I am most definitely not a golfer. I may have had lessons some twelve or so years ago but I have never ventured out of the driving range. The Dude on the other hand loves it and has enjoyed learning a new discipline in sport. What started as me buying him lessons with a PGA professional so he could go “on tour” with the boys from the pub has actually turned into a love affair. He has been itching to get out and play since we got here but the weather hasn’t exactly been on his side. So yesterday with the beautiful blue skies we decided to try out King James VI golf course on Moncreiffe island in Perth.
Yes, you read that correctly, a golf course on an island in the middle of the river Tay. It has been here since 1897 and orignally designed by “Old” Tom Morris, professional golfer and green keeper of St Andrews. I am sure he will have been turning in his grave to have known that during the end of 2015 most of the island will have been under water! A green keepers nightmare.
We parked on Shore Road car park and crossed the road to the rail bridge that crosses that the river. This in itself gives a great view toward North Inch and the Queens Bridge. A small set of steps allows us onto the island and a path that takes us alongside the allotments (which were a hive of activity) toward the clubhouse.
There were people working away around the clubhouse, making repairs after the floods and just general spring cleaning. We were greeted by a gentleman who apologised for the “mess” and gave Dude a brief explanation of the holes and a score card.
Now, like I said the golf clubs haven’t been shown any of Scotland’s courses yet so there was a bit of pressure and trepidation about this first tee. Pressure from himself I might add, not me. First swing and the ball went skimming across the ground for about 150 yards. Already from the first tee we could tell that the ground was still soft. Some more warm Spring days like this will really help the fairways but for now, we tread carefully.
One of the reasons I enjoy trailing around some golf courses with my Dude is that they can be really pretty and full of wildlife and Moncreiffe island was not exception.
The very well established lines of trees, although obstacles for golfers, are home to many birds and insects. Because of the picturesque river location we also saw oyster catchers and herons too. Fabulous views of both Kinnoull hill and Moncreiffe hill from the 11th hole and the far holes and although there is the constant low rumbling of traffic across the M90 you don’t really notice it.
Where the tree lines are wider and the ground does not get to see any sun light it is still very wet but it isn’t surprising at all considering the rain and floods. This did mean that shots that would have normally rolled further once landing, didn’t.
There are bunkers a plenty, a ditch and a couple of places where you can’t even see the bottom of the pin but aim, shoot and pray to the golf Gods that you don’t lose your ball – so I am told!
There were groups, pairs and lone players out making the best of the weather and the usual etiquette of letting players pass was extended to us by ladies who were “warming up for the season.”
I am pleased to report that the tee’ing off and shots to the green did get better. Note to the green keeper – all divots (there weren’t many) were replaced so you won’t be finding extra bunkers! Dude wore his tame golf attire and decided to save the loud trousers for another day!
The golfer Dude says “I enjoyed playing the flatter course of King James VI golf course. That’s not to say it doesn’t come with it’s own challenges because it is one of the flatter courses I have played. It is great to see work being done to the greens and fairways for the up coming season. Playing on this island course is quite an experience and getting your clubs down here is not for the faint hearted but well worth it but I look forward to playing it again.”
As you can read we both had a great time at King James VI golf, Perth and for totally different reasons! Whoever said that golf ruins a good walk was obviously not a photographer or a lover of golf (yes I know that’s obvious!). If you have any suggestions of where else to play in or near Perth please let me know.