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Pinehurst #2

Pinehurst is located in North Carolina and is consistently ranked amongst the world top 100 courses. The resort has several other courses designed by some of the best course architects in the world and is a popular golf destination. I visited during april and had fantastic weather. The facilities are good, nothing spectacular, but as expected on a facility like this. The clubhouse has a some displays of the history connected to Pinehurst with some of the memories from past championships.

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I stayed at the Manor Inn which was conveniently located. Nothing special and seems quite old, but fine for a nights stay. The breakfast is served at the main hotel and I would probably stay there the next time.

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A fantastic short course designed by Gil Hanse. I did not play it, but supposedly a good experience. 
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Outside the clubhouse they have created a huge putting green which is a great challenge. Inspired by St. Andrews and a really good test before going out to play.
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Tee markers on the putting green
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The driving range

The driving range is designed in true Pinehurst style with the same waste areas as you will experience on #2.

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Short game green next to the first tee on #2. A very good place to spend some time before heading out.
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Ready to head out. We played the course from the Blue tee which plays at 6961 yards

 

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Hole 1, Par 4, 393 yards

A relatively “soft” opening hole but still requires a good drive to stay in the fairway. I hit my drive into the waste area on the right hand side, but had a decent lie. Generally I did not hit many fairways, but overall found some decent lies and even though the fairway is preferable, it is not too bad to end up in the waste area. My second shot ended up right off the green and made bogey.

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1st green.

The greens were in good shape and running fast. Quite hard, so difficult to get any real spin.

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Hole 2, Par 4, 439 yards

The course is very true to its design and seem very similar from many of the tee boxes.

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2nd green and the bunker I was in my.
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Looking back down the 2nd hole

The second hole was one of the few fairways I hit, but still managed to make double bogey. Was in the bunker on my second and rolled over the green from there. Poor chip and a 6 on the card. It pretty much sums up my round and my game was just not sharp enough to get around in a decent score.

 

 

 

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3rd hole, par 4, 350 yards

A short par 4, where a lay up is required. I hit a rescue club, but just ran out of fairway.

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Approach to 3rd green

I hit a poor second shot and ended up short of the green with above approach. Just ran over the green and another double.

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Hole 4, par 4, 474 yards.

One of the longer par 4s and you need two good shots to get on the green. I was in the greenside bunker in 2.

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approach shot to 4th hole
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Tee shot on 5th, Par 5, 508 yards

The first par 5 on the course. I hit a decent drive and was on the fairway. However as with pretty much all the holes it is around the greens where the trouble start.

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5th green

It is difficult to see how tough the green is, but basically you cannot miss the green on either side and especially not left. I thought my approach shot was perfect and even though it landed on the right part, it still ran down a run off and I made bogey.

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Hole 6, Par 3, 203 yards

Playing a bit into the wind and my fade went into the greenside bunker.

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My bunker shot on 6th hole

My caddie did say dont miss left and as you can see from above picture a difficult shot. I hit a decent bunker shot onto the green, but missed my par putt.

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One of the nice properties along the fairway
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Hole 9, par 3

A well designed par 3 and difficult to get it close to the hole. However my playing partners manage to land the ball middle of the green and feed the ball towards the hole. I came up short and into the bunker with what I would determine as a pretty impossible shot to a downhill green towards the hole. Hit a good bunker shot that rolled over the green and made 5.

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approach to 10th hole
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10th green
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My lie on the 11th hole

Pretty good lie in the waste area and still gives you a shot at the green.

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18th hole, great challenge as a finishing hole
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18th green

 

The condition of the course was really good and even though we played from the back tees it is not that difficult a driving course. It is all about the greens and run off areas. It is the most difficult course with regards to approach shots that I have played so far and I can only imagine how tough this course can be setup for tournaments. My game was extremely poor which did not make the challenge any easier, but I am sure the score can be improved. I will return to try again some day.

 

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Walton Heath, UK

Walton Heath is located south of London and designed by Herbert Fowler. It has a long history with Open Championships and the Ryder Cup in 1981. I had been looking forward to playing the course and only heard good things about the course. We got to the course in the morning and had breakfast. The breakfast was really good and the hospitality, welcoming and service by everybody we met was fantastic.

 

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The ryder cup room with lost of history

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We played the course on an autumn day and started with 5 holes on the new course for a quick war up. We were extremely lucky with the weather in the beginning of the round as it was around 0 degrees. After 7 holes we got a little snow and the wind picked which made it more challenging and of couse colder.

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1st hole, par 3, 193

Opening hole is not an easy one. The green is protected by bunkers and it takes a good shot to hit the green. My tee shot ended up right of the green and I started with a bogey.

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Hole 2, Par 4

2nd hole a par 4 with a large dip in the fairway and it gets narrower the further you go. Can be a difficult approach if you miss the fairway due to overhanging trees. I hit a good drive and was left with 138m.

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Looking back down the 2nd hole. Decent approach shot, but didn’t convert for birdie.
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Hole 3, par 4, 197m

It was playing really shot for a par 4 and even though the green is protected and trees down the left it is too tempting not to go for it. Hit a great shot as you can see below and managed to get a birdie.

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6th green
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11th green

 

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12th green

 

 

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par 5 13th

A good-looking par 5. Even though it’s a relatively open the bunkers are well placed and you definitely want to miss the heather.

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Approach to 13th
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16th tee shot
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green side bunker on 16th, needless to say that you should try to avoid that one

16th is a shot par 5. I had 180m to the green, but came up short and only made par on what is a really good birdie opportunity.

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Par 3, 17th my favourite hole on the course. A well designed hole with an elevated green protected by bunkers. Relatively short, but still needs accuracy.

 

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18th tee short, par 4 uphill
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18th green. The bunker in front is not really in play, but still intimidates you eye from the fairway. The green is uphill and it as difficult approach shot on the final hole.

I shot 81 and thought it should have a been a least 2-3 shots better. Made some poor short iron shots and missed to many drivers into the heather which is a real penalty. Extremely difficult to get the ball anywhere from the heather.

If you keep the ball in the fairway the course is straight forward, but that goes for most courses. It is not particularly long and many greens are pretty flat with minimal undulation. Many of the bunkers are real penalties and you just have to advance your ball, but that something I like about these old courses compared to many newer courses.

The courses didnt live up to my expectations. Maybe because I compare to the many other similar courses around London where I prefer the layout and design of the holes – sunningdale, st. georges hill, swinley forest etc… It will of course be a different experience during the summer months, but that doesnt change the layout and architecture of the course. Still a good course, but just not up there with the other golfing opportunities you have in the area.

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Cruden Bay, Scotland

Cruden Bay is a little gem north of Aberdeen. When you get close to the course and drive along the houses you don’t realize that there even is a golf course hidden behind the small country road.

I played on a rainy and windy day or typical Scottish as some would say. It wasn’t too bad, but made it more tricky of course.

Hope 1, par 4

First hole I hit my drive in the left hand rough and couldn’t make it on the green in two. Poor pitch and started with a bogey.

Hole 2, par 4

2nd hole is a short par 4 with small bunkers running along side the fairway. It is steep uphill to the green. I hit a decent drive and had a lobwedge left. Made par.

That is a sign that should be put up more often…
Hole 3, par 4

3rd is driveable but as you can a narrow entrance to the green. I missed my drive left which wasn’t too bad. Lip out for birdie.

Hole 4, par 3

This is a tough par 3. It was playing 181 straight into the wind. There is not much room for missing the green and short will run back down the hill as you can see below. I hit a solid 3 wood pin high and was very happy walking off with a par.

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Run off area in fron of 4th green
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5th tee elavated from the fairway
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Uphill to the 7th green which requires a really good second shot
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7th green with the pin right at back

The 7th hole is a dogleft left and the drive is straight forward, but the second shot is a real challenge. It is uphill and when I played the wind was straight into. The green is relatively narrow and long. I hit a hybrid for my second and ended up on the front edge of the green. A good putt to where you can see above and a par that I would consider a decent score every time on this hole.

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8th hole

I actually thought the was a par 3 and only realized it was a par 4 when putting in my score on the app walking off the green. I was playing 212m and I hit a 3 wood to the right off the green.

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Run off on 8th green

As you can see from above the green is difficult to hit and I was left with a short chip to the hole and made par

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View of the ocean and the 8th green
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View from 9th tee where I was told by a few members that you can see 16 of the 18 holes. check out video below
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9th hole
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9th green
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10th tee

10th hole is a par 4 and was quite deceptive from the tee. I didn’t checked distances before teeing off and actually only cleared the right side of the rough to make onto the fairway. It was playing into the wind, but I thought I could cut more off the line that it actually appeared. I had a 5 iron to green and came up just short. Made bogey from there.

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Par 3 11th

From the tee the hole looks pretty straight forward and was playing 133m. I hit an 8 iron and walked to the 12th tee to leave my bag. There is a small path through the bushes to the 11th green and only then they I see this little area with water and the run off to the right side of green. Really good feature to the hole and note to myself is – read the course guide or look at the app….

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14th hole uphill

Uphill all the way and to a long narrow green as you can below

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14th green
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15th tee shot – yes its as blind a shot as it gets…

I aimed to far left and actually it is pretty much straight down the middle of hole between the hills and the green is big enough.

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16th hole a really good par 3 almost hidden in the mount and really no place to miss it.
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17th tee shot 

I missed my drive left and never found the ball which resulted in a doubble bogey.

As you can see below I shot 80 on a typical scottish weather day. I prefer the back nine holes of course and thought it had some terrific holes. The course is in a unique location and you are one with the elements when walking close to the sea and listening to the ocean. A good test of golf….

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Ballybunion Golf Club, Ireland

Ballybunion is another top rated course on the west coast of Ireland. It has two courses and we played the Old Course. The course is established in 1893 and was voted world number 17 by Golf Magazine in 2011.

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Not the best designed clubhouse I have seen, but the golf course is why we came to visit.
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When we arrived we were greated by the headpro. Upon check in we were given below little booklet with course guide and scorecard. It is a small thing, but makes a positive impact on the whole experience. 

 

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Practice putting green at 1st tee
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Hole 1, Par 4, 375 yards

First hole is a slight downhill par 4. The graveyard and city in the background doesn’t really make it that nice of a view, but the hole itself is straight forward and plenty of space right of the fairway.

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Hole 2, Par 4, 397 yards

Second hole is the most difficult on the course and hitting the fairway is important to get a good chance of hitting the green in two.

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2nd green

I started to rain on our second hole and I was pleased to be even par after 2 holes. The next holes the rain got a bit more serious and it was survival mode. I shot 3 double bogeys in the next 4 holes and luckily it stopped raining for the rest of the round. That was the first and only real difficult Irish golf weather we experienced during our 5 day trip and lets just say that it would have been a tough journey in this kind of weather.

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Approach to 6th hole

6th is a dogleg left to right with OB on the right hand side of the fairway. I went too aggressive and just ran out of fairway. It is a driveable hole, but really it should be played with caution and a safe lay up. Difficult green with run off areas, so approach has to be good.

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10th green

Above is video from 10th green

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Some of the views from the course

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12th green

12th is an uphill par 3 of 196 yards. A difficult hole where a par is a great score.

Above video from 12th green

Checkout video with pitch shot on 12th hole from one of my playing partners

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Hole 15, Par 3, 199 yards

15th is a long difficult par 3 and the wind was getting up when we played. No real areas to escape as there a bunkers placed well around the green.

Pretty good bunker shot on 15th from one of my playing partners.

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Hole 16, Par 5, 490 yards

A par 5 that doglegs right to left and you need to decide how far to cut the corner. I hit a perfect drive in the fairway and had a 7 iron to the green.

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Approach to 16th
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My eagle putt on 16 which I just missed, but was pleased with the birdie
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Hole 17, Par 4, 383 yards

Another dogleg where you need a good drive. I went a bit too far left, but managed to get up around the green. Unfortunately still a bogey.

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17th green
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Hole 18, Par 4, 370 yards

An uphill par 4 to finish with. The aim is the huge bunker on the left hand side. I hit a driver and came up just short of the bunker which left me a gap wedge to the green. It is a blind shot and a narrow green.

Above video from 18th rough on the left hand side.

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18th green

Ballybunion was a good experience. I didnt think the first holes where that good, but especially the last 12 holes are great. The course condition was average, but green running okay. You can not miss the fairways by much before you end up in trouble and that is if you find the ball.

I shot 83 which was okay all things considering. The rain on hole 3-6 made it difficult but still dissapointed not to shoot better scores there. The back nine of 38 was pretty good and overall I was happy with the score.

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Waterville, Ireland

Waterville golf links is located on the west coast of Ireland and ranked amongst the best. This was a course I was really looking forward to playing and we had good weather conditions with some wind but no rain. We had played 18 holes in the morning on Dooks and arrived for lunch at Waterville where enjoyed a good meal before heading out.

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2nd green
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Tee shot on 3rd
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3rd green
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Hole 4, Par 3, 176 yards
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The traditional links style bunkers on the course
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Hole 12, Par 3, 164 yards

The 12th is a difficult par 3. Only playing 164 yards, but requires a precise tee shot. You can not leave it short as you can see from below picture.

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A look back down 12th
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12th hole raised green, avoid being short.
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Tee shot on par 5 11th

A 477 yards dogleg left to right par 5. It is a blind tee shot if you hit driver as it runs downhill. I hit a good drive at was left with a 6 iron to the green.

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Approach to 11th hole

I hit a fantastic approach shot to a gimmie eagle. Not often that happens…

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Hole 17, Par 3, 168 yards

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Hole 18, Par 5, 556 yards

I really like courses with a strong finishing hole and this is one of them. A long par 5 that requires 3 good shots to get on the green. I almost managed, but was just of the green on my third and couldn’t get up and down. A bogey finish.

I didn’t think the course reached my expectations. There are some really good holes, but too many average holes that doesn’t make for a truly great course. The condition was also average and greens running a bit slow.

I shot an 84 which should have been around 80 in the conditions we had.  Too many double bogeys on the card. Anyway, the eagle made up for a lot of the other poor golf.

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Dooks Golf Links, Ireland

Dooks Golf Links is another good Irish course that I played in May 2017. The club is established in 1889 making it one of the oldest in Ireland. It was originally a 9 hole course and what extended to 18 in the 1970’s. We played an early morning and as you can see from the pictures the weather was pretty good.

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View from the putting green
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Hole 1, Par 4, 373 yards

The opening hole is pretty straight forward par 4.

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My approach shot to the 1st green
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1st green

I started well with a good drive and a short pitch to the green to setup a nice opening birdie.

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2nd green

The second hole is a short uphill par 4 that is driveable, however as you can see the green is protected well with run off areas and undulation. If you do not reach the green your approach shot needs to be accurate to stay on the green.

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Hole 4, Par 3, 167 yards
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4th green. It requires a good shot to stay on the green.
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Tee shot on 6th hole

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Video from 12th green

The course is relatively short by modern standards but requires a good short game and accurate approach shots to shoot decent scores. From some of the holes you have beautiful views which was great in the weather we had.

I didn’t play that well and shot 86. Too many missed fairways and greens. The condition of the course was not the best it could play, but I assume that it will improve during the summer months.

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Old Head Golf Links, Ireland

Old Head Golf Links is located south of Cork and in a truly unique position. Based on a sandstone rock in the pacific it is a very special experience to walk this terrain. I visited the course in May and the weather was good. Very little wind and no rain. This was the first course we played during our Ireland trip and we where all extremely excited to play this course.

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Helicopter availability if you want to make the experience even more fantastic
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Hole 4, Par 4, 415 yards

One of the stunning holes running along the ocean and with views of the lighthouse.

Above is short video of my recovery shot on 4th hole. Obviously not the first one to have been up there as there was a small path running up there. It was one of my better bogeys of the day.

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Hole 7, 163 yards, Par 3

The par 3’s on the course are just amazing. The are set beautifully in the terrain and really requires some good shots. I can only imagine how difficult they will play if the winds get up.

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Hole 10, Par 5, 485m

This dogleg left to right is one of the holes where you can make up a shot. I hit my drive severely right and was still left with a good approach to the green. I managed to make a well needed birdie.

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Hole 11, Par 3, 184 yards

A slight uphill par 3, where I hit a good tee shot and got my second birdie.

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Hole 13, Par 3, 145 yards

A really good hole where the pin was placed on the front edge. Should be a relatively easy shot, but I hit my first ball in the water left and made double bogey.

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Hole 16, Par 3, 163 yards

The hole is well protected by  bunkers. I really messed up this hole. I hit my first ball right and took a drop. Hit a poor pitch into the bunker and took 6.

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It may be obvious, but it is good that they have put up signs in the most dangerous areas when you approach the edge as the drop is severe
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Hole 12, 537 yards, par 5

One of the most difficult holes on the course. I really enjoyed this hole and Ron Kirby has really created a unique hole where you have a completely blind tee shot by can spot the green in the far distance. We had very little wind and it was slightly headwind. We hit some good drives aimed towards the path and we just managed to reach the fairway. From there we still had a long way to the green – this hole is a monster if the wind is strong.

Check out video of the 12th hole from the tee.

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Approach to 12th hole

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18th green

I really enjoyed this golf course and experience, even though I was dissapointed with my score of 88. The location, design and layout is just stunning. The condition was not immaculate but fine for this time of year. There is only a few weak holes on the course, but in general many of the holes are well designed and they have managed to take good advantage of the terrain.

We had good weather condition and I did not think the course was too difficult. It was mainly my game that let me down which resulted in too many lost shots. However, I am certain that you will really need your A game to score well it the conditions are difficult.

I would definately recommed this course and one day I will return to try and improve my score.

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Fancourt Montagu, South Africa

Fancourt in South Africa is a great golf destination in South Africa. It has several courses and amongst the Links course which is currently ranked No. 1 in South Africa. I stayed in the resort for 4 days and thoroughly enjoyed it. There is a driving range right next to the resort where I spent several hours just practicing. Great views of the mountains in the back.

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I played Montagu and Links during my visit. It started with Montagu where I opted for a caddie and walking the course to get the best experience.

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Hole 1, Par 4, 353m

A short dogleg left to right opening hole. I hit my driver right, missed the green and started with a bogey.

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Hole 2, Par 3, 175m

Downhill par 3 for the second hole, where you preferably should miss it left if you don’t hit the green. I missed it right in between the bunkers, but managed to get up and down for a par.

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Hole 3, Par 4, 403m

Uphill par 4 with bunkers on the left. The bunkers did not really come into play and I hit my drive over and into the fairway. Wedge to the green and a 2 putt for par.

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Hole 4, Par 5, 510m

Really nice par 5, especially around the green. I hit a poor drive right, 7 iron lay up and had a 9 iron to the green.

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4th green

I missed my approach far left and had a difficult chip across the mount. Resulted in a bogey.

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Nicely decorated water feature

 

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Hole 5, Par 4, 364m

Another relatively short par 4 with bunkers well placed in the fairway. I missed my driver right but managed to get on the green in two and made par.

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Hole 6, Par 4, 398m

The most difficult hole on the course and you need to be accurate from the tee with bunker protecting the left hand side of the fairway and water if you are too long. I opted for a 3 wood and hit if perfectly down the fairway.

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approach to 6th green

Unfortunately I missed the green and made bogey. A really good and tough hole where I should have made par after that tee shot.

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Nice views from 6th green

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This was one of my favourite holes on the course. A tricky and long par 4 with little room for error. I hit a good drive in the fairway and far enough to get a good view of the green

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Approach shot to 7th green

I hit a good approach shot to the green and got a par.

 

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7th green
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Hole 8, Par 3, 170m

beautiful par 3 with the mountains in the distance and water in front. It was slightly downwind so playing a bit shorter which meant I could hit a 6 iron.

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Hole , Par 5, 517m

Difficult to see the fairway from the tee as its protected by bunkers, but there is plenty of space. I hit a drive down the fairway and decided to lay up.

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9th green

Made par to finish the first nine in 39 shots, which I was happy with.

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Hole 10, Par 5, 468m

Good opening hole to the back nine. It is reachable if you get a good drive down the fairway.

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approach to 10th hole

I tried to reach the green in two, but hooked the ball right into the water. Bogey….

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Hole 12, Par 3, 172m

Excellent par 3 with beautiful surroundings. I played the course in May and as you can see it is autumn where the leaves are falling down. I hit a good 6 iron and made par.

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View back down the 12th hole – great winter day weather
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Hole 13, Par 4, 392m

Another one of my favourite holes, the scenery is just fantastic. Dogleg left to right and puts pressure on hitting a good drive. I took the aggressive line over the left hand bunker and found the fairway.

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13th green
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Hole 14, Par 4, 365m

Another stunning par 4. Only 365m but plenty of bunkers to take any wayward tee shots. I managed to get another good drive, approach and made par.

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Greenside bunker on 15th

15th is a 380m par 4 slightly uphill. As you can see from above I found the bunker on my seconds, but got away with a par which was nice.

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Hole 17, Par 4, 160m

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17th is a really good par 3 over water. Playing 160m I hit a 6 iron and managed to find the right hand side of the green and made par.

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Hole 18, Par 5, 450m

Even though it is relatively short par 5, the tee shot is tricky with a narrow landing area. I went for the driver and hit it solid down the fairway. The green is well protected by water so I decided to layup short of the green.

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approach to 18th 

It is a very good finishing hole. My game plan of laying up paid of as I hit my approach pretty close and made the only birdie on the round. I was satisfied with my 78. It is not a particularly long course, but has some difficult holes where the tee shot is important. The course condition was pretty good even though they had maintenance done a week before. I can thoroughly recommend playing it.

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Somerset Hills Country Club, New Jersey

Somerset Hills set in New Jersey is a private club from 1899 and course design by A.W Tillinghast.

I played the course in August 2015 on a sunny summer day. I arrived early in the morning and the sprinklers where still running upon my tee off. The course had soft lush fairways where the ball almost sits teed up on the grass.

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Hole 2, Par 3, 160m

First hole is a slight dogleg left to right par 4 relatively straight forward if you have a caddie that can give you good directions on where to aim. 2nd hole a downhill par 3 where I missed long and left. A quite elevated green so not the place to miss it and made bogey.

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3rd from the fairway

3rd green also a elevated green which I hit but 3 putted for bogey.

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Hole 4, Par 3, 382m
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4th green

4th is an interesting green which you can tell from the picture. It has some severe hills and elevations that should be avoided if can.

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slope on the par 5 9th

The front nine is relatively open and straight forward holes and the back nine is a very different starting from the 11th.

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Hole 11, Par 4, 354m

As you can see from above it is a narrow tee shot. It doglegs almost 90 degrees to the right so really a precision shot from the tee.

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11th from the fairway

Second shot uphill to a green with a big bunker on the left hand side and water if you miss further left. A really good hole and rewarding to make par.

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hole 12, Par 3, 118m

Best hole on the course with beautiful view. The pin position on the left hand side obviously brings the water more into play and I hit a great shot over the pin a little long. Didnt get the birdie….

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Hole 15, Par 4, 342m

A dogleg left to right with trees on both sides. Requires accuracy from the tee, but a good tee shot will be rewarded.

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Fairway on 15th

After a good drive you still have a challenging approach with water in front and on the left hand side of the green.

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15th green
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18th approach

Finishing hole a short par 4 uphill. Risk reward hole for long hitters. I managed to get my only birdie on the 18th which was a nice way to finish.

The course was in very good condition and especially liked the majority of the back nine where you have holes with more character and course management becomes a bigger part of your game. It is a lovely course overall and a place you should play if possible.

My score of 76 was pretty good and the back nine 36 was satisfying. I didn’t make many mistakes which can really cost you on the back nine where the course is more difficult.

 

 

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European Club, Ireland

The European Club is located about 1 hours drive from Dublin right on the coast. It is a links course designed by Pat Ruddy who has fulfilled his dream of owning his own golf course after designing several others.

I played the course during a golfing trip to ireland where we also played some of the more famous course like Royal County Down, Portrush etc… and none of us had playing The European before so we had no impression or expectations. We were positively impressed with the course design, layout and quality. The practice facilities deserves an upgrade, especially the quality of balls used – however, visitors like us mainly come for the course experience.

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1st hole

Already from the first hole you get a good idea of what to expect with. The unique bunker look that stands out in the distance from the tee and holes that require good course management.

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Hole 2, Par 3, 135m

Short second hole par 3, but tricky green with run off areas to feed your ball away from the green and the bunkers in front.

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closeup on 2 green with well shaped small bunkers

Below the par 3 6th hole with the water running down the left hand side of the green and the bunkers guarding the front.

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Hole 6, Par 3, 161m
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Hole 12, Par 4, 400m

On the 12th you play right alongside the ocean and the next holes was my favourite stretch of the course. The weather was very cool when in the morning but we where lucky that it cleared up and the sun came out on the back 9.

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Hole 15, Par 4, 346m

The beautiful views from 15th tee with the bunkers protecting the left hand side of the fairway and the ocean on the other.

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15th green
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18th fairway
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18th view to green and clubhouse

A strong finishing par 4 that requires 2 good shots to get on the green. The water running in front of the green is well placed and is probably a busy place for many golfers.

I shot 83, but missed to many GIR based on a pretty good day from the tee with the driver.  The experience was good and especially when comparing to the fact that we played some top courses just before The European. The whole story around the course and Pat is great and just shows that creating your own course can be done if you really want it….

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Teeth of the Dog, Dominican Republic

Teeth of the Dog on the Dominican Republic is one of my most memorable trips for golf and pleasure. I stayed at the resort for a week with the family and it was fantastic. We enjoyed the facilities and the private golf cart allocated to each room allowed us to drive around the resort and for dinner down the harbour. The driving range is easy accessible when you stay at the resort and I practised almost daily for some hours.

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short game area

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Teeth of the dog course is next to the driving range and if you also want to play Dye Fore its a short drive away. I played both courses and Teeth of the Dog is by far the best experience as expected. Dye Fore is a different layout set up higher in the hills away from the ocean and I would have preferred to play Teeth twice instead.

I played Teeth on my own with a caddie during the afternoon where the course was quite. The weather was great, but it was more windy than usual according to the caddie. The first hole is a short par 4 which I didnt manage to par, but made bogey.

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Eagle putt on 3rd hole

I hit a good drive on 3rd and managed to get 6 iron the green. Eagle putt that I holed and suddenly I was 1 under par.

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Tee on 4th hole
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4th green, great views
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Famous 5th par 3

It is special to stand on the 5th tee and looking out on the ocean. The wind was strong on this short but tricky par 3.

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5th green

Missed my shot to the right side of the green as you can see on the pictures. Didnt manage to get up and down.

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tee on 6th hole

Another great looking tee off on 6th hole. I missed the fairway right and made bogey.

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7th hole

Another great par 3 and longer than the 5th hole.

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7th green
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8th green with the waves crashing in behind the green and large runoff.

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9th hole a long par 5 where you stand to move more inland. I made birdie to be out in 1 over par 37, which was very nice.

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1tth green

11th is another par 4 with water and a huge bunker on the right.

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15th green
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16th par 3
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17th tee
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17th green

15th onwards you are back along the ocean on beautiful holes with spectacular views. The course was is really good condition with fast greens.

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18th hole back up to the clubhouse
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approach to 18th

I hit a good drive, but a poor second shot and resulted in a finishing bogey. Overall a good score of 76 with an eagle and 2 birdies. I played in just over 2 hours and had fantastic time on this great course with memorable views.

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Torrey Pines, USA

Torrey Pines in south california was one of the first course I played along the California coast line. I decided to try my luck and show up early to book a tee time the same day. I arrived at 6AM and got a tee time slot around 1PM the same. In the meantime I went to Carlsbad to get fitted for new irons and ended up getting the Taylormade CB tour prefered. The course was well visited that day which I assume is the standard. The clubhouse is old and outdated. It was expecting something more appropriate for this type of venue. The course however was great and the views amazing.

3rd par 3
3rd par 3

When you reach the 3rd and look out on the ocean it is just a stunning view. There is a hang glider spot just to the left side of the green and it was busy when we played.

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Hang gliders quietly flying along the 4th hole

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par 5, 13th
par 5, 13th

13th is a straight par 5 but with a downhill slope within driving distance and leaves you a reachable green in 2. However the green is well protected by bunkers, especially in front of the green.

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I didn’t play that well and ended up with an 89, missing most drives to the right and hardly hitting in GIR. The rough was difficult and made it tough to score when I didn’t hit many fairways. It was still a good experience and the course was in nice condition. The holes close to the ocean is the main attraction in my opinion and the rest is nothing spectacular. It is not high on my list of courses I will prioritize to play again, as California has so many other really good courses.

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Old Town Club, USA

Old Town Club in North Carolina is a private country club from 1939 designed by Perry Maxwell.

I played the course in November 2016 with a member of the club. The weather was chilly in the morning but soon became nice and warm with hardly any wind. The greens were running 12-13 on the stimp and was playing really difficult. Your putting will be challenged on this course, even at slower greens. They were building a new spa and swimming pool whilst I was visiting and it is a really nice country club where I could spend countless days playing golf and enjoying the facilities.

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approach shot to 1st green

First hole is a downhill drive that leaves you a mid iron to the green if you come up short of the hazard running along across the fairway. I hit an 8 iron for my second shot and finished pin high on the left-hand side of the green. Pretty difficult putt that first went significantly uphill and then downhill towards the pin. My first 3 putt and a bogey.

approach to 5th hole
approach to 5th hole

5th hole is dogleg left and as you can see from above a green that you want to miss anywhere really. I hit a good drive a pitching wedge for my 2 shot that was just long of the flag. However it left me with a downhill right to left putt which was really quick and resulted in another 3 putt and I had 3 x 3 putts on the front nine.

Par 3 6th hole
Par 3 6th hole

A beautiful par 3 playing just under 160m that day. A large green that you preferably want to be on in the middle to left hand side to avoid run off areas. My 6 iron ended up 4m left of the pin and I made my only birdie of the day.

7th
7th
Par 3 11th
Par 3 11th

Another good par 3 playing 178m and you have water on the left and a big bunker the right, needless to say – just hit the green…

14th green
14th green
15th green, the toughest par 3 on the course
15th green, the toughest par 3 on the course playing close to 200m
elavation up to 16th green
elevation up to 16th green
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17th tee, where I hit my tee shot in the right hand hazard and my 3rd into hazard – triple bogey…
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17th green
18th approach
18th approach

I was reasonably happy with my front nine score of 39 with 3×3 putts and 100% fairways hit + almost 80% greens. The back nine was a disaster with 46 shots. The course was in good shape overall and after the first 6 holes my putting had adjusted better to the greens. We played from the blue tees and that was a good test of golf at just over 6000m. I would certainly like to try this course again and try to improve on my score.

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Spyglass Hill, USA

Spyglass Hill is located in the beautiful Monterey peninsula along with a number of other great golf courses. I recently (october 2016) played the course and it was a really good experience. It was only my second time in the area and it really is a unique place on earth – especially for golf. I drove some of the 17 mile drive past Cypress point and even though it was raining heavily that day I would have loved to get out on Cypress. Due to the unpredictable and ever-changing weather I rescheduled my tee time and spent some time around Pebble Beach practice facilities.

Pebble beach short game area
Pebble beach short game area
Pebble Beach driving range
Pebble Beach driving range

I spent some hours practicing and could confirm to myself that I normally don’t spend enough time on this. Especially the short game practice really makes a difference and I felt more comfortable out on the course afterwards. I also had a chance to try the PXG 0311T irons for the first time and lets just say – it is on my list of future equipment purchases.

My rescheduled tee time was the first one at 07.20am and I came early to hit a few balls.

Spyglass Hill driving range
Spyglass Hill driving range
Great little feature on the driving range balls
Great little feature on the driving range balls, keep up pace

First time I have seen the 4.30 keep pace on range balls and hopefully it has an impact on players pace – especially on course like this where it is pretty busy all year.

1st tee on a stunning morning in october
1st tee on a stunning morning in october

Rescheduling my tee time turned out to be a good decision and it was fantastic to get up on the first tee in the sunrise.

approach to 1st green
approach to 1st green

The 1st hole is pretty straight forward without too much trouble. Dogleg slightly left par 5 downhill. My opening drive was straight down the middle but out of reach in 2 shots. Lay up to 120m and hit a good 9 iron on the green pin high. Started with a par.

2nd tee
2nd tee

2nd hole is a short par 4 up hill and requires an accurate tee short to leave yourself a wedge to the green. I hit a 4 wood just right of the fairway and pushed my wedge just left of the green, but managed to get up and down for a par.

The view from the green is fantastic…

2nd green
2nd green
3rd hole
3rd hole

The view from the 3rd tee doesn’t come much better. There was hardly any wind and the water was quite. I hit a 9 iron on the green and two putted for par.

4th green
4th green

I was doing well after the first 3 holes and 3 pars. That changed after pulling my drive on 4th to the right which left myself 224 yards to the pin. Had to lay up and got on the green in 3 which resulted in a bogey. The hole is unique and mainly due to the shape and layout of the green. The approach shot is difficult and requires a good shot to get in close to the pin.

5th hole
5th hole

A hole that should be a straightforward par 3 a little uphill resulted in a double bogey. Came up short on the tee shot and in the bunker on second etc… its a unneccessary 5

6th tee
6th tee

The first 5 holes you can see the ocean and then it becomes a different course all together. You start heading into the woods with a tough uphill long par 4. As you can see from the picture the son was getting up and straight into our face. Also see the two deer that was standing there quietly and undisturbed during our tee off.

6th green
6th green

My drive found the fairway and I had a 198 yard shot uphill which I got on the green. Didnt read my putt well enough and ended up with a 3 putt 5. Generally I found that the greens had more break that it read and that took a bit of getting use to. The greens where in great shape and good speed.

7th tee
7th tee

I hit my drive right on 7th which left no change of getting on the green in 2. I hit a couple of poor shots, but got my par with a good 1 putt.

8th approach
8th approach

8th is a tough uphill par 4 with a narrow driving area and elevated green. I found the fairway on the drive and hit a good 6 iron on the green.

9th tee
9th tee

Another par 4 that requires a couple of good shots. I found the fairway again, but missed my approach shot to the left of the green. The rough was deep but played fair, so you can make some good saves even though you miss the green. On 9th I hit a good chip, but missed the putt, so a bogey to finish the front 9 in 41 shots. I would expect to make a few bogeys, but the double on 5th was a bad score and I didn’t really set myself up for any realistic birdie chances – all in all a reasonable front 9

10th hole
10th hole

The tee shot has to be accurate drive to leave an open shot to the green. The left side of the fairway is blocked by a couple of trees, so ideally you need to drive it down the right side which I managed to do a left myself a 9 iron to the green that is well protected by bunkers. My approach went just over the green which is no go, but I still got away with it and saved par.

11th tee
11th tee

A dogleg right and risk/reward from the tee. I hit my drive to far to the right, but still left myself a 6 iron to the green from the rough. Hit a poor shot and came up short. Hit a good 3rd shot which left me with the most realistic birdie chance of the day, but missed it.

well bunkered approach to 11th
well bunkered approach to 11th
12th hole
12th hole

Really good-looking par 3 downhill. Water on the left and bunkers on the right, so not much to do but hit it on the green. I did, but 3 putted for a bogey.

13th tee
13th tee

Well placed fairway bunkers on this slight dogleg left par 4. My drive found the semi rough on the right and I hit my second shot in the green side bunker. Hit a good sand shot and saved par.

14th green
14th green

This a great par 5 that doglegs slightly both ways on the way to a well protected green with water in the front. I hit a really bad drive into the right hand woods, but got out of well. Left myself a 9 iron from the rough which came up short and resulted in a bogey.

16th
15th

Another great par 3 and was playing 135 yards downhill. The pin was tucked away in the right hand corner and I tried to go straight for it. Missed it just right and had to rely on my short game again to save par.

16th tee
16th tee

One of the most difficult par 4s on the course and to get a reasonable look at the green you need to hit a good drive down the right hand side. From the tee you cannot see a tree that blocks out on the right side, so again it puts pressure on the tee shot to be long and accurate. I did the opposite and hit my drive left into the woods and hit a couple of bad shots afterwards which led to the double bogey.

my approach to 16th
my approach to 16th
17th tee
17th tee

You cannot see the landing area from the tee and there are many bunkers. Probably one of my best drives over the left hand bunker and leaving myself 80 yards to the green. I hit a really bad second shot left of the green and didn’t recover for par.

looking back down 17th from the green
looking back down 17th from the green
18th hole
18th hole

Straightforward par 4 that is protected by bunkers. I hit a drive to the right that took a trip down the cartpath and even though I was close to the green I was blocked out and had to hit a low chasing shot towards the green that went in the deep right hand bunker. Finished with a bogey and a score of 83.

Overall Spyglass Hill is a really good course and the combination of holes that run close to the ocean and the majority in the woods is nice. It requires precision and good course management. The course condition was immaculate and I could not have asked for better weather than this. My game was not 100% and if it wasnt because my recovery performance was 41% it would have been a much higher score. I would like to come back and try again some day as I left to many shots out there and made some bad mistakes.

 

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Bethpage (Black), USA

Bethpage (Black)  has hosted US Open several times and designed by A.W. Tillinghast. Bethpage is also home to 5 other public courses and is about 1 hour drive from Manhattan depending on traffic. I have read many stories around getting tee times and sleeping overnight. I tried to book through the complicated phone system and did not succeed, so instead I decided to try my chances with the walk-up times during the morning. It was a friday in september and I left Manhattan at 4AM and got there at 5AM, where I took the 13th spot on the parking lot. I went to have a chat with the guy parked next to me (Ed from Ireland) who was a regular at the course. He explained the procedure to me and as usual the attendant showed up at 05.30AM and handed out numbers. We drove to the clubhouse car park and joined the cue for a tee time.

waiting for tee time allocation
waiting for tee time allocation

It did not take long at I got 08.12AM together with Ed and 2 other players, where one of them also was a regular visitor. I was pleased to get out relatively early and this was mainly due to some of the earlier people to arrive was playing the other courses and apparently some people still get there early to get out on the first tee slots and go around the course quickly.  You get a wrist band and matching tee time ticket. The wrist band is removed on the 1st tee. We went for breakfast at the restaurant – Taste 99

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After breakfast the sun was getting up and I went to have a look in the proshop for a souvenir. I ended up getting a towel with the well-known “warning” statement from the 1st tee printed on it. I have visited so many different pro shops around the world on great golf courses and have stopped buying too many souvenirs as is just stacks up at home. Many of the Proshops have similar merchandise and even though it is tempting to get 1 item from each place as a memory from all the courses, I have decided to let this blog and pictures be my ultimate souvenir.

Next stop the driving range, which Ed had already warned me was nothing special and it is difficult to disagree with him. The driving range and clubhouse is where you see the difference to some of private clubs where the invest more money is creating nice facilities as well as on the course.

Driving range
Driving range

After 20 balls on the range I went to the first tee and practiced my putting.

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1st tee is organized well and you are expected to be there 20 minutes before your tee time where you line up and wait for the start to call your tee time. It is especially good as you get a view of everybody teeing of on the first hole and a chance to get the compulsory picture below…2016-09-23-08-03-08

It was tee off time and I decided to play from the white tees even though it was tempting to go Blues together with one of my playing partners that was a regular on the course and a 2 hcp. As expected I would realize during my round that the white tees are difficult enough…

approach to 1st green
approach to 1st green

I hit a good drive down the fairway and left myself a 6 iron approach shot which I unfortunately missed right into the green side bunker. Really good bunker shot and what should have been an easy putt that I missed. There is limited break on the greens and even though you see a break it is better to hit it inside the hole as I found out on the 1st green. I did not believe it was straight and missed it.

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2nd hole a short par 4 dogleg left.

I hit my drive a bit long in the rough, but managed to get my second shot on the green. It is severely up hill and you can hardly see the pin.

approach to 2nd hole
approach to 2nd hole
3rd hole par 3
3rd hole par 3

3rd is a good looking par 3 where you do not want to go long. I found the front side sand trap and made bogey.

Par 5, 4th hole
Par 5, 4th hole

This is a really good par 5 and where I really found out how difficult the course can play. I hit my drive just a bit too long and ended up the rough. Decided to hit an iron over the big bunker to give myself a wedge to the green. Good plan, but I did not get good contact from the heavy rough which meant going into the bunker. Poor bunker shot that came up short into the next bunker and my first but not last double bogey of the round. Needless to say that the rough is as difficult as you hear and in many cases you just have to play out and see it as a penalty.

Par 4, 5th hole
Par 4, 5th hole

A good looking dogleg right where you drive is as important as ever. I hit a good drive, but just missed the fairway and being in the rough I couldn’t get in on the green and made bogey.

Tee shot on 7th
Tee shot on 6th
approach to 6th
approach to 6th

A really good drive will take you down the bottom of the hill on 6th, but there really no need to take that risk as it is a short par 4 and it is better to be on the top of hill with a full shot in my opinion. I hit the sand trap on the right side of the fairway and got on the green in 2 shots – made par.

Par 5, 7th
Par 5, 7th

A severe dogleg right, where I was pleased to get the line from my playing partners. I hit a good drive just left of the trees and was in the fairway with 220 yards to the green.

approach to 7th
approach to 7th

Missed the green, but got a par anyway. It is a good birdie opportunity, especially if your tee shot is good.

7th green
7th green
Par 3, 8th
Par 3, 8th

It was playing 165 yards downhill and hit a 7 iron to the middle of the green. Only hole with water in play.

big bunker on 9th hole
big bunker on 9th hole

A relatively short par 4, but almost 90 degree dogleg left where the fairway is definitely preferable as on all holes for Bethpage Black.

approach to 9th
approach to 9th

I found the fairway with my drive and was left with 170 yards to the green and another pin where you couldn’t see the bottom of the pin. Didnt hit my approach shot well and went in the bunker – another bogey and out in 42 shots which was reasonable as I didn’t feel like I had played to well anyway.

10th tee shot
10th tee shot

One of the longer par 4s, but a straight forward drive – however quite narrow fairway. I went in the lefthand rough and into the front green bunker, which left myself below shot.

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As you can see a deep bunker and a good time to hit my best bunker shot of the day that ended up 1m from the hole. Very rewarding par on this hole.

tee shot on 12th
tee shot on 12th

Another blind tee shot where I thank my playing partners for the line. I hit my drive over the bunkers and in the fairway. I hit a good second shot that was in the fringe. Managed to get my par on a difficult par 4.

repairing turf
nice to see the staff out repairing turf
12th green
12th green
tee shot on 13th
tee shot on 13th
2nd shot on 13th
2nd shot on 13th
13th green
13th green

13th is the last par 5 and one of the more generous fairways on the course. The second shot is more tricky and preferably go over the bunker and leave a short pitch to the green. I hit the fairway but missed my second left of the bunker in the fairway. Got on the green and made par.

Par 3, 14th
Par 3, 14th

Short par 3 with a large green. Run off on the back of the green and you do not want to go long. I hit the GIR and 2 putted for par.

Par 4, 15th
Par 4, 15th

A long par 4 dogleg left with elevated green and well bunkered short of the green. Requires 2 good shots to get on the green.

view from 15th fairway
view from 15th fairway

I hit a really poor drive OB left and made par with my second ball for a double bogey – obviously not the way  to play it.

16th
16th

A long par 4 where the fairway is a must to give yourself a good chance of reaching the green. I missed it right, but somehow managed to get the ball on the green and 2 putt for par.

typical rough lie that might not look too bad, but it is really difficult to get good contact and advance the ball significantly
typical rough lie that might not look too bad, but it is really difficult to get good contact and advance the ball significantly
Par 3, 17th
Par 3, 17th

Uphill par 3 on a 178 yards. You really need to hit the number to stay on the green. It came up short in the bunker and made bogey.

17th bunker shot
17th bunker shot
18th tee shot
18th tee shot

Even though it is a short finishing hole I really like the design of bunkers in the landing area. You need to decide whether to play safe short and leave a longer second shot uphill to the green or risk the bunkers. I hit my driver left in the bunkers, but got on the green in two and made par.

I shot 81 with 2 double bogeys and 9 bunker shots. Didnt play great, but managed to get around in a decent score anyway. Didnt make any birdies and only really had 1 good chance.

I have been reflecting on my view of the course after playing it a couple of days ago. My expectations where high and I was probably expecting an even better course. Maybe it is because I do not like playing to greens where you can not see the bottom of the flag and prefer links type courses running along the ocean. It is a good course and it was in good shape. I like the way bunkers have been placed and designed to make it both challenging and beautiful, but after playing many courses I have higher overall expectations to the courses. It is an”easy” difficult course, meaning that if you play well from the tee it is not that difficult to get a decent score. There is only water on one hole and the bunkers are playable, so there are limited problems. The rough is the real penalty and for me also the layout where you can’t see the approach shots makes it more challenging.

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Harbour Town Links, USA

Harbour Town links is home to the Heritage Classic PGA tournament and designed by Pete Dye. I visited the course in August 2016 and played from the Dye Tees just over 6000 meters long. The weather was hot and humid as expected.

Billede 21-08-2016 17.01.20

I started with a quick warmup on the driving range and had a tee time with a couple of other holiday guests.

Billede 21-08-2016 12.50.23

The first hole is straight forward par 4, all though the landing area for your tee shot is narrow. My drive was good, but missed my second shot right of the green. No big issue, but still needed a good scramble for par which I managed.

Hole 1, Par 4, 392 yards
Hole 1, Par 4, 392 yards
2nd green
2nd green

The 2nd hole is a par 5 slightly dogleg right and important to keep the ball on the lefthand side of the fairway for the best approach to the green in two. I did the opposite and went right of the fairway in the fringe and had to play it as a 3 shot hole. It is pretty short for a par 5, but obviously the key is getting the approach shot.

approach to 3rd hole
approach to 3rd hole

3rd hole a straightforward par 4, where I missed my approach shot and didnt manage to scramble, so a bogey. Already know I felt that the first holes was pretty similar. Treelined holes and similar setup with either dogleg or relatively straight, so unlike what I consider a really top course where you remember a lot holes by the design and architecture. Harbour Town has a lot of similar holes on the course, but as I found out on the next hole – some great par 3s.

Billede 21-08-2016 13.41.18

The 4th is a really par 3, withe the water running from tee to green and putting pressure on hitting the right shot. I hit a 7iron and 2 putted for par.

Billede 21-08-2016 13.54.08

5th hole is another relatively short par 5, but your drive needs to be precise to avoid the right hand trees and the bunkers left of the fairway. I hit a solid drive just over the left-hand bunker and left myself a really good second shot that ended up in the fringe of the green. 2 putts and a nice birdie.

Billede 21-08-2016 14.09.18

Approach to the 6th hole par 4 dogleg right. Missed my drive left and the green on my second, but saved par. The course had been through maintenance 3 weeks before which was visible on fairways and greens. It was still in reasonable shape and the greens was fast, but wasnt up to perfect standards as you can expect during maintenance periods.

Billede 21-08-2016 14.18.06

7th hole another good par 3 with water in front and well protected by bunkers and the trees that will take any shots left or right. The green looks small from the tee due to the design of the hole and shape of the green. I hit an 8 iron on the green and got a par.

7th green
7th green
approach to 8th
approach to 8th

8th is a dogleg left where your drive is important to get the right angle to the green. I went a little long and left into the waste area under a tree. Did get on the green and manage to get par.

Houses running up 8th hole
Houses running up 8th hole

Billede 21-08-2016 14.38.06

9th hole is a good par 4. Short, but with focus on precision. I made a bad course management choice and ended up between the trees on the left-hand side with my driver. Should have taken a long iron or rescue club to play more safe and leave a longer shot, but with a bigger chance of getting on the green in two shots. I got the penalty with a double bogey and what could have been a front nine in par was instead a 38.

A quick thunderstorm and rain shower came across during a quick break at the halfway house and we were lucky not the get any other showers that day which was great.

approach to 10th
approach to 10th

10th a dogleg left where I decided to take a 4 wood from the tee to avoid the trees on the left hand side. Left myself a good approach shot and got a par.

Hole 11, Par 4, 413 yards
Hole 11, Par 4, 413 yards

Another par 4 which requires a good tee shot to give yourself this best approach. I went left from the tee and had no real shot to green. Ended up short left hand side, but made a great recovery for par.

11th green
11th green
approach to 12th
approach to 12th

Dogleg right and again your drive needs to be well placed to get the best approach. My drive was good, but second shot missed the green and a bogey.

approach to 13th
approach to 13th

13th is one of the better par 4s on the course and a real course management beauty. The tee shot is so important if you want to get on the green in two, otherwise you are blocked out. I had a blind second shot, so decided to hit in the bunker right of the green.

13th green
13th green
my 3rd shot to 13th
my 3rd shot to 13th

That did not turn out well as you can see from above I was to close to the edge being left handed and went into the bunker again on my 3rd and eventually a double bogey.

14th is the best par 3 on the course and we decided to play from the back tees at 192 yards. I remember this hole from watching the Heritage and the bailout is left of the green where you can a lot of pros end up. I had to take dead aim and hit a perfect 5 iron to 6 ft from the hole. Did not get my birdie which was annoying, but still a great hole.

approach to 15th
approach to 15th

On 15th we had some visitors in the lake.

Alligators on the 15th
Alligators on the 15th
Looking back down the 15th
Looking back down the 15th

15th is a nice long par 5 and I got my par even after a pretty bad drive right of the fairway.

approach to 16th
approach to 16th

Dogleg right with a big tree obstruction shots going too much right which I experienced and as a result a bogey.

Hole 17, par 3, 174 yards
Hole 17, par 3, 174 yards

Good par 3 with nice views. The pin was placed in the left hand corner and I had to try and go for it, which resulted in below approach shot.

from the bunker on 17th
from the bunker on 17th

Nearly impossible with my golf skills and also resulted in a double bogey after missing the shot long and of the green.

and of course the famous 18th which most keen golfers know. It is a good hole and a really strong finish to the course. I hit a great drive into the wind but hit my second shot left for a penalty shot and a double bogey.

18th Harbour Town
18th Harbour Town

It is a good course and like many others have experienced the last 4-6 holes is the best part of the course together with the par 3s. The rest of the course is nothing spectacular and like many other good courses around the world. I am happy to have played the course, but it is probably not a place I would visit again as there are many other courses that ranks higher in my mind.

I shot 81 with 4 double bogeys and the main mistakes where due to poor course management from my side and I should have listened more to the caddie. Otherwise a good round of golf with solid shots.

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Kiawah Island, Ocean

Kiawah Island in South Carolina is another top American course where they also host major tournaments and the PGA championship in 2021. I played the course in August 2016 and booked a tee time at 8AM in the morning to avoid too much heat and humidity. The drive through the resort is nice and the close you got to the Ocean course the more you realize how the terrain is going to be on the course.

one of the view whilst driving through the resort
one of the view whilst driving through the resort

Billede 22-08-2016 07.42.41

clubhouse from the parking space

clubhouse from the parking space side

I was really taken away by the views and scenery when arriving and walking into the clubhouse. It is a beautiful location which a nice view of the sea.

View from driving range
View from driving range
It was a clear sunny day and the sun rising.
It was a clear sunny day and the sun rising.

The first holes we played with the sun rising in the calm water. I played with 3 other guests and it was immediately a great group of golfers about to enjoy themselves in perfect conditions.

Hole 1, Par 4, 375yards
Hole 1, Par 4, 375 yards

Nice short opening hole where you can get away with a fairway miss. Most space to the left of the fairway and a sand hazard to the right with trees that might interrupt your second shot. I hit a driver in the semi-rough. 9 iron to the green and a 2 putt par.

Looking back down the fairway on 1st
Looking back down the fairway on 1st
Billede 22-08-2016 08.44.08
Hole 2, Par 5, 528 yards

Now you really start to see how Pete Dye designed the course to play with your mind. A good risk/reward par 5 where the sand runs along the left side of the fairway to catch a short drive and rough on the right hand side. Be aggressive and you could be rewarded with a putt for eagle, but also walk away with doubble bogey. I took my driver and played safe, which resulted in a semi rough second shot.

second shot on hole 2
second shot on hole 2

Again Pete Dye makes you think and either play safe for a longer 3rd shot or go over the hazard that runs across the fairway for a short pitch. I felt comfortable taking a rescue wood and played up about 50 yards short of the green.

2nd green
2nd green

I hit my approach onto the green and as you can there is run off areas around the green as throughout most the course. Another 2 putt for a par.

Hole 3, par 4, 367 yards
Hole 3, par 4, 367 yards

Another tricky drive where you need be accurate from the tee to get the best approach shot to the green. I hit a good drive to the left side of the fairway and was between 9 and Pitching wedge on my second shot. Here is where a great caddie makes the difference, he gave me good advice, precise yardage (in my case meters) which meant that I hit an almost full 9 iron pin high to set myself up for a birdie. Nice!

My birdie putt
My birdie putt
Hole 4, Par 4, 432 yards
Hole 4, Par 4, 432 yards

This is definitely one of the most difficult holes on the course. It requires some good shots to get a par. I hit a perfect drive down the fairway and was between 5 and 6 iron on the approach. Took the 5 iron and went just a bit long and was not able to recover for par – bogey instead…

4th green
4th green
Hole 5, Par 3, 185 yards
Hole 5, Par 3, 185 yards

Nice par 3 where I made a stupid course management mistake and went too much for the left hand pin instead of playing safe in the middle of the green. Went in the bunker pin high with a difficult sandshot that resulted in a bogey. The green is huge and a hole where it makes sense to just get in on the green and putt from there.

Hole 6, Par 4, 377 yards
Hole 6, Par 4, 377 yards

The drive here is pretty straight forward with plenty of space. The pin was also accessible when I played and placed in the front which made it easier. I hit a good drive and a wedge to the green that spun a bit too much and was in the fringe, made par.

6th green
6th green
Hole 7, Par 5, 505 yards
Hole 7, Par 5, 505 yards

Wide fairway that makes the drive the easier part of the hole, however it is more difficult to the second shot on the green.

7th green
7th green

It takes a great second shot to stay on the green and avoid run off or hazards. I went into the bunker on the left and hit a good third shot onto the green. Got a par.

Hole 8, Par 3, 170 yards
Hole 8, Par 3, 170 yards

Tricky par 3 hole where again you have the run off areas to take any shots off-line, which 2 of my playing partners experienced as you can see from picture. I hit a really solid 8 iron just short of the hole and made birdie.

Hole 9, Par 3, 415 yards
Hole 9, Par 3, 415 yards

Good finishing hole to the front 9, where there is space for the drive, but the second shot requires precision. You want to favour the left hand side of the fairway to give a shorter shot to the green, I did the opposite and hit my drive right in the rough. My second shot came up well short of the green as you can see from approach below.

my 3rd shot to 9th green
my 3rd shot to 9th green
View from 9th green
View from 9th green

I hit a decent chip as you can from above and made my par which resulted in an opening front 9 of 36 shots which I was really pleased with.

Some of the nice houses close to the course
Some of the nice houses close to the course
Hole 10, Par 4, 378 yards
Hole 10, Par 4, 378 yards

The design of the hole makes it look more difficult than it is, but there is actually more room out there then it looks. I hit a poor drive in the bunker short of the fairway and left an impossible shot to the green. It was followed by a poor approach and a double bogey start to the back nine.

10th green
10th green
Hole 11, Par 5, 521 yards
Hole 11, Par 5, 521 yards

Pretty wide fairway, where you want to avoid hitting into the right hand waste area that I did. I got a decent lie and manage to get within range for the 3rd shot to the green

approach to 11th
approach to 11th
Hole 12, Par 4, 420 yards
Hole 12, Par 4, 420 yards

Another wide fairway that is slightly down hill. I hit a great drive to wedge distance and as you can see below you do not want to miss the green anywhere but short. I went safe to the middle of the green, maybe a bit too save with a wedge in hand.

12th green
12th green
Hole 13, Par 4, 371 yards
Hole 13, Par 4, 371 yards

A really good looking risk/reward hole where you just need to decide how much to take off on the drive. I hit my worst drive all day left and long over the bunkers. Another bogey on the card.

13th green
13th green
Hole 14, Par 3, 171 yards
Hole 14, Par 3, 171 yards

The view is great on this difficult par 3. The wind has now picked up significantly and straight into playing 2 clubs longer. I hit a good shot that went just left of the green and into the deep grass between the bunker and green.

14th green
14th green

I thought I hit a good chip, but it rolled over the green and down the slope on the other side. Came up short and rolled down again – double bogey 5. I had played really well on the front nine, but was losing it on the back nine. Not because I wasnt hitting the ball well, but mainly because I just missed in the wrong places which really makes is tough to get around in low numbers.

15th approach
15th approach

Long par 4 when the wind is against you. I hit a good drive, but hit second left of the green which resulted in a bogey.

Hole 16, Par 5, 555 yards
Hole 16, Par 5, 555 yards

This is just a really long good par 5 with the wind into your face. Plenty of space, but just hit 3 solid shots to get on the green. Missed my drive just right into the rough. Hit a 4 wood and a 3 hybrid in my third shot to get on the green. 2 putt for a par.

16th green
16th green
Hole 17, Par 3, 191 yards
Hole 17, Par 3, 191 yards

This is one of the hardest par 3’s I have played with the wind we had. Above picture is from the back tee with 221 yards to the green protected by water and bunkers. I hit a 3 hybrid pin high but just left of the bunker with a difficult chip. Made bogey.

17th green
17th green
Hole 18, Par 4, 421 yards
Hole 18, Par 4, 421 yards

Many great courses have superb finishing holes and so does Kiawah Island. 18th a difficult par 4 dogleg left to right. Keep close to right hand side, but avoid the bunkers and it will leave a good approach shot. I hit my drive long and left with 235 yards into the green. Played up just right of the green, but did not manage to get up and down for par. Another bogey and dissapointing back nine  45 shots.

18th green
18th green

Billede 22-08-2016 13.29.01

I was still pleased with my score of 81 shots, but felt it could have been really good after the opening 9. The course was in fantastic shape and luckily they had decided not to aerify the course during august. The overall experience ranks high on my list and I will be back again one day. I would love to stay at the resort and play some of the other courses as well.

My score

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Alcanada, Mallorca

Alcanada is one of my favourite courses in Mallorca and the Balearic islands. It is usually in pretty good condition and offer some spectacular views of the mediterranean sea.

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On the range warming up. You can practice on either mats or grass. It is one of the better facilities in Mallorca, but I prefer Son Gual if it is for practice.

Billede 22-07-2016 16.52.53

Approach shot the 1st hole, which is a short par 5 downhill. You can spot the pin between the trees and the approach shot is the tricky part of this hole due to hazard and trees in front of the green.

Billede 22-07-2016 16.54.18

I managed to get my second shot on the green and 2 putted for a birdie, nice start to the round…

Billede 22-07-2016 17.40.45

5th green, a dogleg rigth par 4 to a green with trees and water in the background. Managed to get my par after a good drive down the fairway.

Billede 22-07-2016 17.53.50

Par 5, 7th where you really start to get the great ocean view. Downhill with a steep slope after the bunker in the middle of the fairway. If you can get the ball down the slope you will have a chance for the green in 2 shots. I hit my drive right and got a par

Billede 22-07-2016 18.06.14A view of the 7th green and back up the fairway.

Billede 22-07-2016 18.28.31

Tee shot on par 4 9th hole. Great view and a nice hole overall. Got a nice birdie on the hole with a chip in from the rough – lucky, but sometimes that also golf…. I was 1 over par after the first 9 holes. The course is not that difficult and only plays around 6100 yards from the yellow tees. My 3 birdies on the front nine obviously made a difference to my score…

Billede 22-07-2016 18.48.49

Stunning views on par 5 11th.

Billede 22-07-2016 19.14.19

elevated tee box on 13th with sea views.

Billede 22-07-2016 19.14.49

Another great hole with spectacular views. Par 5 13th. Hit your drive over the bunker in the middle will leave a mid to long iron. I hit my drive left of the bunker and my second shot was a little to long and ended up behind the green.

Billede 22-07-2016 19.23.12

13th green

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Par 3 14th where I hit a good 9 iron and made birdie.

Billede 22-07-2016 19.35.38

Par 4 15th where I hit my drive down the fairway and a good wedge just short of the hole. Didnt manage to convert the birdie.

Billede 22-07-2016 19.39.03

15th green

Billede 22-07-2016 19.50.50

Approach to 16th green.

I shot a 1 over par 73, which I was pleased with. 4 birdies was great and I generally played well with 61% GIR.

I have seen the course in better shape and the greens were slow compared to when I have played before. It is always a good experience and if you get a chance visit the restaurant.

 

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Swinley Forest, UK

Swinley Forest (1909)

Swinley Forest is located close to some of the famous golf courses (Sunningdale & Wentworth) but a very different experience overall. Swinley doesnt have an official website, so it took some time to get a tee time. In one way very old fashioned, but somehow it is part of the whole experience of going to Swinley Forest. When we visited in it was a very quiet day, which I somehow got the feeling was pretty much the case most days. The ladies had just teed off and we walked around the clubhouse and sat down for lunch outside. Only 2 other golfers teed off in the next couple of hours, which also meant that our entire round felt liked we were there on our own. Everybody was very friendly and welcoming, which only made the whole experience even better.

Entrance to the clubhouse.
Entrance to the clubhouse.
View from first floor dining area in the clubhouse.
View from first floor dining area in the clubhouse.
View from 1st floor terrace overlooking the putting green, 1st and 18th hole.
View from 1st floor terrace overlooking the putting green, 1st and 18th hole.
Eggs benedict and reading up on the course
Eggs benedict and reading up on the course. Best Eggs benedict I have had in a UK golf club.

It is a relatively short course by todays standards and we decided to play for the back tees. It’s a par 68 and just over 6000 yards from the back tee.

Hole 1, Par 4, 332m
Hole 1, Par 4, 332m

1st hole on Swinley which has a reasonably wide fairway and slightly uphill to the green on your second. A nice opening hole, where I managed to hit the fairway and came up just short of the green on the second shot. Up and down for a par.

Hole 2, Par 4, 325m
Hole 2, Par 4, 325m

2nd hole on Swinley has a blind tee shot, but is relatively short so you don’t need to hit driver. I hit a driver and had a wedge to green, which I missed severely to the right which resulted in a well-deserved bogey after a poor second shot.

Approach to green on 2nd hole
Approach to green on 2nd hole
Hole 4, Par 3, 156m
Hole 4, Par 3, 156m

4th hole a beautiful par 3 protected by bunkers and with the pin position close to the front edge on the right it played difficult. Missed my first shot pin high on the semirough around the green. Didn’t managed to get up and down, so another bogey.

Hole 5, Par 5, 438m
Hole 5, Par 5, 438m

5th hole and the only par 5 on the course. Fairway view above and an wide fairway. Missed my drive to the right of the bunkers but had a good lie. Took a bad decision to go for the green in 2, but missed in right and got a rough lie. Long on the 3rd shot and ended up with a bogey 6. Bad score, bad shot and bad course management.

Hole 7, Par 4, 359m
Hole 7, Par 4, 359m

7th hole a par 5 uphill, where you I hit my drive up just short of the mounts crossing the fairway. Second shot is almost an uphill blind shot and you need to try your yardage.

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7th green with the large rhododendrons behind the green. We played in june and I can imagine that they would have looked even more beautiful a month earlier. Generally there is many rhododendrons throughout the course and that really gives it character. I came up just short of the green and didn’t manage to get up and down – bogey.

Hole 8, Par 3, 128m
Hole 8, Par 3, 128m

Par 3 8th where you can see the severe slope on the right and also sloping away in front of the green. Best place is obviously on the green, but otherwise short is the place to be. I hit my shot on the green and got a par.

Hole 9, Par 4, 372m
Hole 9, Par 4, 372m

Par 4 9th a dogleft left to and one of the longest on the course. The second shot is a difficult uphill. I hit the fairway and a really good second shot which I converted to a birdie.

rain

Walking up the 9th it started raining heavily and we took shelter at the halfway house. Good timing for a quick lunch break. Rain was over in 15 minutes and we could continue.

Hole 12, Par 4, 393m
Hole 12, Par 4, 393m

Tee shot on the long par 4 12th hole.

Approach shot to the 12th hole. Almost enclosed green surrounded by the beautiful rhododendrons.
Approach shot to the 12th hole. Almost enclosed green surrounded by the beautiful rhododendrons.
Hole 13, Par 3, 152m
Hole 13, Par 3, 152m

13th par 3 with bunkers in front. My fellow golfer and I both hit very nice 5 irons close to the pin. I got my birdie…yes…

Hole 14, Par 4, 323m
Hole 14, Par 4, 323m

14th par 4 – fairway, green and 2 putts for a par.

Hole 15, Par 4, 395m
Hole 15, Par 4, 395m

Par 4 15th we an elevated green with severe runoff in the front

15th green where you get an idea of how important it is to hit the right part of the green. I managed to get a par, which was very satisfying on this tricky hole
15th green where you get an idea of how important it is to hit the right part of the green. I managed to get a par, which was very satisfying on this tricky hole
Hole 17, Par 3, 155m
Hole 17, Par 3, 155m

Par 3 17th where the green is well protected by bunkers and elevated. Puts pressure on the tee shot being spot on, which I didn’t manage to do. Hit in the bunker left and got a bogey.

Hole 18, Par 4, 311m
Hole 18, Par 4, 311m

Par 4 18th with the clubhouse in the background. There is a water hazard running across the fairway that you preferably need to carry to leave a short shot to the green. I hit the fairway and green, but 3 putted for a bogey – bad way to finish a nice day of golf.

Clubhouse view from the 18th green
Clubhouse view from the 18th green

The course was a very good shape, even though the greens were running rather slowly and it looked like they hadn’t been cut recently. The greens are good, but not 100% perfect and true. I shot 77 on a par 68, which I was happy with. It is a course I would like to play again, especially if the greens where running a bit faster as it would be even more challenging and rewarding at the same time.

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