Dumfries & Galloway Golf Club was established in 1890, moving four years after its formation from Kingholm to Summerhill, where the Troon professional Willie Fernie (winner of the Open at Musselburgh in 1883) set out a new 9-hole course for the members on a compact 36-acre tract of land.
In the mid-1930s, additional land became available to expand the layout to an 18-hole course and this new configuration remained intact until 1994, when a couple of fields were acquired from a local farmer, enabling the par three 9th to be extended to a par four and the old par three 15th to be replaced with a new par four 10th.The modern day layout now measures 6,222 yard from the medal tees. Featuring four par threes and only two par fives on the card (at holes 2 and 5), the course plays to a par of 70 and a standard scratch score of 71, with the newer nine holes set out between the 8th and 16th, across the A780 Castle Douglas Road, on the south side of the property.
I don’t know why I didn’t post for Dumfries & Galloway when I played here in 2014 as I wrote a review for nearby Dumfries & County, which I played the same day. When I found out D&G was still on my “outstanding” review list, I decided to go back in October and have another look to refresh my memory.
Holes are divided across two distinct parcels of land within a compact, 100-acre site: the 1st to 7th plus the 17th and 18th to the north of the A780 Castle Douglas Road, with the others on the south side of the highway, so I have to imagine these holes (8 to 16) comprise the newer nine that was added before World War II.
First impressions aren’t that great when leaving the clubhouse to find holes 1 and 18 sitting side by side on fairly flat terrain (and parallel fairways occur again at holes 2-3, 5-7, 9-10 and 11-12 though, in fairness, they’re pretty well separated on those other four occasions) but there’s lovely, rolling movement in the land from the 1st onward and there’s hardly a level piece of ground to be found (apart from on the tee boxes) until you arrive back at the last hole.
I thought the downhill par three 4th was the best hole on the front nine, but I didn’t get to play either the 9th or 10th as they’re taken out of play in the winter due to soggy underfoot conditions down by Cargen Water as it heads south towards the River Nith. On the back nine, I thought the uphill 12th was a mighty par four, played to a 2-tiered green located on top of a ridge.
Mention should also be made of the 358-yard 16th, with the fairway routed across some 19th century raised earth works that are said to be part of an old oval cycle track, making this one of the most unusual par four holes you’ll ever play.
If you prefer to play the game on good quality parkland layouts then Dumfries & Galloway will not disappoint in any way whatsoever. Better still, if you can secure a same-day tee time at Dumfries & County then you have an excellent 36-hole option at venues located less than a ten-minute drive from one another.
The 'Galloway' is an excellent course and always in good condition. Some tough par 3s. Club motto is straight and true but if you can't do that then keeping to the left on most holes is the thing to do.