Above: Ariel view of the Jack Nicklaus designed Old Corkscrew course
After a great lunch at The Dunes we are heading down the highway to make our 1.30 tee time. Itís a bit of a rush as we are trying to get round before a storm hits. Iíve heard a lot of positive reports about this Nicklaus track and standing on the first tee I have to say if you go by aesthetics it certainly looks good Ė with all the trees it reminds me of being back in England, not that I am looking forward to going home tomorrow.
The 437-yard, par-4 first has a generous fairway but a very tricky sloping green Ė a feature that becomes prevalent as you get deeper into the course. The wide fairways become a feature of the course giving you a great chance, but itís the second shot where your strategy comes into play. As I get to my ball on the par-5 575-yard third, I know Iím not going to make the green in two and I should really just hit an iron up. But with a narrow entrance and water on the left I still take out my 3-wood and leave myself a shot pitch.
The fourth is the first of many risk-and-reward holes. You can cut the corner of this 348-yard par-4 and have a go at the green over the water. The sixth is one of my favourite holes, I just like the way it looks with its waste bunker running down the left of the fairway in the landing area and surrounded by trees, followed by the longest par-3 on the course weighing in at 244-yards from the back tees. The front nine comes to a close with a 423-yard, par-4 played to a semi-island green.
I have to say, of the two nines the back nine is the stronger nine and gets underway with the stroke index one hole. This is followed by a very tough par-5 that has water down the left and is played to an elevated green, and at 547 yards all but the longest hitters are making this baby in two.
If the seventh is the longest par-3, the 189-yard par-3 12th has to be the best short hole on the course, played over water to a green that has plenty of movement. Add in the thunder, driving wind, rain and the threat of lightning and believe me, itís a tough hole.
We are now moving rapidly, but I have to say the 13th is another great par-4, a slight dog-leg to the right with bunkers down the right with a small green cut into the trees and protected by bunkers both right and left and back.
With lightning just starting to streak across the dark imposing clouds, we take shelter in one of the many conveniences on the course. The storm lasts for nearly two hours with moments where the hairs on your arms are standing on end from the electricity in the air. With the shelter and rubber-lined buggies I can watch Natureís sheer power and beauty crackle and zip across the heavens.
The lightning and rain passes but the clouds are still heavy, but we decide to make a charge for home. Itís a tough run of holes from here, with the 16th being a favourite. At only 396-yards itís all about placement. With two well-placed large bunkers in the fairway, itís all about position from the tee. The 18th is a tough par-4 for finish with water all the way down the left-hand side. There is more fairway to aim at than you think, but itís the second shot where not only will you be hitting a long iron/hybrid in, thereís that water on the left of the green. I can see many a scorecard being ruined here if you are not keyed in.
Old Corkscrew was a fitting finale to this trip and offered everything you would want, for players of all abilities. At only $50 (£29) that will probably be the best value for money you will find anywhere.
Calm after the storm on the 445-yard 14th hole
Old Corkscrews beautiful 1stWater protecting the 5th holeThe 13th is a great little hole