Golf Course Review of Loch Lomond Golf Club
Loch Lomond Golf Course
Reviewed by Ed Battye -
Quick Summary: A surreal golf experience in a truly beautiful setting
Our 5 Star Rating: 4.4
The experience of visiting and playing at Loch Lomond, an exclusive club with an international clientele, is a difficult one to describe.
You receive a level of service that way exceeds anything else I have previously enjoyed and the facilities, as you would expect, are second to none.
From the moment you arrive at the guarded gates, and drive through the estate catching glimpses of holes on your way to the magnificent Rossdhu House, to the moment you depart everything is just about perfect.
Valet parking, exquisite food and a changing-room (with its own bartender) that would put most golf club lounges to shame are just a few of the highlights. Returning to your locker after your round to find your shoes cleaned and polished in a Loch Lomond branded bag is also a nice touch. I could probably get used to luxuries like this (I’ll keep buying my weekly lotto ticket) but for me, at least for now, playing golf is the main reason I visit golf clubs; so how does the course stack-up?
The answer is very well. It’s an excellently groomed golf course, a wonderful test of golf and the setting is nothing less than breathtaking, even on the dreich day I had for my first, and more than likely last, visit to this unique club. However, it’s also worth stating strongly that separating the course, the serene location and the environment in general at Loch Lomond is not something that is easy to do, nor should it be done. A day here is more than just a round of golf.
The golf course, designed by Americans Tom Weiskopf and Jay Morrish in 1993, is an idyllic and manicured parkland layout of the highest quality with mesmerising backdrops to most of the holes. Located at Luss, just 30 minutes north of Glasgow, it is undoubtedly one of the most aesthetically pleasing and peaceful venues I have ever visited.
I played in the middle of July and after some overnight the rain the course was still very wet in the afternoon, there was little if any run on the ball and it played every inch of its 6,300 yardage. This is a story I hear time and time again from people who’ve played here. Our group played from forward tees which totalled 800 less than the ones used when the Scottish Open was played here between 1996 and 2010, however, it was still a very good test of golf and this is mainly due to the contouring around the greens.
There are some excellent holes but there are less strategic options from the tee than at some of the other top inland courses I have played in the UK. It was very much a case of trying to get the ball as far down the generous fairways to leave as short a shot as possible into the green. Maybe the softness of the course didn’t help in this regard but I can’t remember standing on many tees having to weigh up my options. There are obvious exceptions to this with the ninth and 14th two prime examples where going for the green is an option for longer hitters.
Where Loch Lomond really excels is in the quality of the approach shots you are faced with. Virtually everyone is exceptional, some even more so. I particularly liked the steeper drop-offs at the third, fourth, 12th and 16th and the greenside bunkering at every hole was superb. All the green-surrounds are quite tightly shaved, before you reach lusher semi-rough, and not only does this add to the beauty but it makes chipping and pitching a joy.
The putting surfaces themselves were true and had a lovely pace to them. I found them difficult to read and it took a few holes before I fully trusted Jim, my caddie for the day, who knew the lines perfectly and would probably have been better putting for me on the day!
For the most part I spent walking around in a daze. Having a caddie (for the first time in my life) probably added to this and I’m sure there will be so many things I missed on what is one of the most memorable golf days I’ve ever had. The location is hypnotic, especially on holes five, six and seven that run right by the loch and on the closing two holes also.
The front nine, situated closest to the bonnie banks, is arguably the most scenic but the back-nine, played mostly through woodland and wetlands, is the sterner test of golf. Each hole is individual with only the 10th and 12th having a similarity about them in terms of the approach to the green and with 12-minute tee-time intervals there was a sense of isolation on virtually every hole.
In my own mind Loch Lomond, like all of the highly regarded inland courses, can never come close to competing with the top links of the country and even many of the second tier ones for that matter. The natural movement of tight, sandy turf and an ever-changing sea-breeze will never be present and therefore critically the ground-game can never be used here. This, however, is not comparing apples with apples and of its class Loch Lomond is just about as good as it gets.
Club Website: www.lochlomond.com
Tournaments: Open golf competitions at Loch Lomond Golf Club.
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