I am looking out of the clubhouse window at the greenkeeping staff working on the 18th green enjoying a wonderful freshly made bacon butty and coffee and memories come flooding back of playing in the Canterbury menís Open and shooting a final round 68 to win the scratch prize. It could have been so much better but for a 7 on the par 3, 8th hole that was my 17th Ė I played the back nine first, 64 would have been my lowest round of golf to date and would still be the amateur course record here.
After an interesting chat with YouTube star Danny Maude who is the pro here, I am sending my ball arrowing at the marker post on the first hole, itís a blind tee shot but donít worry there is plenty of fairway to hit. Its mid-March and quite cold so the ball isnít flying so far, so I have a hybrid into the green for my second shot and a chip and putt sees me make par. The 2nd brings up the first of five par 3s and there is not a weak hole among them, they have extended the tee on the 5th which now measures 175-yards from the back tee, but itís the 11th that will take most of the accolades as you play to a raised green through a tunnel of trees, when the trees and flowers are in full bloom it is a wonderful golf hole.
While the first and third have blind tee shots, itís when I arrive at the elevated tee on the 6th that my memory kicks in, itís a great golf hole that just makes you want to smash driver when I played in that open I was playing with balata balls and a Mizuno persimmon driver, today I am testing the new Callaway Epic Flash and hit one out of the middle leaving me a little wedge in.
Two par 5s sandwich ďthat par 3!Ē and give you a great chance to finish the front nine on a high. The 10th is all risk and reward as there is a ditch that is at the bottom of the hill and while I have left my drive just short today, come the summer months with the warmer climate and more run on the ball it is very much in play, do you lay-up or do you try to carry it?
The 12th and 13th holes are again played from elevated tees and for me the 12th slightly edges it on the aesthetics front with the fairway surrounded by trees that runs from right to left with a stream running along the left-hand side of the fairway in the landing area and come the summer with hard running fairways you really need to aim at the trees on the right.
Miss the green at the par 3, 17th could see you ruin your scorecard, walking away with three will see you gain on the field. The finale is a par 5 that offers a birdie chance but there is also OOB on the right-hand side and the green sits just outside the clubhouse. Itís a well-designed hole that brings this 6,272-yard Harry Colt design to a close. Donít be fooled by that length; it certainly plays longer than that and will test every aspect of your golf game.
Top The stunning Par 3, 12th hole. Above 9th, clubhouse and 18th hole