/-0
I must confess I used to ignore nine holers but in recent years I've really come to appreciate them. The Highlands of Scotland has a number of really good ones including some that have already been mentioned on here. Others that are well worth a play include;

Strathtay GC (just off the A9)
Blair Atholl GC (likewise just off the A9)
Dalmunzie GC (a wee bit further off the A9, bit of a theme developing here !)
Ballindalloch Castle GC (that's a good half hour off the A9)
Nethy Bridge GC (close to Boat of Garten)
Covesea GC (links, sea stacks etc)

Niall

Thomas Dai

  • Karma: +0/-0
Of places not yet mentioned, isn't there a 9-holer at Lybster and one at Helmsdale too?

As to others -

The 9-hole St Olaf course at Cruden Bay is terrific. Very much worth playing and not just as a warm-up for the Championship course.

Newburgh-on-Ythan used to have a lovely 9-holer, it's subsequently been extended to 18-holes.

The loop of the first 6 holes and last 3 holes of the Silverburn course at Royal Aberdeen are worth playing - a nice warm-up for the Championship course.

Fraserburgh, Peterhead and Murcar all have 9-holers.

There are also some along the Moray coast between Covesea and Fraserburgh too. Can't name them all off the top of my head though. Plus the likes of Lumphanan inland.

More 9-holers please.

atb


James Boon

  • Karma: +0/-0
Yes Thomas, Helmsdale does have a nine-holer!

Helmsdale is the next village up the coast from Brora and a place I'm now very lucky to visit regularly as my parents have retired there. Its probably better known for its fishing, with the River Helmsdale or River Ullie (it seems to be called both depending on who you talk to) apparently a very famous spot for catching salmon, but it does have a small 9 hole golf course so I thought i would give it a go...

I'd checked the internet beforehand and had found out it was only 1,860 yards with a par of 30. On arriving I found another wee clubhouse and an honesty box.

The first hole is a short par 4 of only 256 yards, but this is the view from the tee. With the road off to the left and the fairway pretty much blind behind a stone dyke, with what appeared endless gorse off to the right, I elected for a mid iron off the tee.


On reaching my ball I found that the fairway here was reasonable, but it narrowed considerably towards a small green. A brave tee shot here might find the green... might! When I got to the green, they weren't in bad condition. I later learnt from my dad that a few years back they were all replaced as they had reached a very poor state.

The second is a short par 3 of only 82 yards, with another small green sitting up on a mound, with serious trouble beyond.


The third is a uphill par 3 of 137 yards and then you cross a small driveway to a house to get to the fourth tee. Here is the tee shot on the 301 yard par 4. Yet again a short but blind par 4 leave you wondering what is beyond the ridge, but temptation and perhaps the great setting in the valley may get the better of you and a driver comes out...


On reaching the ridge, you will breathe a sigh of relief to find a wide open fairway on the other side, with a small green in the distance and the Strath Ullie beyond this!


The fifth is a par 3 of 179 yards, followed by the sixth, a par 4 of 308 yards, but this time its all clear in front of you, apart from another stone dyke at about driving distance.  The next few holes play over a large open flat area, crisscrossed with these stone dykes which form the main hazard. The tower in the distance is the clock tower which is also the war memorial and was designed as a marker for the villages fishing fleet.


There is next a bit of a climb back up the hill to the tee for the long par 3 seventh.


The eight is another walk back and this time plays across the previous hole., for a par 3 of 167 yards.


The ninth or last plays from a tee up above the previous green and downhill towards the clubhouse.
At 192 yards its no pushover!


A closer look at the green with the clubhouse off to the left


One last look back at the ninth green with the first off to the left if you fancy another nine holes...


Helmsdale is certainly a short course, but it's certainly no pushover as the small greens arent easy to hit. With Brora down the road it's going to be tricky to get too many more rounds under my belt here, but I love the small village feel to the place and its setting tucked under the side of the gorse and scree covered hill. And on reflection it took me less than an hour so you can easily squeeze a round in before breakfast!

Cheers,

James
2023 Highlights: Hollinwell (Notts), Brora, Aberdovey, Royal St Davids, Woodhall Spa, Broadstone, Parkstone, Cleeve, Painswick, Minchinhampton, Hoylake

"It celebrates the unadulterated pleasure of being in a dialogue with nature while knocking a ball round on foot." Richard Pennell

Thomas Dai

  • Karma: +0/-0
Re: In praise of the wee nine hole course: Helmsdale now added...
« Reply #54 on: May 22, 2014, 05:26:23 PM »
Great stuff James. I love Helmsdale's 2nd hole, a thinned hook and you're Pro V1 ends up in someones bedroom!

I wonder if Big Jack, no not England's Number 5 in 1966, but the one from Ohio, has fished the river you mention? He's supposed to have been up that way a few times with rod in hand. Actually England's Number 5 from 1966 also has a reputation as a rod in hand man. Great part of the world, and when the gorse is out, wow!

There is a specialist website, which has been mentioned herein a few times, that details all the 9-hole courses in Scotland but I can't locate the site.

Now that you've good reason to head that far north I look forward to seeing equally splendid photo-tours of Wick, Portmahomack and no doubt a few other courses popping up on the screen. And all the better for seeing them too. Just goes to show that golf is alive and kicking in the most rural areas of the UK and it doesn't have to be of the lush, watered grass, groomed rough kind.

I think you need to get yourself a few hickories to use when you play these sort of courses. I reckon it would a wonderful experience, be like a trip back into the history of golf.

Great thread. Keep 'um coming!

:) :)
atb

« Last Edit: May 22, 2014, 05:33:08 PM by Thomas Dai »

Paul Gray

  • Karma: +0/-0
Re: In praise of the wee nine hole course: Helmsdale now added...
« Reply #55 on: May 22, 2014, 06:06:03 PM »
James,

Absolutely fabulous stuff. Nothing much to add but have been following the thread and just wanted to thank you for your efforts.
In the places where golf cuts through pretension and elitism, it thrives and will continue to thrive because the simple virtues of the game and its attendant culture are allowed to be most apparent. - Tim Gavrich

Ulrich Mayring

  • Karma: +0/-0
Re: In praise of the wee nine hole course: Helmsdale now added...
« Reply #56 on: May 22, 2014, 06:09:05 PM »
Wick is an 18 hole course, though. I suppose in 1870 a couple of guys got together and said: "Whoa, these dunes are so high and full of whins, you can't build a golf course there. Good thing we have this nice flat spot of farmland right next to them."

Here's a couple of pics I took of it:

https://picasaweb.google.com/realulim/Wick

Ulrich
Golf Course Exposť (300+ courses reviewed), Golf CV (how I keep track of 'em)

Jon Wiggett

  • Karma: +0/-0
Re: In praise of the wee nine hole course: Helmsdale now added...
« Reply #57 on: May 22, 2014, 06:17:34 PM »
James,

once again a good photo tour. I am glad you managed to follow my recommendation and play here. Helmsdale is not going to blow your socks off but if you have an hour to spare and a few quid burning a hole in your pocket you can do much worse than spend them enjoying a quick game at Helmsdale. With the gorse in bloom you certainly hit it at its most picturesque.

Jon

James Boon

  • Karma: +0/-0
Re: In praise of the wee nine hole course: Helmsdale now added...
« Reply #58 on: May 23, 2014, 03:21:39 AM »
Thanks everyone,

Thomas,

In all honesty the 2nd at Helmsdale doesn't really need a thinned hook to disappear over the back. Its tricky to judge a short shot when the green is a little smaller than you are used to seeing and you may overdo it a little, well at least I did!  ::)

Regarding Scottish nine hole courses in general, I'm sure we've had threads before highlighting them so I will try and find some and add links when I do.

When I was younger we used to holiday in Perthshire near Loch Tay, so I've played, or visited several of the courses around there such as Kenmore, Killin and Strathtay, though my memory for a couple isnt great as I suspect my usual winter visits to those areas meant temporary winter greens! >:(

Plenty more nine holers to play to north of the border and as you can see it also makes the negotiated "couple of rounds of golf" while on holiday, easily increased in number!  ;D

Cheers,

James
2023 Highlights: Hollinwell (Notts), Brora, Aberdovey, Royal St Davids, Woodhall Spa, Broadstone, Parkstone, Cleeve, Painswick, Minchinhampton, Hoylake

"It celebrates the unadulterated pleasure of being in a dialogue with nature while knocking a ball round on foot." Richard Pennell

Jon Wiggett

  • Karma: +0/-0
Re: In praise of the wee nine hole course: Helmsdale now added...
« Reply #59 on: May 23, 2014, 05:22:12 AM »
Wick is an 18 hole course, though. I suppose in 1870 a couple of guys got together and said: "Whoa, these dunes are so high and full of whins, you can't build a golf course there. Good thing we have this nice flat spot of farmland right next to them."

Here's a couple of pics I took of it:

https://picasaweb.google.com/realulim/Wick

Ulrich

Ulrich,

I guess it just shows how tastes differ. I really like Wick and though I agree that the front nine is flat the course as a whole has a great rhythm  to it with the crescendo at the end of the course. I suspect the reason that the dunes where not used as much as they could be because of the bogginess of a lot of that land rather than the characterisation you present. Remember that it would have been built on a shoestring budget by a few people for a few players/members.

Funny that the ninth was my least favourite hole on the course as it looked manufactured and awkward compared to the rest of the course that really does fit its setting. Who knows, maybe the club will find the finances to undertake a well thought incorporation of more of that dune land at some point in the future.

Jon

Ulrich Mayring

  • Karma: +0/-0
Re: In praise of the wee nine hole course: Helmsdale now added...
« Reply #60 on: May 23, 2014, 05:43:25 AM »
When I visited the dunesland looked like perfect terrain for golf, although, as you said, with 1870s budget and "machinery" it was probably not possible to build there. Today I suspect it is too late, as the dunes would surely be protected from development.

Ulrich
Golf Course Exposť (300+ courses reviewed), Golf CV (how I keep track of 'em)

Sean_A

  • Karma: +0/-0
Re: In praise of the wee nine hole course: Helmsdale now added...
« Reply #61 on: June 17, 2015, 04:50:05 AM »
Jon


How is Brahan coming along?


Ciao
New plays planned for 2024: Fraserburgh, Turnberry, Isle of Harris, Benbecula, Askernish, Traigh, Minehead, St Medan, Hankley Common, Ashridge, Gog Magog Old & Cruden Bay St Olaf

Adam Lawrence

  • Karma: +0/-0
Re: In praise of the wee nine hole course: Helmsdale now added...
« Reply #62 on: June 17, 2015, 04:59:10 AM »
My dad and I played the New Galloway nine holer on the way to the Turnberry Open in 2009. Very interesting place. A couple of online sources called it Scotland's best nine hole course, which is what convinced me to give it a go, and if you happen to find yourself somewhere round Dumfries I'd recommend it. Starts in the valley; the first two holes go straight up the hill onto the moor, six nice holes up on top and then the home hole brings you back down. Classic small town stuff with honesty box.
Adam Lawrence

Editor, Golf Course Architecture
www.golfcoursearchitecture.net

Principal, Oxford Golf Consulting
www.oxfordgolfconsulting.com

Author, 'More Enduring Than Brass: a biography of Harry Colt' (forthcoming).

Short words are best, and the old words, when short, are the best of all.

Jon Wiggett

  • Karma: +0/-0
Re: In praise of the wee nine hole course: Helmsdale now added... New
« Reply #63 on: June 17, 2015, 11:43:29 AM »
Jon


How is Brahan coming along?


Ciao

Its coming along well at the moment though could do with a bit of summer weather temperature wise. Out mowing the fairways in full winter gear today. Greens have come along nicely and are filling in well though very quick (for Brahan standards).

We have been pretty quiet so far due to the weather but hopefully this will pick up soon.

Jon
« Last Edit: June 17, 2015, 03:53:17 PM by Jon Wiggett »

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