Nomadic_golfer : November 2021
Par 72, 5928m, slope 129, $40 green fee
4 par3s 150-160m, 10 par4s 296-393m, 4 par5s 444-500m
Spectacular hilly terrain bounded by large cypress and lots of natives, sets the scene here and the highlights are some of the holes that take advantage of those hills, with Murray and Brian Crafter involved in design and an extension to 18 holes in the 1980s.
The par 4 13th and par 5 15th, both heading east from tees up on top of the same hill, are spectacular, as is the par 5 7th, but the outstanding feature is the par 3’s. Every one of them is memorable: 6 (150m to a wide, shallow green that is heavily bunkered left and shallowest on the right); 8 (the signature hole, 150m with a sheer drop down to a large green that is very narrow between 2 bunkers at the front and widens up at the back); 10 (super tough 160m across a valley to an extremely raised green that is very firm, large bunker front right and steep drop offs short and left); and 16 (which might be my favourite, 155m downhill into the prevailing wind, to a long narrow green guarded by bunkers everywhere and thick stuff long).
The green complexes are fantastic: large, lots of imagination and differentiation, excellent bunkering, with 8 (per above), 12 (a super narrow green with gaping bunker right) and 18 (a massive 2-tiered, hour-glass shaped green with a bunker middle right) all very dramatic.
Condition of the bentgrass greens was good: firm, smooth, nice pace on a Monday arvo (so not cut) but the santa-anna fairways were patchy, with weeds throughout and the tees were patchy also. The precinct does have a different feel about it than in the 80s and 90s when you felt alone out here; lots of the pine trees that served as barriers are gone and there are houses everywhere (some very nice homes too).
Overall, it is an excellent layout, lots of variety, lots of great views, excellent green complexes and 18 holes by foot is very good exercise. Condition is currently below where I would expect for a layout of this quality but those fairways are improving!