It was my fourth visit to Scotland and it was little I knew from Loch Lomond, apart from listening once to Andrés “Pigu” Romero saying it was the best course in Scotland and that Eduardo “El Gato” Romero had won the Scottish Open there in 2002 after an extraordinary performance. At that moment I was not involved in the golf industry and just remember the highlights of his victory.
Once I knew the trip to Scotland was going to happen and there was a chance, I made the try just for myself as I was going to be one day alone and knowing how tough it was it looked like the best chance to experience it but luck was on our side and the 12 of us, Members at Golf Club Argentino, were accepted to play on Tuesday May 30th after a 2hrs drive from St Andrews.
It rained all the way and when we arrived it continued raining, at a point where we decided to have lunch instead of warming up. Once you arrive the car is taken by the crew, your clubs are labelled and you start to understand how exclusive this place is with just 600 members from all over the world. The Club House is an old castle from more than 200 years ago but inside there is charm and luxury everywhere. The Locker room is so good and special, I believe it is very close to Seminole and the top golf experiences in the world. What to say about the lunch? Quality at the highest level, variety of dishes and desserts, waiters extremely kind and patient. It is part of the experience to use the restaurant!
Rain continued but the started calmed us and said “on 2nd tee sun will come and stay the whole afternoon”. We were the first group and he was 100% accurate, after hitting the tee shot on 2nd hole the rain went and never came back. And this gave us the chance to experience one of the best courses in the world, for sure a World Top 100. This course is not less than many famed course where the main reason of being highly ranked is having hosted a big event. Is this course less than Pebble Beach? No. Is it better than Valderrama? If not, it is a tie at least! Sunningdale Old? Give me 3 weeks and I will tell you. What I am just saying is it is unfair not to have Loch Lomond in the World Top 100, not only because of the greatness of the course but also because of how good the experience is. I am serious when I say I can count with one hand the Club Houses that inspire more than this one. And I have been lucky to play some of the best in the world.
What to say about the course? We played it in magnificent condition, greens rolling pretty fast after that heavy rain where wet rough was extremely penalizing. And the views of the lake, hills and native areas are so good!!! Yes, it is a parkland in the land of links golf, but this one is bloody good!
There are some extraordinary holes: par 5 3rd slight dog leg left with the second shot facing the lake with a small pond in front, par 3 5th facing the lake with a native area almost from tee to green, par 5 6th hole is maybe the nicest parallel to the lake, dog leg right par 4 7th again riding with the lake, par 4 10th with water on the left and a stream crossing the fairway at 250yds, 12th might not be the nicest but that green design falling to the right is one of the best artworks I have ever seen. 14th is that one hole it looks like forced as it was designed, but it was fun (and my only birdie!), par 5 16th emulating Augusta National’s 15th hole is seriously good before another great finishing stretch with par 3 17th with lake on the left and native area in front of the green and a great par 4 on 18th with tee shot having to carry the water and second shot facing the exclusive lodge beside the Club House. If maybe some more golfers would know about it, Loch Lomond should have an even higher reputation.
My regret is having played the worst round of golf in 10 years at least, in part for a strong stomach pain and little rest caused by that sleepless night for my friends to play the Old Course at St Andrews. I think I haven’t made one really good contact all day, just that sole birdie on 14th in part because of a great bunker shot after almost hitting the green. Is it possible to still enjoy the round? Of course! I did, already on 3rd hole I knew my game was not there so I dedicated the time to walk, admire, take pictures and try my best. We played a match play and after being 6 down on 10th tee, my putt for birdie on 16th went all around the whole for tying the match and then lost on 17th 2&1.
After that we maybe had the best end of the day: a 30mins shower, some pints and drinks watching Roland Garros in the locker room and a magnificent dinner (I seriously recommend the duck) with my 11 lifetime friends to end of the golf experiences of my life. If the chance passes near you, tackle it as a British & Irish Lion does and go play it. It is an unforgettable round of golf and experience.
Date: June 29, 2017