Wednesday, April 28, 2010

The Gowfcroft - extreme bog-golf at Gateside, Shetland

Here is a description of and rules for extreme bog-golf at The Gowcroft, Gateside, Shetland:

'Extreme bog-golf' is played on uncultivated 'in-by' croft land at The Gowfcroft, Gateside, Shetland. Please note, this land is very wet and peaty, and is unsuitable for golf carts, golf shoes, tractors or heavy earthmoving equipment. A tractor disappeared here not long ago. No responsibility is taken for your safety or well being should you decide to play here. Golf at your own risk.

Please shut all gates, or at least try to wrestle them into position. If you let Lowrie's sheep in, you will have to round them up and transport them to Sumburgh.

There will be no putting (for the moment) at The Gowfcroft. Putting should (temporarily)be carried out after the consumption of at least one pint of beer, on the close-cropped lawn of the St Magnus Bay Hotel, one mile to the south-west. Please ask permission first.

The Gowfcroft can be played as a three, six or nine-hole course. There are, essentially, six holes, with nine being achieved by playing the first three again. There are three flags, no greens. A hole is deemed completed when the player's ball is within two feet of the flag in any direction.

Basic rules of Extreme Bog-Golf are as per the Royal and Ancient, with certain exceptions:
-Wellington boots are advised, but not compulsory.
-One lost ball per hole is assumed. If you do NOT lose a ball, one stroke is removed from your total for that hole. If you find a ball in the general vicinity of where your ball landed, but it is NOT your own, you may play it as if it IS your own, benefitting from the bonus stroke for lack of loss.
-Preferred lies and penalty-free cleaning of balls at ALL times.
- All fences indicate out of bounds, except the one at the final hole (3, 6 and nine). Do NOT play your ball from beyond the other fences. You will be attacked and eaten by dogs.
-rubber driving range tees are preferred/essential.


Entering the croft of Gateside, cross a ditch immediately to your left before reaching the house, pass the site of regular Wicker Man burnings (clearly evident) and the blue flag of holes three/six/nine. Cross the fence leading to the open croftland, heading uphill. You will see a piece of astroturf (the tee) and, to the north, in the far corner of the field is a yellow flag. This is the first/seventh hole:

HISTORIC SCOTLAND (175 Yards; par 4)
Beware landing on the ancient monument approximately 80 yards from the tee. Divots may reveal all kinds of things. This is a heel-shaped burial cairn thought to have been used by Picts as an early form of bunker.

Having played 'Historic Scotland', turn west, south wet and look for a red flag.This is the second/eighth hole. There is a piece of astroturf which can be used as a tee, but this is not compulsory.:

DA BRIG (200 yards; par 4). Beware the various drainage ditches.

Turn back towards the house and look for the blue flag. Find a flat piece of turf near the drainage ditch, by the flag. This is the third or ninth:

HAMEABOOT (125 yards; par 3. Any damage to the house fabric must be made good.

Return to the first tee, and aim for the red flag. Proceed to play the three holes you have just played, in reverse. You may, by this time, be suffering from exposure. In which case, abandon the game. If conditions merit, play the three holes in their original order to achieve nine. Which is exactly one half of 18.


None. A contribution towards lost flags may be posted through the house letterbox.

Good luck. Coastguard rescue services are available in cases of extreme distress, but should not be called out lightly. Proper waterproof clothing, or possibly diving equipment, should be worn. The landowners take no responsibility. For anything.

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