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| Tuesday, 12 December 2017
Outward Bound - Hole 1
A good tee shot will put you in position to reach the green in 2. Check your yardages - precision is required with your approach.
About Hole 1 - Outward Bound
The remodelled 1st has been enhanced with the addition of mounding and bunkers, as well as the removal of tons of earth from the centre of the fairway. The massive bunker which ran across the entire front of the green has been removed, and smaller bunkers were added to the front left of the green, allowing for a safe approach in two. However, due to the wide green, your approach shot is critical if you plan to get down in two. An apparently flat smooth green has fooled many a player before you, so a 2-putt is not guaranteed.
Sleepers - Hole 2
Beware the narrow gap between bunkers off the tee. Second shot will always play a bit longer than the yardage indicates.
About Hole 2 - Sleepers
With a large copse of woods bordering the right half of the fairway, the tee shot must start left or centre on this hole. The largest bunker on the course is lined around its perimeter by massive wooden timbers which give the hole its name. Prepare yourself for a daunting second shot, and the large expanse of fairway past the bunker can fool the eye, so keep in mind the pro's tip and club up. The relatively flat green is anything but, and it has fooled many a fine player. Be happy to walk off with a par.
Nick's One - Hole 3
A well guarded par 3. Avoid going for the pin when it is tucked on the right hand side as deep bunkers await a shot that is short or slightly pushed. Take my advice and aim for the middle of the green.
About Hole 3 - Nick's One
The first of the course's six par 3's, plays slightly downhill and is no easy par. The tee was considerable enlarged for the start of the 2011 season as part of an ongoing tee programme.The green is heavily guarded by bunkers ready to catch a slightly wayward shot. The front right pot bunker is especially difficult to escape from and should be avoided at all costs.
Hill's Brae - Hole 4
The fairway slopes right to left, and bunkers on the left are numerous. The ball runs in to the green from the right, but beware the bunker 30 yards short.
About Hole 4 - Hill's Brae
Don't let this short par 5 fool you--while certainly a reachable distance for today's player, accuracy on both your tee shot and your approach are mandatory if you're to reach in two. A large new bunker across the right side short of the green will catch any poorly struck approach shots, while hollows behind the green will capture any ball running off the back. The green slopes both left to right and back to front, and many a putt has run right off the front of this tricky green.
Long Carry - Hole 5
Drive down the left side of this wide fairway. Second shot plays longer than it looks. Two-tiered green is a tricky one.
About Hole 5 - Long Carry
Getting its name from the uphill tee shot and the prevailing breezes that make this hole play longer than it looks, this classic par 4 has an incredible nine bunkers. The fairway slopes left to right, so mind the pro's tip, but beware the bunkers and large tree that can foil any attempt at reaching the green in regulation. Combine these facts with a tricky two-tiered green, and the player should be happy to escape this difficult hole in par.
Road Hole - Hole 6
Drive down right side of fairway, as it slopes towards and is OB to the left. Aim for the right side of the two-tiered green with your approach.
About Hole 6 - Road Hole
A long par 4, this hole presents another tough challenge. With OB down the entire left side of a fairway that slopes to the left, the tee shot needs to be long and straight down the right hand side, but beware the gorse! A long second shot to an elevated green makes this a difficult reach in two. The two-tiered green, which slopes to the left, is protected by bunkers left and right, and an over-clubbed approach flirts with OB behind the green. Once again, a par is most welcome.
Laddie's Cockpit - Hole 7
Don't try to fly the green--let it run on. Beware the OB left and back, as well as the gully behind.
About Hole 7 - Laddie's Cockpit
Shortened and re-shaped to give a good view of the green, this remodelled gem is now the only hole on the course without a bunker. But don't let down your guard. The thick grassed mounds can pose a real problem if the tee shot is offline, and the prevailing breezes can make club selection a difficult decision. A beautiful and challenging par 3!
Wee One - Hole 8
Leave your tee shot below the flag of this well bunkered green. Club selection is crucial. Ignore this at your peril!
About Hole 8 - Wee One
With a new tee box that has lengthened this hole, the challenge has been increased, but don't let the lack of distance fool you. A small green with 5 bunkers surrounding it make this a daunting tee shot, and the need for accuracy is paramount. A pushed tee shot will find the trees while a pulled shot will find a deep bunker. Compounding the challenge is the steep incline of the green from back to front and left to right. Many a player has three-putted this green.
The Presidents - Hole 9
Favour the left side off the tee, and favour the left on your approach. A narrow, undulating green makes the read on long putts challenging.
About Hole 9 - The President's
An uphill blind tee shot greets the player at this short par 4, a marker post showing the way. Several new bunkers on the right squeeze this fairway to a mere twenty yards at its narrowest, challenging those long off the tee. A lateral hazard down the right side beyond the bunkers, combined with bunkers on each side of a narrow green make this a testing 2nd shot. The green itself slopes left to right, and subtle undulations make long putts difficult.
The Table - Hole 10
A plateau with a sleepers bunker on the right, this is a difficult green to hold. Try running it on or pitching it into the slope in front.
About Hole 10 - The Table
With new tee boxes that have shortened this par 3, the back nine nonetheless begins with a challenge. One of the few holes which has significantly changed since Harry Vardon first laid out the course with James Francis Markes in late 1909, The Table is a plateau green with a large sleeper-lined bunker lying menacingly to its right. Thick grasses line the slopes on three sides of The Table, so any ball failing to settle on the green makes getting up and down extremely difficult.
Torrance - Hole 11
Careful with your lay up, as the cross bunkers are closer than they look. A steep green makes the accuracy of the downhill approach critical.
About Hole 11 - Torrance
The longest par 5 on the course, this hole is wide open off the tee, and a long drive is a must if you intend to reach the green in two. Beware, however, the cross bunkers that traverse almost the entire fairway just 45 yards in front of the dance floor. The downhill approach must land on an opposing sloped green, which is built on a plateau surrounded by three bunkers and long grasses on heavily sloped inclines. The green makes for an uncertain 2-putt.
Mae west - Hole 12
Danger lurks down the right side, so aim left, but don't forget about the dogleg! A severely sloping green breaks more than you might think.
About Hole 12 - Mae West
An uphill dogleg right presents itself at the tee of this formidable par 4. The entire right side of the fairway is steeped in gorse, long grasses and mounding, so take heed of the Pro's tip. The approach to the narrow green, flanked by two bunkers, is unimpeded by a good tee shot. The green is severely sloped from front to back and left to right, so keep your ball below the hole. Downhill putts will break more than you think, so take careful aim.
Oxhey View - Hole 13
Keep drive down the left side to set up a birdie chance. Keep your approach to the right, as the slope of the green is right to left.
About Hole 13 - Oxhey View
A relatively straight tee shot down the left hand side is required if a birdie opportunity is to be had on this, the shortest par 4 on the course. A short iron approach to the right hand side will run on and left as it trickles downhill onto the green. The green itself is two-tiered and can be tricky if you don't find the correct level.
Westward Ho! - Hole 14
No hidden trouble off the tee, so open your shoulders. Precision is crucial in the lay up to avoid clusters of hidden bunkers.
About Hole 14 - Westward Ho!
Reachable in two with a strong drive, this hole is squeezed by several bunkers on the right, though there is OB down the left side of the fairway. The second shot is downhill but as the Pro points out, there are hidden bunkers on both sides of the fairway that make the approach shot tricky. By coming in from the left, the player takes full advantage of the left to right slope and avoids the hazard on the right as well.
Marke's Pride - Hole 15
Enjoy this classic par 3. Keep it left to avoid the trees, but beware the OB. Don't try to land the ball on the green, but run it on.
About Hole 15 - Markes' Pride
One of the most beautiful on the course, this signature hole is indeed a classic par 3. Surrounded by 4 bunkers, long grasses and several copse of trees, this wide green is only 24 yards deep. The membership typically plays short of the green to let the ball run on, owing to the downhill nature of the tee shot. The green slopes away from the tee box as well, adding to the difficulty and challenge of this lengthy hole.
Hookers' Knell - Hole 16
Accuracy is more important than length. Beware the OB left. Keep your approach left and think about letting the ball run onto the green.
About Hole 16 - Hookers Knell
A fairly straightforward par 4, the fairway slopes left to right, so keep this downhill tee shot a bit left, but beware the OB. The approach shot should be aimed left as well, as heavy grasses and a water hazard comes into play on the right. The grass bank to the left of the green should bring the ball back to the right, but be advised to let the ball run onto the green. Two pairs of bunkers flank either side of the putting surface, and subtle undulations make this large green difficult to read.
Mount Vardon - Hole 17
Favour the right with your second shot or you could be blocked out. Two-tiered green can make or break your score.
About Hole 17 - Mount Vardon
An uphill dogleg-left best describes the hole named after the course architect, Harry Vardon. The view from the tee shows the recently added artisans bridge along with several fairway bunkers on either side which squeeze the fairway to just 22 yards. Determine upon which tier is the flag, minding the Pro's tip with your approach. Enjoy the beauty and challenge of this signature hole as you head back towards the clubhouse.
Jacob's Gable - Hole 18
This uphill tee shot requires one more club than you think, but don't overlook the OB back and left or the bunkers right.
About Hole 18 - Jacob's Gable
When former Ryder Cup Captain John Jacobs was the Sandy Lodge Professional, he lived just behind the 18th green. It soon became evident that the peak of his home was the perfect aiming point for this short par 3. Remember to pay heed to the Pro's tip and club up. A large sloping green will make you earn a par if your tee shot is off line. But no worries. You have successfully reached the 19th, and its time for a hearty meal and an ice cold drink!