Drumpellier Golf Club started out in 1894 as a sporting club within Gartsherrie Church, in the east end of Glasgow. When problems arose with the lease on the original course, the club moved out to the Drumpellier Estate in nearby Coatbridge, where Willie Fernie designed a 9-hole layout for the members.
According to the book James Braid and his Four Hundred Golf Courses by John F. Moreton & Iain Cumming, “By 1912, eighteen holes were in play, the newer nine, eight of them, 7 to 14, being approached through a wood and being referred to as the western half.”
The book continues: “After World War I a few holes were realigned, some tees changed, a new green made… In 1923, Braid was there, specifically to bunker the newer nine… He was back in May 1936, to design the present 12th and 13th holes, carved out from woodland.”The modern day course now measures just under 6,300 yards from the tips, playing to a par of 71. Feature holes include “Colonel Buchanan,” the right doglegged par four 3rd and “Quarry,” the heavily bunkered par three 5th. On the back nine, short par fours at holes 10 and 17 (“Campsie View” and “Kittle Kirk”) might, with a little care, yield a birdie or two.
I really enjoyed my return visit to Drumpellier, almost exactly ten years since I was last here. The first three holes are laid out on rolling terrain and each of them doglegs right to some extent, leaving approach shots to the green that are all played uphill from the fairway. The par four 5th heads straight downhill to a green that runs away from front to back – Lord knows how you’re meant to hit and hold this putting surface when the course is not nearly as damp underfoot as it was yesterday!
Holes 8 to 16 are situated across a lane on land used to extend the course from its original 9-hole set up. The par five 9th is a strong hole, well bunkered on the right of the fairway approaching the green, but I wasn’t impressed at all with the hole immediately after it, where the pin position is marked on a board at the tee box to allow big hitters to go for the green with their totally blind tee shot.
The sequence from 11 to 16 is excellent, with the uphill 12th and downhill 14th totally different types of par threes, but both are terrific short holes in their own right. I loved the ditch that runs diagonally across the fairway at the 16th, seriously threatening underplayed tee shots and this is the last hole across the lane before the routing returns to where holes 1 to 7 are situated. The short par four 17th appears benign but its 2-tier green (like the one on the 2nd) is definite three-putt territory whilst the fairway on the sharply doglegging 18th tapers in dangerously close by the side of the clubhouse to the home green, ending the round with a final flourish.
Drumpellier now sits comfortably at number 4 in the current district rankings and I think that assessment’s about right for a very decent track that’s well worth a visit.