It was a sunny, autumnal morning when we rolled up at Strathaven to be warmly greeted in the car park by one of the members. Recognising that we were visitors, he wished us a good game and his parting shot was “the course is in great condition, you will love it”. He wasn’t wrong.
As we made our way to the first tee I was struck by the conditioning of the practice putting green - it was immaculate - and I commented to my playing partner that if the real greens were as good as this then we were in for a treat. The 1st hole is a tree-lined dogleg par four, culminating at a slightly raised green. As I suspected, the putting surface was pristine, a theme that continued for the remainder of the round. The second is a testing long par three - again, slightly raised - and guarded by two bunkers The 3rd is a another tree-lined affair and you start to realise that the trees are a major factor at Strathaven, acting not only as a deterrent for wayward shots but also to frame fairways and offer shelter and seclusion from other holes. The 4th, a short par four and the 8th, a par five, are both protected by ditches and these were the pick of the outward half for me, though I wouldn’t class any of the holes as weak.
The back nine shows no let-up in quality with the stretch of holes between 12- 14 and 16-18 being the stand outs. Like other reviewers I have to single out the lovely 13th as the best hole on the course; the second shot over the burn enough to test anyone’s ability and nerve. I also saw something a couple of holes later that I’d never encountered before: the pole on the par three 15th flag stick doubles as a ruler for measuring distances from the hole in nearest the pin competitions – a nice touch.
I love my nomadic golfing lifestyle as I get to play different courses and meet nice people and if I ever have to stop travelling and join a club to play most weeks I would like it to have a course like Strathaven, which is challenging but not overly punishing, immaculate in presentation and with friendly and accommodating members and staff. MPPJ
Date: February 02, 2021