Winter Golf – Possible and Enjoyable
With the nights drawing in and the temperatures starting to plummet, you may think your chance to enjoy a few holes of golf have passed, however that’s no excuse for putting your clubs into hibernation.
Golf clubs all around Scotland are still open throughout the winter and Hopeman Golf Club in Moray Speyside is no exception. Benefiting from the Moray Coast micro-climate, usually a couple of degrees higher than the inland temperature, and being near the sea, means that the courses of Moray Speyside are very seldom closed due to snow.
Hopeman's iconic 12th hole as seen from the 15th tee
To play golf at Hopeman Golf Club (one of the country's hidden gems) during the winter costs only £15 per round. Why not become a member for the “off season” at cost of £100 until the end of March, a fantastic deal that offers exceptional value for money. Should you then decide in March 2020 to join for the rest of the year then the £100 will be off the full fee.
Hopeman GC have a policy where winter greens are only in play if it’s frosty, and more often than not, during the winter you’ll be putting on the normal greens.
The club is not standing still in the winter months, 2019 will see us embark on year two of a four year plan of work based on recommendations made by the world renowned golf architects MacKenzie & Ebert. The main difference that regular visitors will notice is that the views have changed from stunning to spectacular which is all part of the long term plan.
The holes that are in the process of being revamped this year are 1,2,5,13 & 14.
Here is a taster of how the winter work is progressing.
Hole 1 Improvements
So what’s new at the first? The first change that returning golfers will notice is that the gorse behind the green has gone and the spectacular view of the Moray Firth is no longer hidden. You can now see Morven in Caithness, the mountain the hole is named after.
The bunker on the left has also gone, however, don't get too confident! on the right there is another bunker beyond the first one especially for the big-hitters.
Hole 2 New
The bunkering has also been altered at the 2nd hole with the first bunker on the left and the bunker on the right gone.
That doesn't mean your ball is safe! The greenside bunker on the left has been rebuilt and extended to guard the green more closely.
Hole 5 New
The 5th has been seen by many as being one of the weaker holes on the course. For almost everyone, it was a forced lay-up to the corner and a similar length of approach shot every time. We have now opened up the right, clearing the gorse back to the trees (WHAT TREES?) and a pair of bunkers have been created at the corner to encourage players to make decisions rather than playing the hole in the same way every time. This revised arrangement will provide players with an element of risk and reward making the hole much more interesting.
Hole 13 (as seen from 18th Winter tee)
The 13th now enjoys a feeling of greater space as the gorse has been cleared from the fairway bunker on the right, onwards to the green creating even more spectacular sea views.
Hole 14 New
The 14th has always been an enjoyable, scenic, but at the same time, challenging hole where placement is more important than raw power.
The left hand bunker has been filled in with the gorse cut to the back of it by a good 5 metres, meaning balls that just miss the green on the left do not run into the bushes.
The right hand bunker has also been filled in as players needed to land the ball very close to let the ball release onto the green. Balls ending up in the bunker were punished and it is now converted into a ridge. This ensures balls landing close will end up on the green but those who miss will see their ball bounce further off line.
Unlike other clubs who have limited scope to make any changes, Hopeman GC have huge potential to improve further on a number of fronts.
All of these improvements have been made with the enjoyment of existing members and visitors in mind.
Many generations of members and visitors have enjoyed golf at Hopeman. It is a wonderful example of what makes Scottish golf so special - It is a club which is open and inclusive, offering fun, affordable, family golf.