|Highlands Links 2nd Hole|
This by far is the most unusual of Thompson's routings, and it is why this is one of the most enjoyable experiences in golf. When Stanley surveyed the property on foot, he must have recognised how unique each area of the golf course was going to be. After he had finalised his routing, whether intended or intuitive, he made a decision of shear genius. He separated each unique area with a long walk. So why was this important? This makes the course unfold like a series of chapters from a great book, each chapter (or set of holes) has its own unique setting. When combined together it makes for wonderful journey through the local landscape.
|Highlands Links 7th Hole|
After the sixth green, the hole that plays along the ocean, Stanley takes you inland on a long walk to relax and enjoy the river valley as you enter the forested highlands (first change of pace and setting). The trees and mountains now dominate the setting of the course, and the player has to adjust to a more secluded and intimate setting. The holes are now fully framed by trees and mountains, with the tee shot on the 7th being intentional tight and tough to offer a complete contrast to the previous holes. Stanley does a wonderful job of creating an exciting stretch of holes while still maintaining a walkable course through this tough terrain. This stretch continues through to the tenth green.
|Highlands Links 11th Hole|
|Highlands Links 15th Hole|
Holes 16 to 18 do not have a view to the ocean, although, I can’t help but wonder if the ocean was clearly visible on the right of the 18th hole. The final stretch is a return to the darker evergreens similar to the opening holes, here Stanley had designed a series of friendly holes to give players an opportunity to make a par. Stanley was always cognisant of resort play and making the courses enjoyable for the average player. I think he felt after such a long journey, making a par in the final stretch would be a great way to finish the round.
|Highlands Links 17th Hole|