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Sean_A

  • Karma: +0/-0
Winter Tour 2023-24: Galloping Round GATEHOUSE GC
« on: April 07, 2024, 03:14:08 PM »


Dumfries & Galloway isnít the first area one thinks of when Scottish golf is the subject. Yet there are some courses of quality to be found. One little known example is the nine-hole Gatehouse GC, nestled on high ground in the Fleet Valley. The initial plan for this trip didnít include Gatehouse, but circumstances, strong recommendations from a few GCA brethren and the happy coincidence of seeing a sign for the town while driving on the A75 made the decision to stop an easy one. Sadly, I know very little about the history or the design of the course. Gatehouse was officially opened in 1922 and the land was purchased by the club in 1988 for £15,000. In the same year the 2nd green was moved to its present site, making the hole longer; a new green was built some 10 years later. Consequently, the 3rd tee was pushed back making that hole longer. 

The unassuming arrival and clubhouse are typical of small town golf in Scotland.




The modest card too reflects the glories of 9 hole golf.


The opener comes a shock. 200 plus yards straight uphill. 


The green is a laughable size for the task at hand.


A photo of the 1st green and now 2nd tee from the 1920s. The green looks small, but perhaps a bit more natural. Trees are sparse!


A double blind hole, the 2nd is a roller coaster ride. Well beyond the tee ground.


The approach well beyond the driving zone for most.


Play is from the right. Trouble on three sides of the green!


More to follow.

Ciao
« Last Edit: April 17, 2024, 07:53:51 AM by Sean_A »
New plays planned for 2024: Fraserburgh, Hankley Common, Ashridge, Gog Magog Old & Cruden Bay St Olaf

Niall C

  • Karma: +0/-0
Re: Winter Tour 2023-24: Galloping Around GATEHOUSE GC 1-2
« Reply #1 on: April 07, 2024, 03:35:32 PM »
Sean


I made enquiries with the club about who designed the course having found at least one website credit Willie Fernie. They advised they didn't know and didn't have any records. There is a photo in the clubhouse with a photo of Willie's son Tom playing at the opening of the course. Tom designed a few courses in his own right so if I was a betting man I'd suggest that either him or his father did the initial layout.


Niall

Thomas Dai

  • Karma: +0/-0
Re: Winter Tour 2023-24: Galloping Around GATEHOUSE GC 1-2
« Reply #2 on: April 08, 2024, 03:41:57 AM »
Looks pretty cool. Could be Mid-Wales.
atb

Sean_A

  • Karma: +0/-0
Re: Winter Tour 2023-24: Galloping Round GATEHOUSE GC 1-2
« Reply #3 on: April 08, 2024, 07:58:09 PM »
Gatehouse Tour Cont

The blind theme continues for the 3rd, a short par 4. Big hitters can have a go at the green.


A bit of a roller coaster, the 4th is a fairly short two-shotter, but I would think in summer its easy for drives to slide left down the hill.


Both the drive and approach were blind for me. Looking toward the tee.


The drop-shot 5th is the only hole which is remotely lifeless. Onto the man-size 6th. Rumbling uphill over bouncing terrain, this three-shotter is the real deal. The hard sloping to the right green is tucked under the fairway and is a tough target even with wedge in hand.


More to follow.

Ciao
New plays planned for 2024: Fraserburgh, Hankley Common, Ashridge, Gog Magog Old & Cruden Bay St Olaf

Tony_Muldoon

  • Karma: +0/-0
Re: Winter Tour 2023-24: Galloping Round GATEHOUSE GC 1-6
« Reply #4 on: April 09, 2024, 03:33:32 AM »
Just waiting for your next post...bet you took the same option we did?


Despite it being cl
old, wet and windy "the triple threat", I had a ball.  The terrain is wonderfully used and in the wettest winter in living memory it played beautifully. The really small greens were tiny targets,  but then disappointingly flat considering where they'd been constructed. So it doesn't make my top 5 9 holers in Scotland, but it's in the next group. Nevertheless a fine detour and it added flavour to my recent trip.


The club boasts it offers fine views all the way to the Isle of Man, I hope to return on a day where you can see past the car park.
Let's make GCA grate again!

Niall C

  • Karma: +0/-0
Re: Winter Tour 2023-24: Galloping Round GATEHOUSE GC 1-6
« Reply #5 on: April 09, 2024, 08:30:28 AM »

Sean,


The third was one of my favourite holes. I enjoyed it more than the 4th, mainly because of the green. I was hoping that you had a view from behind the 3rd green as it looks as though it would be a lot of fun to play from that direction.


Niall



Niall C

  • Karma: +0/-0
Re: Winter Tour 2023-24: Galloping Round GATEHOUSE GC 1-6
« Reply #6 on: April 09, 2024, 08:36:26 AM »
The terrain is wonderfully used and in the wettest winter in living memory it played beautifully. The really small greens were tiny targets,  but then disappointingly flat considering where they'd been constructed.


Tony


I think you're probably being slightly harsh in terms of contour at GoF. Go back on a nice summers day with the greens freshly cut and I think you'd see a bit more movement. That said, in a general sense your criticism could be levelled (no pun intended) at a lot of Scottish courses of the golden age era.


Niall 

Sean_A

  • Karma: +0/-0
Re: Winter Tour 2023-24: Galloping Round GATEHOUSE GC 1-6
« Reply #7 on: April 17, 2024, 07:53:39 AM »
Sorry Niall, no rear pic of the 3rd.

GATEHOUSE TOUR CONT

A long walk from 6 green to 7 tee messes up the rhythm of the course a bit. There is a closer forward tee  which I think may be abandoned. If not, the marker post is in the wrong spot for what would be a short hole. As it is, the 7th is about 275 yards legging a bit left down the hill.  The bunkers and green are blind from the tee.


The fairway funnels left to the green which also moves strongly to the left.


Now then, the 8th....


it might just be an All-Scotland candidate. That said, I am not sure how anyone's grandmother plays the hole. At 185 yards. this is a formidable par three.


The green looks small from the tee because it is small...and sloping. This view from the 9th tee allows us hindsight...the tee shot should err to the left (right in this photo).


The home hole plays straight down the hill we climbed on the 1st. It must be a different experience when the course is keen, but that can be said for the entire course.




I happen to notice the Google Review notice on the way to the parking lot. That review is simple. Gatehouse shoots straight into my Nifty 50. It is rarely the case that an indifferent hole or two is absent from the village 9 holer experience. Not only does Gatehouse lack any such disappointment, but it can boast of seven good holes, at least one great hole (possibly an All Scotland candidate) and for those who don't often enjoy drop-shot holes, one hole which is decent.  I encourage all who are making their way to Glasgow, Turnberry or environs further north to stop by for a game. 1*  2024.


Previous Stops on the 2023-24 Winter Tour

Cleeve Hill
https://www.golfclubatlas.com/forum/index.php/topic,49796.0.html

Huntercombe
https://www.golfclubatlas.com/forum/index.php/topic,32228.0.html

Minehead
https://www.golfclubatlas.com/forum/index.php/topic,72699.0.html

Westward Ho!
https://www.golfclubatlas.com/forum/index.php/topic,66480.0.html

Notts
https://www.golfclubatlas.com/forum/index.php/topic,33988.0.html

Goswick
https://www.golfclubatlas.com/forum/index.php/topic,64104.0.html

Kilspindie
https://www.golfclubatlas.com/forum/index.php/topic,66109.msg1581740.html#msg1581740

North Berwick
https://www.golfclubatlas.com/forum/index.php/topic,59363.0.html

Renaissance
https://www.golfclubatlas.com/forum/index.php/topic,58937.0.html

Planned 2023-24 Winter Tour Stops

St Medans
Turnberry
Askernish
Benbecula
IoH
Traigh
Aberdovey

Ciao
« Last Edit: April 23, 2024, 03:47:23 AM by Sean_A »
New plays planned for 2024: Fraserburgh, Hankley Common, Ashridge, Gog Magog Old & Cruden Bay St Olaf

Simon Barrington

  • Karma: +0/-0
Re: Winter Tour 2023-24: Galloping Round GATEHOUSE GC
« Reply #8 on: April 17, 2024, 05:30:15 PM »
Hi Sean,

Great photos and review, as ever.

Gatehouse of Fleet was designed by Tom Fernie.

In August 1928 James Braid was paid the sum of £12-0-0 and expenses of £3-10-0.

The exact details of what he did to earn that payment are not clear as Club records are unfortunately absent.

But, it is an amount consistent with payments around that time for his remodelling of an entire 18 hole course.
So, it must have been some significant work on a 9-Hole layout.

If I find more about his engagement and work there I'll let you know

Cheers
« Last Edit: April 17, 2024, 05:57:59 PM by Simon Barrington »

Niall C

  • Karma: +0/-0
Re: Winter Tour 2023-24: Galloping Round GATEHOUSE GC
« Reply #9 on: April 18, 2024, 07:02:35 AM »
Simon


Can I ask where you got the Tom Fernie original design attribution ?


Niall

Niall C

  • Karma: +0/-0
Re: Winter Tour 2023-24: Galloping Round GATEHOUSE GC
« Reply #10 on: April 18, 2024, 07:07:05 AM »
Sean


Re the 8th, the granny route has to be to go up the left to avoid the chasm in front of the green. I played that way inadvertently when I pulled my tee shot and the ball came back round towards the green. It didn't quite make it all the way but was close.


Niall

Simon Barrington

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Re: Winter Tour 2023-24: Galloping Round GATEHOUSE GC
« Reply #11 on: April 18, 2024, 07:37:33 AM »
Simon
Can I ask where you got the Tom Fernie original design attribution ?
Niall
Hello Niall
From George Payne's Magnus Opus on Braid
There is a question on the Braid involvement (despite payments made) which I am checking into further
Cheers

Niall C

  • Karma: +0/-0
Re: Winter Tour 2023-24: Galloping Round GATEHOUSE GC
« Reply #12 on: April 18, 2024, 09:02:15 AM »
Simon


A kind friend gave me a loan of all three volumes of the Braid "book" but I eventually had to hand them back because they were taking up too much room in the house ! Interestingly there is no mention of Gatehouse in the 400 courses book.


However I'm less interested in Braid's involvement and more interested in Fernie's. The club have no records for who laid out the original course and apart from the picture in the clubhouse with Tom playing at the opening, the Golfpass website credits Willie while the golfvoucher website credits Tom. However through my various trawls of newspapers/mags of the time I haven't found any mention of the designer at all.


If you know where George Payne got the Fernie information from I'd be interested to hear.


Niall 

Thomas Dai

  • Karma: +0/-0
Re: Winter Tour 2023-24: Galloping Round GATEHOUSE GC
« Reply #13 on: April 18, 2024, 01:33:32 PM »
Courses like this are the essence of golf. Long may they continue to exist.
Atb

Simon Barrington

  • Karma: +0/-0
Re: Winter Tour 2023-24: Galloping Round GATEHOUSE GC
« Reply #14 on: April 19, 2024, 12:17:44 PM »
Simon

A kind friend gave me a loan of all three volumes of the Braid "book" but I eventually had to hand them back because they were taking up too much room in the house ! Interestingly there is no mention of Gatehouse in the 400 courses book.

However I'm less interested in Braid's involvement and more interested in Fernie's. The club have no records for who laid out the original course and apart from the picture in the clubhouse with Tom playing at the opening, the Golfpass website credits Willie while the golfvoucher website credits Tom. However through my various trawls of newspapers/mags of the time I haven't found any mention of the designer at all.

If you know where George Payne got the Fernie information from I'd be interested to hear.

Niall
The "Divine Fury of James Braid" (George Payne) Book is a genuine tour de force of research and patience, combined with access to Braid's personal ledgers, letters and diaries. The sheer quantum of work Braid did over c.50yrs on 550+ courses makes it an enormous tome in 3 volumes. So no surprise it takes up some room...but in my view it's worth the space on any (strengthened) bookshelf.

Although IMHO the one that really should be on any serious GCA bookshelf is "Advanced Golf" James Braid - 1908.
Remarkably few have read it and it has genuinely innovative ideas and inspiration inside its two chapters on design.
It was ahead of its time in many ways, and is often misrepresented in summaries.

I know you care less (than I do) about Braid!  ;D  Each to their own...

The information on Tom Fernie (Troon) as designer is apparently from the Club`s Centenary Book which contains the photo of him and others at the opening of the course. Probably the one you have seen in the Cubhouse?

Not sure how accurate "GolfPass" is tbh

Cheers
« Last Edit: April 19, 2024, 12:19:55 PM by Simon Barrington »

Niall C

  • Karma: +0/-0
Re: Winter Tour 2023-24: Galloping Round GATEHOUSE GC
« Reply #15 on: April 19, 2024, 04:44:44 PM »
Simon


I contacted the club secretary late last year and asked about any Fernie connection and he had a look through the Centenary book but couldn't find anything.


Niall

Simon Barrington

  • Karma: +0/-0
Re: Winter Tour 2023-24: Galloping Round GATEHOUSE GC
« Reply #16 on: April 19, 2024, 05:08:00 PM »
Simon

I contacted the club secretary late last year and asked about any Fernie connection and he had a look through the Centenary book but couldn't find anything.

Niall
Don't shoot the messenger...
The picture seeems to be the only apparent evidence (and I am told that is in the Centenary book)


Niall C

  • Karma: +0/-0
Re: Winter Tour 2023-24: Galloping Round GATEHOUSE GC
« Reply #17 on: April 23, 2024, 06:53:31 AM »
Simon


Not looking to shoot anyone but keen to find out where the info came from since the club secretary advised the info wasn't in the Centenary book (I haven't seen the book). Its possible that the writer had the info but didn't include it in the book which seems unlikely, or it may be George Payne made the assumption, if so keen to find out if that was the case.


Niall

Andrew Slane

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Re: Winter Tour 2023-24: Galloping Round GATEHOUSE GC
« Reply #18 on: April 25, 2024, 07:07:44 AM »
Many happy rounds here in my youth whilst on holiday, before the architecture bug struck. I do recall some wonderful views in good weather and always enjoyed the "hike" element. The greens were tiny & a real defence, looks like that hasn't changed - good to see!

Sean_A

  • Karma: +0/-0
Re: Winter Tour 2023-24: Galloping Round GATEHOUSE GC
« Reply #19 on: April 25, 2024, 07:07:35 PM »
Many happy rounds here in my youth whilst on holiday, before the architecture bug struck. I do recall some wonderful views in good weather and always enjoyed the "hike" element. The greens were tiny & a real defence, looks like that hasn't changed - good to see!

Hey Andrew, has the routing changed since you were a kid?

Ciao
New plays planned for 2024: Fraserburgh, Hankley Common, Ashridge, Gog Magog Old & Cruden Bay St Olaf

Andrew Slane

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Re: Winter Tour 2023-24: Galloping Round GATEHOUSE GC
« Reply #20 on: April 28, 2024, 11:39:38 AM »
Hi Sean,


I don't think the routing has changed since the days of yore, which would have been the early-to-mid 90s ... I see the 1st remains the hardest opener I have played! No gentle handshake at Gatehouse. I always enjoyed the par 5. I'll be back in the area later in the year and will make a point of playing this again & will report back.

John Mayhugh

  • Karma: +0/-0
Re: Winter Tour 2023-24: Galloping Round GATEHOUSE GC
« Reply #21 on: April 30, 2024, 11:27:26 AM »
Just when you think you've seen it all....
Thanks for this tour. Love the way the land was used to create an adventure. The 8th - that one I really do need to see for myself.

Sean_A

  • Karma: +0/-0
Re: Winter Tour 2023-24: Galloping Round GATEHOUSE GC
« Reply #22 on: May 06, 2024, 04:19:09 AM »
Hi Sean,

I don't think the routing has changed since the days of yore, which would have been the early-to-mid 90s ... I see the 1st remains the hardest opener I have played! No gentle handshake at Gatehouse. I always enjoyed the par 5. I'll be back in the area later in the year and will make a point of playing this again & will report back.

Cheers Andrew.

Tucky, Gatehouse is right up yer street.

Ciao
New plays planned for 2024: Fraserburgh, Hankley Common, Ashridge, Gog Magog Old & Cruden Bay St Olaf

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