We have just played a fast round of golf. 2 hours 45 minute to be precise. And at the pace we finished, it could have been much much faster.
Our hurry was with excitement to see the girls, Gretta and Ange. They are in Sydney to see us for the week so whilst we will play golf every day, that was not be the top priority. So we are currently scuttling up the M7 into Sydney after playing Macquarie Links.
Macquarie Links is a resort style private members course in a gated community in the southern suburbs of Sydney. The course was relatively strong off the backs at 6200m, and had a variety of holes. Come the first Jamie commented that he hadn't birdied the first hole of the day for a long time so he was especially gutted when his putt lipped out with a full lap of the hole. A sign of things to come as the lip outs kept torturing him throughout the round.
One strange feature of the track was that each hole was named after a very obvious feature of the hole. Take for example the second hole which ran alongside a road, which was appropriately called "road". Or the fourth hole which features a number of old trees which was also appropriately named "old tree". Other jaffas included "railway", "billabong" and, of course, "home".
"Road" was one of my favourites as the fairway snaked between two bunkers and then the approach featured a lake surrounding the front and right of the green. It was also home to my first of 6 three putts. My daily torture that is putting. I was worse than Ed. Sorry mate.
Before I go on I must mention our wee episode that occurred on the third hole. Jamie had misjudged the distance and hit up on the four-ball playing ahead of us. He drove up to apologise but his apology was not entirely accepted. Actually, the woman in front kindly said that if it wasn't Easter she would fight him. How festive. But tempers died down and rationality ensued and they were, like most golfers, pleasant folk and let us through amidst some polite chat a few holes later. Hitting up was a mistake yes, but an easy one to make on a new and unfamiliar course.
Another feature of the course was the amazingly receptive greens. When the ball landed it took out a huge chunk of the green and then stopped suddenly or spun back violently. This made pitch shots very easy to control which really helped scoring. This was target golf like you see on tele. I scraped four birdies relying on the greens to stop my pitch shots, mostly on the par fives. One of the par fives was memorable - "railway" which snakes around to the left, with the tee shot blocked by a giant gum tree smack bang in the way. And then the second was over a gully, between the customary 'par five bunkers' placed 70m short of the green (I scoffed at the predictability of cross bunkers on par fives on the first hole and then hit my second in them - go figure). The green was actually not far from the railway, something I didn't appreciate until my second shot ended about 20 feet from the fence. We actually raced a train down the 17th as well.
Two other holes deserve a mention. I will start with the less favourable mention on the 12th hole. This is a par five and at 470m it was reachable in two. But the green was just too skinny - barely 30 feet wide with overhanging trees and a hazard immediately on the right, and on the left a sharp slope off to Out Of Bounds. It was pretty much impossible to hit a full shot into the green from the middle of the fairway unless you could hit a stinging cut to the narrow green. Too narrow. I made birdie, so you are probably thinking what am I on about, but I think a par five should give you the option of going for the green in two. There was no option whatsoever here apart from a chipped layup down the left of the fairway.
Lastly the par three 210m over water. A cracker. And we both knocked it on and made 3. So the memories are pure. I will leave it at that, we've been stung on the Sydney toll roads but it's going to be a sweet week in Sydney.
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