Sunday, 26 December 2010

Woodlands

 
The 3rd green
 
After playing 18 holes at Metropolitan, Art Schaupeter and I went over to Woodlands to play on our own.
 
Woodlands is not one of the courses you would start with when making a must see playing list, but once you begin to extend a trip around Australia to seek the best architecture, it quickly becomes one that you must add. It may not be as well maintained as some of the other courses, but it’s a really a fine course in its own right. The architecture is just as strong at the other courses. The course is a lot more fun to play and little more quirky in character. It sits a little more softly that a Metro and certainly has better rolling land to enjoy as part of the playing experience.
 
The 4th green
The course opens slowly but the run of 3-4-5 is as good a stretch as you’ll find anywhere. The third is a well bunkered plateau with dramatic bunkers right up against the green. The fourth has the best short four concept green I have ever seen featuring an hourglass shape and steep fall-offs on all sides (the recovery wide is a nightmare!). The 5th is an all-world well bunkered par three of incredible merit. The combination of holes is stunning and diverse.
 
The 5th hole
 
The course has a better mixture of lengths than Metro and Royal Sydney – because there are a series of great short fours that offer you some excellent decisions and some interesting options. It’s really the short fours with all their dramatic bunkers or interesting green sites that elevate the golf course. Throw in an excellent set of par threes – much better than Metro – and I really think the experiences were comparable overall.
 
I would recommend anyone go search out Woodlands for the hourglass green site on #4 with its steep banks on all four sides and the 15th green for its clever swale and green combination which taught me a simple way to emphasize a green complex site with a very subtle touch.

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