Nomadic_golfer : October 2021
Par 72, 6095m Blue (5781m White), slope 128, $40 green fee
4 par3s 114-169m, 10 par4s 318-397m, 4 par5s 422-480m – Blue
Travelling golfers need to show this place some love; its a fantastic track which I would label a ‘golfer’s golf course’. Brilliant aesthetically and a challenging, intriguing layout without being pampered or meticulously maintained. It has a natural feel about the place, with scattered gums, rows of pines, gentle undulations, rustic old OB fences, 1/2 a dozen water hazards and excellent, varied, well-bunkered green complexes. The bentgrass green surfaces were first class and the highlight of the conditioning aspect. Kikuyu fairways were fine, tees were thin and were getting some love through a large coring, while several bunkers were also receiving some maintenance. There are barely any signs of the malicious poisoning of the greens that occurred some months back; with the chemical used not as potent as first thought.
There are a number of very well designed holes, plenty of attractive holes and only a couple of bland tracts. The start (first 5 holes in current format, re-routed Sep ’20) is the peak for me, all very attractive (the downhill par 3 2nd is beautiful – perhaps the aesthetic highlight) and well designed, and then the 350m 7th might even top all of those for design; snaking fairway, OB right and large trees left, with a green guarded by water up the right. You can’t shirk the issue off the tee, you must take a bold centre-right line and not shy away from the OB to prevent staring at the water for your second – the front nine is👌.
The back nine is not too shabby either; the steeply uphill par 3 11th, snaking risk/ reward par 5 14th and water-carry 151m 15th all take my fancy but my favourite was the 380m 17th. It requires a left to right drive between large gums to a fairway that continually narrows as you progress and is flanked by some gnarly rough, to an undulating green protected by a large bunker short left.
The most interesting hole on the course is 4, and I bet the optimal tee and par for this hole is well debated amongst the locals. Its is a fabulous hole; 422m off the blue over a pond, or 380 from the white – turns right to left and steeply uphill at ~200m out, with pines and OB right, bunker left. It looks fantastic and plays longer than it’s yardage. The question is; is it a par 4 or par 5? My thoughts are that the par of the hole does not matter, it doesn’t make it easier or harder (only mentally), so leave it as it is – I loved this hole.
Overall, I really enjoyed the Sandy Creek golfing experience. It was one of those rare days when you arrive at a course without lofty expectations and as the round unfolds, you are pleasantly surprised. That is a good day at golf!