Old Sawmill, Dalmally, Argyll, Scotland, PA33 1AE 01838 200619 07867318583
Par 3 White 162 Yellow 137 Red 162
SI 15 (all tees)
Perfect mix of length and challenge to get all levels of ability into their round at Dalmally.
From the elevated tee, it will probably be a short iron for the more accomplished golfer who may be eyeing a high fade or draw into the well guarded green. Something longer for others however, with a good strategy being to make use of the landing area in front of the green to bump their ball on.
Whatever the standard of golfer, good club selection and judgement here is of paramount importance - a deep faced bunker lurks on the left, and the River Orchy immediately to the rear of the green will force those with that first tee adrenalin surge into playing three for starters.
Two bunkers on the left are cunningly placed about 220yds from the whites to catch seemingly perfectly played tee shots. Therefore strategy is of great importance - a shot played left of the fairway is often the safest and will leave around 130yds into the small target, guarded by a couple of close set bunkers.
However the favoured shot off the tee for more experienced right handers will be a controlled fade, starting out left where there is very little trouble and moving back onto the narrow fairway, perfect for a full view of the green. The more ambitious will perhaps try the alternative route over the trees to steal a few yards - but beware the ever brooding River Orchy, not shown on the map but prowling amongst the woods - the death knell at this hole of many a lower handicapper. One such soul started his round with a hole in one and followed up here with a score of 9.
Par 4 White 351 Yellow 336 Red 343
SI 5 (white/yellow) SI 2 (red)
No advice is good enough at the signature Par 3 'Orchy Splash'. The river's jaws are open. Hungry. Waiting.
On a calm day, you might fancy shaping a mid-iron left to right onto the green. Too far right and it is away. Go the opposite way and you have a cavernous green side bunker to manipulate the ball over. Then when the wind blows, directly head on invariably, you might think of clubbing down and hitting a low 'punch'. Not enough on it? It's in the drink. Too long? The green is elevated on the way back, flag out of sight - and on a down slope.
So calm down, take a deep breath and remember - this is what you are here for. And after all, you could go round the safe side.
Families - bring a few old balls and let the kids go for it!
Par 3 White 175 Yellow 159 Red 173
SI 13 (white/yellow) SI 5 (red)
Par 4 White 298 Yellow 281 Red 297
SI 3 (white/yellow) SI 10 (red)
Although a short par 4, this hole is often selected for the longest drive prize at gents opens, placing the premium on accuracy off the tee due to a narrowing of the fairway 100 yards in.
The tee shot favours the left to right shot maker, but risk takers have been known to take on the green thus bringing trees, rough and the Orchy on the right (out of sight on the map) into play.
However for most golfers, a straight hit aimed for just left of the yardage post shouldn't go wrong. Landing around there will give you full sight of the two tier green and a nice approach in. Either land your ball short and roll it on or hit high and land it plumb. Then wait while your risk taking partner has a hunt for their ball which may have landed agonisingly close to the green - but in amongst all sorts of horrors.
Par 3 White 135 Yellow 122 Red 134
SI 17 (white/yellow SI 13 (red)
The furthest point on the course, and an ideal spot if you are playing as a family to take a break and enjoy mid-round snacks on the picnic bench that sits by the tee.
You will notice the free flowing Orchy behind you; what you won't see standing on the tee is the other side of the river's personality - a tranquil, lazy pond formed rather inconveniently in front of the green. So let the kids lay up thus testing their short game with a chip over the water. Then the adults can play target golf - for there is no other way to attack the green other than pick your best 130yd club and go for it !
If you can shape your shots then start out right as there is plenty of room here if you miss - not so on the left where a narrow stream and rough awaits an errant shot.
Par 4 White 280 Yellow 265 Red 268
SI 7 (all tees)
Another short Par 4 but many a golfer's favourite on the course whatever teeing ground being played.
This is because it really has everything. A testing hole if you are looking to score but also a nice length for the whole family to enjoy.
A generous fairway is the reward if the pond (very much in play off the elevated white tee, shown in the photo), trees to the right and obstructive growth to the left can be negotiated off the tee.
The approach shot has to be accurate to avoid the three closely set bunkers either side of the green. And to complete the picture, dare you attempt to drive the green, a ditch at the foot of a gentle downslope in front of the target protects the hole against such audacity.