Nomadic_golfer : October 2022
Par 72, 6152m, slope 124 $35
4 par3s 127-200m, 10 par4s 287-386m, 4 par5s 443-542m
This is an exciting Al Howard layout, packed full of features and memorable holes on a picturesque parcel of land that the course has occupied for just over 100 years, adjacent to Rocky’s Botanical Gardens,
There are 2 distinct tracts of land here. Firstly, on some nicely undulating land, lay twelve very strong holes that have a variety of hazards, based around water, sand and an assortment of trees. Most memorable are some super par 5s (and super-long, with these 3 all over 535m) in 1, 5 and the 542m 16th, which is perhaps the signature hole, it was my favourite. It bends left-to-right around a lagoon, and you can chop some off from the tee but that water is constantly there down the right. Your second needs to find a raised, snaking fairway with big trouble awaiting on either side, before you are greeted by a narrow, raised green with false front and bunkers both sides.
That length is complemented by some spectacular short holes: a couple of super, ultra risk-reward short par4s in the 296m 8 (which looks like it belongs on a TPC) and the 287m 17th (with it’s resident Eastern Brown sunning itself on the path in front of the tee on my visit) and a stadium-like finishing par 3; 163m uphill to a slopey, narrow green set in the side of a hill with sand on either side.
The other 6 holes aren’t quite so strong, all par4s on a flat, low-lying piece of land that track each other back and forth in parallel and feel very similar, with quite a few right to left tee-shots required here.
There was a fair bit of work going on with the course. Some fairway scarifying, surface work on greens, and combined with a deluge in the days prior, didn’t set it up for its peak presentation for my round, but the foundations are strong, and I’m sure condition would be pretty consistent here. The greens (328 Bermuda I believe) have lots of variety in shape and size, are well bunkered with lots of contours, and generally elevated (especially in those lower-lying 6 holes). Fairways are not super-wide, with misses generally penalised.
Overall, this is a quality layout that has a bit of wow about it and definitely needs your A game from the back-blocks. It’s a yes from me.