Course Review by Edward Lee (Former Sports Editor – Leader Times Series)
There are separate tee beds for each nine, new greens and a tricky ditch on the fourth. Memory told me that there are times when aiming at a tree in the distance was the right way to go.
Alarmingly, we got perilously close to some of them. We were blessed with a windless, sunny day.
And that is just what you need when you kick off with four holes over 400 yards long trying to find prime position to aim the ball into big greens.
The first is generally down hill with out of bounds down the right. It is two good strikes together, but the second time around the tee bed shifts away from the out of bounds to take it out of your line of sight. The out of bounds is a large practice ground.
And as you turn to go back uphill for the even longer second, that comes back into play with your approach shot if you get the line wrong. The stroke index gives it as the hardest hole on the course, and in to the wind it would not be difficult to imagine why.
Turning back down the hill to the third hole comes the only par five on the course. Tree lined, a good drive will give you the chance to have a rip at it, but anything too far away from the middle of the fairway could leave you blocked out. Again this is a big green and it would be easy to find three-putt land.
A fairway bunker and mound guard the best route to the fourth. This hole has been extended with the addition of a big green and a ditch running short of that green. Again it is a 400-yarder and without a good tee shot, you will probably be faced with the prospect of laying up short of the ditch and sacrificing par.
The fifth is the first of the par threes and although the pond on the left and ditch running across don’t look like they are in play, they are actually remarkably close to the green when you get up there. It’s almost 200 yards the first time round, shrinks by about 20 yards the second and will always need a good strike to find a green protected by bunkers.
At around 300 yards, the sixth is a funny hole. It really does look like you should be able to tee it up, give it your best shot of the day and get somewhere near. But there is ditch, a lateral water hazard and some sneaky trees and we found the only sensible way was the play a utility club, and I still managed to go beyond the red stakes on the second trip round.
If you want a card-wrecker in your round, how about a 150-yard par three?
The seventh looks like it can’t present a problem. But there’s trouble to the right and a huge putting surface. And there is also a road snaking through the hole and, from experience, I know how far away that can throw your ball if you are off-line.
The eighth and ninth are both uphill and both have slight dog-legs into raised greens. The eighth, at around 350 yards, is the longer and needs a tee shot down the right.
The ninth really needs a tee shot straight down the tree line on the left and then an accurate second into a green with a wicked slope aiming back at you.
If none of that sounds too complicated, you should give it a try.
The bunkers are generally playable. Internal out of bounds and water should be avoidable.
Eight holes measure over 400 yards and only two of them are par fives. That, surely, must tempt the average player into having a go for it.
And that must be the end of many a half-decent card!