The weather has finally turned in the North East of England but this picture gives me hope. It was taken late October 2011, the sun is low but shining brightly and the autumn-coloured leaves still cling to the trees; there are more golfing days to come this year, hopefully dry ones. This is the view from Strathtay’s third tee with the par 3 green showing as a light patch between the trees. I can think of no other golf hole that climbs quite so steeply in such a short space – everything contrives to leave you breathless.
The course once played around the castle at Inveraray, on the other side of the view shown in this picture. Much in the way the town was relocated by the 3rd Duke of Argyll on aesthetic considerations, the 10th and 11th descendants took a similarly dismal view of the great unwashed playing golf in the Castle grounds. The course remained closed until 19th June 1993 when it was re-opened by the 12th Duke at an appropriate distance from the castle, on the southern side of town. The artist’s impression of the course at the beginning of the Inveraray chapter portrays the Castle overlooking the first – a slightly misleading juxtaposition.
If asked to name my favourite course from the book I would probably have to say it is Traigh. My opinions may be different had I arrived on a soggy dreich day but on both occasions I have washed up on its shores the conditions have been perfect, none more so than on my first visit. This photograph of the but’n’ben style clubhouse was taken in the early morning as I hunted for somewhere to pay my green fees. The skies were a near-flawless clear blue except for the scars of long-spent vapour trails.