#15: Strathtay Golf Club: Pure, Dead Brilliant!
Strathtay Golf Club was recommended to me in June by the group of ladies who work for Perth Council measuring all the golf courses to ensure their accuracy. (Now, there is a job I could do!) When we met them at St. Fillians, they made me promise to get to Strathtay, and I am so glad I did. It's just delightful: quirky and fun.
Strathtay is a wee course a few miles from Aberfeldy, tucked deep in the glens. While its not hidden, it is definitely a course you have to want to find.
Here is the view down the first hole, with the flag only just visible in the mist.
I had read up about it, and knew that they have a green keeping staff of one, and his name is ‘Bongo.’ So I was pleased to meet him on this misty morning in the highlands. Here he is again,
He is just a fantastic guy. And as he welcomed me to the club, I couldn’t help asking how he got his nickname. He told me that he is a drummer for the Vale of Atholl Pipe and Drum Band. He must be quite a drummer as they came to the Crieff Highland Games this year and they were terrific. (Although, to be fair, I have yet to meet a pipe band that I didn’t think was wonderful!!)
He also told me he is an 'Atholl Highlander'! The Highlanders are the private 'Army' of the Duke of Atholl. They protected Queen Victoria on her visits to Scotland, so she enshrined a law allowing the Duke to keep a private army. They are the only legal 'private army' in the UK and Europe. So, after a wee chat, Bongo pointed me in the right direction and off I went following orders!!!
Founded in 1909, Strathtay is not a long course. But with the dew on the ground, the ball wasn’t running at all, so it played every bit of its yardage. There are some fantastic tee shots up and down its hills. Each hole marker tells its story....
This is the second,
and then the third is a straight down hill shot. I managed to hit a tree on the right and get a bounce back onto the fairway! I guess all my good tree karma is paying off.
This the fourth,
and I was pleased with my shot into the green!
The fourth and fifth holes both require uphill shots. But here is the 6th where you are rewarded with a long downhill drop.The 8th here is called ‘Gushat’ after a bakery that once sat near the site. (And when you come back around the 17th is called ‘Hope’ - it is a tough hole and aptly so named!)
The Rob Roy way crosses the fairway right here.
I looked for the spirit of the man in the mist, but as the sun burned through, I couldn’t find him.
The 9th is a delight and I was pleased to get a par being watched by some other folks just arriving to play.
They asked me why I was laughing when I came off the course and I said because I was thinking of the illustrious words of my clever, older brother: ‘They don’t ask HOW, they just ask HOW MANY in golf’ ! Thank goodness, because I hit two terrible shots, and then sunk a short putt to finish with a par. That is my golf for you ....
The 9th brings you back to the clubhouse, and I decided just to play 9 today. But I cannot wait to come back. They do a ‘day ticket’ so you can go around as many times as you like in a day...now that just might be a challenge for next year!!
The clubhouse is simple and cheerful. I was intriqued to find this ‘Birdie Tree’ - in the Ladies Locker Room. What a great idea! I might have to see if Santa will bring me one....
Unfortunately, I did not get a birdie to add to its branches .... Next time!
And then there was this FANTASTIC POEM on the wall.
Here is the picture with the full text visible ....
Isn't that PERFECT!!?!! I just loved it, and again it was on the Ladies Locker room wall in the Strathtay Clubhouse. It's the perfect summation my ‘love affair with golf.'
And I, too, will be back tomorrow ....
Golf Notes: Stathtay is 3495 yards for 18 holes from the red tees. It is open year round depending on the weather. It does have trolleys to hire. It is a lovely course who website says there is no need to book in advance: just turn up and play. There is an honesty box to pay your green fees and away you go. Gotta love golf in the glens!!