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The Travel Journal of Jacqui and Lars

 

Scotland - 27 May, 2004

 

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Location Latitude Longitude Elevation

Travel Distance

Start Huntly (The Castle Hotel) N5727.599' W00246.805' 131 meters .
Cullen Golf Club . . . .
Cullen . . . .
Finish Huntly (The Castle Hotel) N5727.599' W00246.805' 131 meters 88 km

Total (BMW 330CiC)

4,395 km

Total (other):

1,055 km

Total:

5,450 km

 

Weather: Clear, sunny warm and windy (about 17C).

 

 

Today we are in search of a golf course to play at in Speyside.  We have our breakfast shortly after 8 AM and make our way out of the hotel before 10 AM.  We decide to drive up to the coast and check out one of the courses described in our guide as "partially designed by Tom Morris, traditional split level links course with interesting rock features.  Outstanding panoramic seascape, landscape views."  While that description of the Cullen Golf Club sounded god, it did not prepare us at all for the amazing course that we played on that morning.

 

As we drove up to it, Lars' mom upon seeing it declared that she also wanted to play the course this morning.  So when we went in to enquiry about tee times and rental clubs, we asked if young master Carl and Jacqui (both no golfers) could tag along with the golfers.  Right away they said no problem.  We are set.  But first our rental clubs.  The were cheap at 5.00 each, but the kind lady patched together three sets from pieces here and there.  None of us had a complete set in the end, but that did not really matter.

 

It is a short course, but that makes it no less challenging.  And the first hole can be a bit deceptive, as it lures you into a fall sense of security - only 334 yard par 4.  And then the fun really starts.  When they said split level links style course, we did not really appreciate what they were saying.  The second hole went straight up the hillside, linking us to the upper tier.  A small tee off box, a huge gully and hillside filled with shrubs and then a green on top of the hill that we could not even see.  A few balls were lost on this hole.

 

The third hole, called the plateau was straight forward, but it was followed by a par three where the tee box was separated from the green by a small gully.  Got a par on this one.  Then a par four ad another par 3.  The views from up here on the top tier was just amazing.  We had great views over the sweeping bay, the beach and the lower level of the golf course.

 

And then the seventh hole - this linked the top level of the golf course with the lower level.  What an amazing hole.  From the men's tee box we had 210 yards to the green for a par 3, but with a huge drop in elevation.  Just standing up there and hitting the ball off into space was an experience - it was hard to get a good perspective on the proper line and club to use.  But we made good shots.  Then there is the Lady's tee box - it seems like it is suspended in mid air.  It is a small piece of level land built out from the cliff edge - gives a better angle, but it must scare off a few golfers with vertigo.

 

How to get down - a long, steep set of stairs has been built into the cliff face, with tracks for the golf carts wheels.  But one fall move, and the set of clubs would go tumbling down the hillside.

 

The rest of the course is played on the lower level, but it has some interesting features and fairways.  In some cases, as the fairways criss-crossed over each other, it was a bit confusing for us to figure out which way to play and which green belonged to which hole.  But we were able to figure it out alright.  The eights and tenth holes played over the ninth hole.

 

The other fun holes were around the rock formations. In one case, we had to play over the rock jutting high up into the sky.  The green was not visible.  On another we played over ridge with two huge rocks on each side - again we could not see the green.  We sent Master Carl up onto one of the rocks to act as out spotter for our balls.  He had a great time clambering on the rocks (and did a great job at spotting where our balls went).

 

The last few holes were a bit confusing to figure which way they went and which green belonged to which hole, but we had fun finished up this course.  What a great round of golf.  One of the more amazing golf courses we have played.

 

Now it is time for lunch.  After returning our (incomplete) sets of golf clubs and giving the two Carls a chance to play on the beach, we headed back up into the town of Cullen for lunch.  We found a small cafe that served us a nice set of sandwiches and dessert.  We rounded off lunch with a large soft ice cream at a nearby candy store - it is so much fun to see such stores in existence.  All they do is sell candy (and ice cream), with much of the candy available to be selected from large containers that line the counters.

 

We decide to take it easy for the rest of the afternoon, while the two Carls go and do some more exploring along the coast.  We take a slow drive back to Huntly and our hotel, where we doze off in our room.

 

For dinner tonight we decide to see if we can find anything exciting in town.  As usual, it turns out to be a bit of a hunt.  Many of the pubs seem to be closed or non-existent (we never recall it be this difficult to find a pub (and a pub meal) in any self-respecting British village or city).  In the end, we settle for the restaurant in the Huntly Hotel.  They serve up a decent set of meals, along with good beer and wine.

 

We finish off the evening back at our Castle Hotel with another round of drinks at the hotel bar, where Mr. Big Ears continues to entertain us with his quick wit.

 

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