Bonnyton’s a great little moorland track, perched high above Glasgow on the south side of the city. It’s one of a very select number of Scottish layouts designed by Alister MacKenzie and I’m glad to see the provenance of the course is now properly recognized on the club’s website – when I first looked at this place a decade ago, nobody at Bonnyton appeared to appreciate its marketing potential.
I played there the other day, more than six years after my last visit, and was taken aback by the ongoing tree clearance program that’s currently under way on the course. More than five thousand trees have been removed from a few concentrated areas around the opening holes but there are plenty more still to be dealt with and I hope the work continues as intended in the winters ahead.
At just over 6,200 yards from the medal tees, Bonnyton’s not the longest track you’ll ever play but a handful of new tees have just been installed (allowing a course with a standard scratch of 71 against a par of 71) to keep the more talented members honest. Only one of the par four holes measure in excess of 400 yards so golfers can easily get around a very undulating course without feeling it’s a slog.
The four par three holes are all terrific – even if they all play slightly uphill – though some may criticize these holes for not being long enough. What I liked most about them was that the degree of difficulty increased with each one played, though a stroke index of 2 for the last one, the 174-yard 14th, did seem a touch excessive.
I’ve just checked that clubs currently ranked above Bonnyton in the Renfrewshire chart are charging the casual golfer quite a bit more for a round of golf so the green fee being charged represents really good value in the area right now. I only hope once the tree felling has stopped, the club will then turn its attention to restoring its bunkers to the style that the course architect was famous for.
Date: June 23, 2018