97. Blair Atholl. 7th July 2019.

Nine hole course to boost your confidence

Round £15.   Par 35.  Value (out of 5) – 3.5

If web searching for Blair Atholl golf club, don’t confuse this Perthshire course with the Blair Atholl Estate golf course in South Africa, built by Gary Player, and a monster of some 8300 yards – yes, that was correct, 8300 yards!

The 438 yard par 4 opening hole at Blair Atholl

Gary Player’s estate actually takes its name from the original Blair Atholl, which is just off the A9 and, since 2008, included within the boundary of the Cairngorms National Park. The original Blair Atholl is also home to a lovely little 9 hole course, which is an easy walking affair of around 3000 yards, or 6000 yards for the 18 holes, not short by any means.

Given its Highland location this course is soft underfoot and was very green during the July time I played here. Surrounded by tranquil ‘highland’ scenery this must be very beautiful to play during the Autumn.

The very short 4th hole at Blair Atholl, at only 96 yards, but well bunkered

With the rough being quite receptive and not too penalising, this is a course which can yield good results – the greens were also receptive and very true. I can well understand why this is a well played course by the tourist community – especially given the restaurant “The Tulach” in the small clubhouse, which also attracts non golfers as well.

The course was established in 1896, and mysteriously on some web sites, is cited as being designed by James Braid, but I’m afraid it does not appear on the list of James Braid courses as kept by the James Braid society. I would appreciate if anyone can advise on the architect.

The course was in good condition when I played, and in particular the teeing grounds had been well prepared.

The tricky approach shot over water at the Stoke Index 1, par 4, 7th hole.

After a long par 4 to open, but played ‘down’ from a plateaued tee next to the clubhouse, the next 4 holes, all relatively short, are where the score is gained on this course. If you avoid the water hazards, which are in play on 3 holes and you should play short off the tee, most notably at the 7th (par 4 SI 1), then this course can be a good opportunity to boost your confidence. After the 7th, with the second shot being over water, the par 5 9th hole also needs great care with the second or 3rd shot (depending on your strategy) needing to avoid some mature trees. Also double check the whereabouts of the pin on the 9th, which shares a double green with the 3rd.

The demanding par 5 9th at Blair Atholl

I indeed kept out of the water hazards and my round of 42, for 20 stableford points, was my best play all season.

This is a nice course and worth playing

Facts:

Course Type: Parkland

Par 35 (1 par 5, 6 par 4s, 2 par 3s)

Distance: 2739

Moly’s Gross score: 42

Moly’s scorecard, 7 over par 42, for 20 points.

About Moly McMillan

Moly McMillan lives in Broughty Ferry on the east coast of Scotland. He is a self employed business consultant and devotes some of his time to achieving his life long ambition - to play every golf hole in Scotland, every single one!
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