Above: Looking back down 5th hole which has water all along the right of the 546-yards par 5
Itís not many times that you get to step onto a track that was designed by probably the two best golfers that the sport has seen. The King and Bear, as the nicknames suggest, was designed by Arnold Palmer (The King) and Jack Nicklaus (The Golden Bear). As I stand on the first tee they certainly set their combined stalls out from the start.
Before me is a carry-over water and a large bunker to the fairway beyond. I check the yardage book and from the stone tees we are playing from its 308 yards to the bunker on the far side of the fairway. Blocking everything out of my mind I smash my drive and manage to hit the middle of the fairway and we are off.
It's a great opening hole, but I would make sure that you take full advantage of the fantastic practice facilities before you hit the first tee. There are five teeing option here measuring 7,279 yards from the stone tees to 5,987 from the green tees, so you have plenty to choose from. Or you could go for a mix-and-match playing the par-3s from one of the back tees if you so choose, or one of the forward tees if some of the carries over water look a bit daunting.
No matter what tees you choose you will enjoy this track. There is water on 17 of the 18 holes but it doesnít really come into play on a lot of them. It does on the tee shot on the 2nd with another carry over water, but donít worry ¨¨Ė there are bail out areas or as I said earlier you can choose a tee where the water doesnít come into play.
Both Arnold and Jack have their favourite holes, Arnoldís being the risk-and-reward 360-yard 15th where water runs all the way along the right-hand side leaving you to decide how much you want to take on. While Jack chooses the demanding 467-yard 16th that plays through pines to a large sloping green.
My favourite hole has to be the 412-yard par-4 12th known as Hidden Lake. If you get a good drive away you only have an 8-iron into the green over water and I just love the look for that second shot. And from the angle you come in from you play to a shallow green, that seems to sit in a valley with a lone bunker to the right to catch anything short.
I also enjoy the dog-leg left 427-yard 17th where you tee off over a small pound through a funnel which is played through giant oak trees. The second shot is played to a green that is 36 yards long and protected by three deep bunkers Ė it really is a great hole.
You will probably like one of the other many great holes on this beautiful track. What everyone will agree upon is the big juicy red iced apples in a barrel on the 10th tee. Not only do they look and taste great, itís one of the many nice touches that turns a great day into a memorable one.
The 412-yard 12th hole was one of my favourites I loved the 2nd shot over the water
Risk & Reward 573-yard 7th Iced apples at the 10th perfectSurrounded by trees the 17th