Not the easiest hole to ‘ease’ yourself into the round. The first thing you notice off of the elevated tee is the bunkers that pinch a bit of the fairway at about 230 yards, the safe play is to lay up short of these which will leave a mid iron approach to a well guarded green that tilts from back to front. Par is definitely your friend on this opening hole.
A short par 4 that at just 251 yards is driveable for the longer hitters amongst you. With OOB all down the left hand side there is definitely a risk but having a putt for eagle is the reward for a long straight tee shot. The drive is all over a lake that is approximately 170 yards just to carry, so a long iron is the safe play leaving a short wedge to a huge green that tilts severely from back left to front right. Getting on in two is the easy part, getting down in two from there is the challenge on this hole.
Although only stroke index 13 on the card this par 5 has the potential to be an early ‘card wrecker’. The OOB down the left and overhanging trees on the right make it hard to focus on the task at hand standing on the tee, once you have got your drive away then there is a decision to make. It is downhill to the green and the fairway slopes from right to left so if you have hit a good drive it is reachable in two, however there is a small bunker guarding the front of the green and an extremely deep bunker to the left of the green that sits 5 feet below the level of the green making an up and down no easy feat. Birdies are a possibility on this hole.
The first of the par 3’s now takes you in the opposite direction to the first 3 holes and usually back into a right to left wind. At 155 yards it isn’t the longest of holes however the green is well guarded by bunkers and the shot does play one or two clubs longer because of the green sitting well above the teeing ground. There are a few pin positions available on this hole but the closer to the front you go the more challenging putting becomes as the green all slopes to the front left. Staying underneath the flag is definitely recommended on this short par 3.
Finally a chance to ‘open up’ a little bit off of the tee, the OOB down the left side shouldn’t really come into play with the wide fairway and absolutely no trouble down the right. Be careful of the sneaky pot bunker on the right hand side of the fairway however because it is not easy to see from the tee and catches out many a straight hitter. Although the green is reachable for the longest hitters in two the front of the green is protected by 5 large grass humps that will stop anything trying to roll up onto the green. The grass on these humps is long and penile, finding your ball will be a challenge never mind getting up and down. The safe play is to lay up to a comfortable yardage and take the grass humps out of play completely, playing over them with a wedge or short iron to a relatively flat green. Hit it close for a great birdie chance.
A long par 4 is the next challenge, the fairway is relatively wide from the tee shot but be careful of the bunker on down the right that can catch you out and make going for the green with your second difficult. Once you have negotiated the tee shot a long second shot awaits, usually a long iron or hybrid into green that slopes from back to front. A large swale to the left and bunkers short right and 30 yards short left of the green make an already difficult second shot that bit more intimidating. A straight long iron that runs up the green from 20-30 yards short is order of the day here. Walking off with a par will feel more like a birdie and a shot picked up on everyone else.
At 393 yards the 7th is not the longest par 4 on the course but it definitely has the potential to run up a big number. The fairway is protected by bunkers down both sides, two long bunkers running vertically down the hole at approximately 150 – 220 yards on the left hand side and two more running horizontally down the right at 220 – 240 yards. The play off of the tee here is a fairway wood or hybrid starting down the left and fading into the fairway short of the bunkers down the right. The green is guarded by a large bunker on the right, two bunkers over the back. The green slopes from back to front so anything long will be punished with not a very easy up and down for par.
A tricky par 3 is next up, at 175 yards long it is the longest par 3 on the course but length is the least of your worries on this hole. The mid/long iron tee shot is over water to a long thin green well protected on both sides by bunkers. The green itself slopes severely from middle to front with a relatively flat portion at the back. Pin placement on this hole can be treacherous if placed on the slope and difficult to get to if on the back. Make par here and run to the 9th.
The hardest hole on the course. It looks pretty innocuous from the tee until you feel the wind blowing straight at you and you realise the tee shot is over the lake to a fairway protected by bunkers on the left and trees on both sides. Get the tee shot out of the way and the second shot is usually around 180-190 yards into the wind with water all down the right hand side to a green protected by pot bunkers to catch out anything short, a dip to the left to catch anything slightly pulled and bunkers long right to catch the over hit shot. The green itself has subtle breaks especially when putting across it, always allow a few inches more than normal on here.
A hole that needs to be thought out on the tee, 3 large bunkers protect the right side of this fairway and a bank of trees protect the left. If you can reach the bunkers then driver is not always the best play here. The green sits on almost an island surrounded by three bunkers and no obvious way of hitting a fairway wood and rolling it up. This green was designed to take short irons and wedges but be careful of any lay up here the water all down the left catches many a player out and can lead to a big number. The green itself has quite a severe slope at the back and is relatively flat at the front so flag placement will be a major factor in determining your strategy from the fairway. A hole that will test every facet of your game.
Although not necessarily our signature hole this is one that is often talked about in the bar afterwards. A 90 degree dog leg from right to left from an elevated tee to a fairway that can only be partially seen from the tee. The first thing that catches your eye on the tee is the red staked area to the right of the fairway; you do not want to go in there!! The addition of two new bunkers at the end of the fairway prevents you from just hitting driver down there without thinking about it. With the mounds protecting the left of the fairway as well the landing area is only 20-25 yards wide, a right to left shot with a hybrid or fairway wood is perfect from this tee. The second shot to a tough green is protected by 2 bunkers on the right and there are some quite severe slopes on this green; if you have set yourself up in the fairway from the tee then this is a good chance to improve your score.
The par 3 12th is stroke index 18 on the card but at 169 yards it is not as easy as it might seem especially if the flag is at the back of the green. If the wind is swirling around the trees club choice can be difficult here. Anything long can bring OOB and trees into play and the bunkers either side of this green are a difficult up and down. A 3 here is not always as easy and the scorecard would suggest.
A short picturesque par 4 that again probably doesn’t need driver off of the tee to give yourself the best chance. A large bunker running vertically up the left hand side of the fairway and water beyond that awaits anyone who tries to get greedy off of this tee. A sensible tee shot should leave a short iron into a raised green that runs from front to back. A large bank at the bank will catch out any shots hit too far and two bunkers at the front will catch any shots not struck perfectly. A good chance if the hole is played well.
A great hole giving views of Blackpool tower in the distance off of the elevated tee to a fairway that slopes from left to right. A small bank of trees on the left will catch out anything pulled and mounds down the right will catch anything pushed. Hitting the fairway up the left hand side and allowing the contours of the land to work it back to the middle here is the only way to give yourself a birdie chance. The small green is protected on all sides by bumps, dips and bunkers making it essential you hit an accurate iron in here.
Running alongside the 14th the 15th is a great test of all aspects of your game. The drive is tough with OOB all down the right hand side, mounds down the left and a fairway sloping from left to right towards the OOB. Negotiate this and then the fun begins; the second shot from a dip means the green is above you and vary rarely do you get a flat lie. With water down the left, OOB right and bunkers well placed greenside; hit the green here and you can be extremely happy with yourself. The green slopes quite severely from back to front and being past the flag will result in a very quick putt down the slope. You will be happy with par here.
Although just a Par 3, the courses signature hole is the start of the final 3 holes that could make or break a great score. The 16th is 167 yards long off the medal tees and is usually played into a prevailing wind. When on the tee, you are faced with a hole that has out of bounds left and right and a lake that lies between OOB on the left and the green. There are also two bunkers guarding the green, front right and mid left. The hole location can play anything from 157yds to 193yds due to the 40 yard long, undulating green that slopes quite severely down towards the lake.
The 17th hole tee shot is a real test of “head over heart”. It is a short par 4, but has many features to catch you out. Out of bounds left and right and a ditch running across the fairway to name just a few. The best bet here is to lay up before the ditch which leaves a short iron to the green. Usual rule of thumb is that whatever iron you hit on the 16th, is to hit the same on the 17th to be short of the ditch.
The teeing ground on 18 sits above the perfectly striped fairway that seems to point the way home much like a runway; once you have taken it all in your thoughts will return quickly to the matter at hand, the tee shot. OOB down both sides and a water hazard creeping in at approximately 200 yards on the left make for a difficult tee shot, however the fairway is quite generous and the bunkers in the distance should only catch out the longest of us. The next decision is can you go for it in 2? If you are long enough from the tee and brave enough to thread your second shot between the bunkers short of the green, through the bottle neck entrance of about 8 yards wide to a green that sits above you from the middle of the fairway then the rewards can be great; an eagle putt or chip awaits. Don’t quite pull it off then face a long bunker shot. Take the sensible option from back in the fairway and a relatively easy layup will leave a short iron approach to a well guarded green with mounds both sides and a large bunker left to trap anything slightly pulled. A good chance if played correctly but a card wrecking last hole if not played well.