The course gets off to a bit of a slow start. I didn’t have a problem with the uphill, par three 1st, played to a two-tiered green with a big back to front tilt – if anything, it was refreshing to begin with something other than the usual humdrum par four or par five hole. That said, there’s a very similar, slightly longer par three played only two holes later at the 3rd so I imagine competitions can quickly become backed up right at the start of the round if golfers struggle for whatever reason to get away from these holes.
The first of The Addington’s trademark bridges is encountered to the right of the 6th green and, although it’s a largely superfluous structure at this hole because you can comfortably walk around the little gully that it spans, this wooden structure (and all the others) add greatly to the ambience of a wonderful course that’s absolutely bursting with character – and later in the round, you’ll be glad they’ve been built to take you across some of the deeper ravines.
For me, the round really got under way at the short, downhill par three 7th, protected by bunkers eating into the hillside on the right and a large fall off area to the left of the green. Immediately following this hole, the par four 8th is somewhat controversial – blind off the tee with a hogsback fairway to negotiate before the fairway veers left to the green – and it precedes my favourite hole on the course, the 375-yard 9th.
This hole requires TWO wooden bridges to get from tee to green: the first takes you across a deep gully to reach your tee shot then, after playing your approach shot at a 45 degree angle left to an upturned saucer-shaped green, the second bridge crosses another bracken-filled ravine to the putting surface – for me, it’s one of the most distinctive par fours I’ve ever played!
The back nine is just unrelenting in the quality of holes that appear in front of you as the fairways are routed across acres of totally turbulent terrain. In particular, the rather eccentric par five 12th, (played blind off the tee then uphill to a plateau green) and the long, demanding downhill par three 13th are as tough a two-hole combination as you will find anywhere.
The par five 16th doglegs left then downhill, with the fairway narrowing to just a few yards in front of the green before dropping off to the right of the putting surface. I’m sure many will think this an unfair design feature but the single digit player in our group (playing the course for the first time) narrowly missed his putt from close to the pin for an eagle so it can’t be that unfair for the better golfers among us.
Remarkably, there’s still time to squeeze in the SIXTH par three of the round at the 17th and again, it requires a little wooden bridge to get from tee box to green, across yet another bracken-infested gorge. The half dozen par threes here, varying in length between 140 and 230 yards, will live long in the memory at The Addington, but then so will so many of the other unique holes on this tremendous one-off layout.
Date: July 18, 2017