It’s certainly not a course for the faint-hearted, in more ways than one, but will give you the chance to manufacture an infinite amount of different shots unlike you will get to experience anywhere else, especially on your ‘run of the mill’ type course.
And whilst it’s a course that I can imagine some people (the unadventurous) wouldn’t like… I absolutely loved it.
Despite its modest length of just 4,434 yards the course plays much longer than this which is in large part due to its par of 62, as well as a number of uphill shots; some of which bring a wide smile to your face. The course features in our best golf courses under 6,000 yards.
Glencruitten is certainly a hard walking course - there’s no disguising that - with many changes in elevation during the entire round. I can’t really recall a flat hole, but this is what makes it so exciting, at times amazingly crazy and quirky golf.
The course makes a huge statement at the epic first hole, a par four of 445 yards, played steeply uphill for the final 100 yards, with danger lurking in the form of bracken and brambles, on both sides of the approach. You are able to freely wield the driver on the tee shot but getting over the hill short of the hidden green in two is a huge achievement! In fact the vast majority of members sensibly play this as a par five.
The approach to the first green is one of many blind, or semi-blind, shots that you get to play here. Often you must rely on a marker post for your tee shot or at other times can just see the top of the flag for your approach. There’s certainly a whole lot of intrigue at Glencruitten.
The epic-ness of the opening hole is almost, but not quite matched, by that of the 12th; another long par four. Once again the fairway is relatively wide but it is the blind second, up and over a steep hill, to a green nestled at the end of a picturesque valley which is the highlight.
This in fact commences a fine stretch of holes that continues with the downhill par three 13th that boasts a superb green falling away from the angle of play. The heroic 14th and fantastic short 15th complete this wonderful run which incidentally all fall on the other side of a single track access road that dissects the course.
There are no less than 10 par 3’s at Glencruitten but until you tot them all up at the end of your round you wouldn’t believe that to be the case. The reason for this is that they are all so different. Not only did I play everything from a 9-iron to a 3-wood to the greens but the style of each hole is so varied as well. They face every point on the compass whilst some are uphill, others down dale and some across side slopes to excellent shelf greens. One even has a huge granite monolith to avoid! It’s hard to pick a favourite because they’re all so memorable.
The layout and routing of the course is bewildering and how such a fun and challenging course was designed over this stunning terrain, in the heart of Glencruitten Estate, is a real credit to the designer; the famous James Braid. I would have loved to have been there in the early 1900’s to observe how it was routed.
Glencruitten also came across as a really friendly club. We were welcomed warmly and after chatting to a group of members it was clear they are very proud of their unique course.
If one is ever staying in Oban playing here is an opportunity not to be missed but Glencruitten is also a course I would recommend you travel further afield from to sample. It’s an absolute gem of a golf course in Argyll.
The second course at Trevose very rarely crops in conversation but during a family holiday to the Cornish Resort I made sure to play it.
The third course at Trevose, aptly named the "Short Course" is just 1,360 yards.