Time to go and play a new golf course, and what a beautiful day for it. There isn’t much of the course in view from the car park, or the clubhouse: a few practice holes, and the top of the flag on the 18th, and that’s about it. A mystery.
After a relaxed visit to the pro shop/starter’s office, a short distance from the clubhouse, to pay our dues and collect score cards, we congregated on the 1st for a few pictures before teeing off. Only the 1st – a short and straightforward par 4 – in view. Still a mystery. The par 3 2nd doubles back on the 1st, and then the climb – a significant uphill struggle. This is when you wish you had a motorised trolley. However, when you get to the top take a moment to start appreciating the course. You can see the par 5 3rd heading off uphill, but also the 6th and 7th. The view of the surrounding countryside and the mountains in the distance really add to the feeling that you’re out for a good walk, and no amount of poor golf can spoil it.
I would consider the 6th as the course’s signature hole; a par 3 with the green a long way below the level of the tee, with a pond on the right. Also a dangerous hole. The prevailing wind captured my tee shot, which ended up wet. I’ll be aiming left next time! The 7th takes you back uphill slightly, and on finishing the hole you cross a bridge to reach the next 10 holes. The 8th – another elevated tee where, if you’re a big hitter, you’ll need to be careful not to run out of room on the dogleg left.
The turn is relatively easy, given that the 9th, 10th, 11th, 12th and 13th consist of 3 short dogleg par 4s (2 right, 1 left) sandwiched by two short par 3s. Make the most of it because the finish is tough. Two long par 4s and an uphill par 5 take you to another delightful par 3. However, I wouldn’t want to play it from the white tees (almost 200 metres) when the wind is blowing! The view, once again, is fabulous. The 18th tee is on the wrong side of the ‘gorge’. The carry is relatively short, but I expect somewhat intimidating for the higher handicappers. Back across the bridge, and the hole is all downhill, with water in front of the green. Be wary with your lay-up shot. The ball goes further than you expect!
A couple of putts and a couple of handshakes later, and we’re back in the clubhouse swopping ‘if-only’ stories.
A fair course – a little hilly in places, but not too long and not too narrow if your club selection is good. Good, consistent greens, and rough that penalises wayward shots, but at least lets you find your ball. This, and some beautiful views thrown in. If only I could play this course again tomorrow…
Jay Gilbert, hopeful Tiger 2013