Corrie Golf Club – April 2016 I am not long back from a fantastic round at Corrie Golf Club on the Isle of Arran. The weather was stunning and did I mention the views?
Upon arrival I had a chat with Guy and Jimmy about my golfing adventures around the world and that I had heard Corrie was a stunning track.
As the course was very quiet it was the perfect place to play barefoot golf. I did ask permission from the boys before ditching my shoes and admit I was delighted when they said go for it.
Since last year I had the notion that I wanted to play a round barefoot and connect with the earth as I prayed to the golf gods and today, I had that pleasure.
I popped my shoes in my bag and sighed as my feet settled in the thick grass. It was a little strange (although not unpleasant) teeing off the 1st without shoes. The boys watched me duff my first shot and as I said goodbye and shouldered my bag I got halfway down the fairway until I was stopped in my tracks by the view of mountain.
Grabbing my camera, I heard the boys murmuring about me stopping as I do believe they were waiting to see my reaction to the views.
Suidhe Fhearghas (Fergus’s Seat) takes your breath away and you can do nought but stop and breathe and take it all in.
After playing the 1st I followed the sign to the 2nd and had to continually refer to the map to work out where I was playing to and where the others out here were playing to, as this nine hole track crosses over often.
The group (I think German but I didn’t quite catch their conversation) all looked a little perplexed at my feet and me out there with no shoes. As we crossed paths on the 7th and 3rd one man asked me why no shoes. I told him I had been wanting to play a round barefoot just for the experience and to connect with the earth while I was golfing and he turned his head on the side considering my response and nodded saying yes as he continued to his ball.
It was amazing feeling the soft bounce of fairways and the firm greens underfoot and I relished in the experience. The views on this stunning track may have aided in my golfing experience with the bonus that I was playing some good golf too.
It was a little strange teeing off the astro turf and I preferred to tee off the grass as the turf made my feet ticklish. Some areas of the course were still a little damp and I squeezed my toes into the wet ground loving the feeling.
I was hitting some good balls but constantly had to look at the map to work out where I was playing to. Besides the groups I saw on the 7th (when I was on the 3rd) I had the course to myself.
Today was certainly golf for the soul.
I hit an amazing drive on the 7th and couldn’t find it anywhere on the fairway and spent a bit of time in the heather (and found another ball) but couldn’t find mine so I took a drop and finished the hole taking a seven and as I teed up my ball on the 8th, I looked back down the 7th and saw my ball sitting on the fairway about forty metres from the green.
Clearly I had nailed my ball (with a little help from the wind) and the inclination of the hills also helped. I left my ball teed up and the 8th grabbed my wedge and finished playing the hole with my first ball and finished with a five instead of the seven I had with my second ball.
I donated a spider to the course (a second ball I was practicing with on the 9th – a brand new Titleiest ProV1) and I finished with a great 7 iron on to the green on the 9th and was stoked to finish the round with a nice even 40. My lowest ever nine holes although the course is a par 31 so that also needs to be taken into account.
I was planning on only playing nine holes and as I walked in I stopped and chatted with two guys heading out. Danny is in his mid twenties and only took up golf last year and Jack has been playing for a couple of years and is an apprentice greenskeeper at Shiskine (a must play on this Island) and is in his late teens.
We had a golf chat while they warmed up and Danny asked me if I had been on the island last year and if I had made some videos. I admitted yes that was me with my amateurish videos of the courses and interviews with various folk from Arran. It turns out Danny has watched all of my videos of Arran and my playing partner from last year at Lamlash, Ian, is his golf mentor.
They asked what my plans were for the rest of the day and as I had nothing booked until tonight I headed out and played another nine with them. I played a lot worse with an audience (usually I play better) but at least I knew where to hit the balls without constantly referring to the map.
It was great talking about junior golf in the area and getting a perspective about growing golf from them. We all agreed not enough young people are taking it up (or keeping up playing) and I told them about the epiphany I had in Ireland. That is different story completely but something I am passionate about and will go into details another time.
We all hit some great balls and we all hit some terrible balls but we had a great time in each others company, although I shot thirteen shots worse than my first look at the track finishing with a 93. After taking off my handicap I finished with a 67 which is five over par and some of the best golf I have played in a little while.
It was great meeting the guys and I told them to come and golf on PEI – it is a golf haven and should be on your bucket list of places to visit for great golf and fantastic food.
I might have embarrassed them a little, kissing them on the cheek post round but that is my usual – a handshake and a kiss on the cheek.
The guys know so many people I met last year and I have asked them to pass on my best also arranging to tee it up again when I return to Arran next year on my annual Scottish golfing trip.