Cavendish is something of an understated architectural masterpiece, a true gem in a beautiful setting. Mackenzie's design has stood the test of time , and I am very much looking forward to returning to see the changes being made in the future.
The golf course itself has greens that cannot be attacked from certain angles, and every bunker comes into play. At 5721 yards, the course can be overpowered but only by someone with good distance control as well.
A short walk takes you to the first, a 354 yard par four with a blind drive over a valley to a sloping fairway. The three bunkers on the right stop people from attacking the pin from the right side. A fine hole.
The second is a 314 yard par four back up the hill with a slanted fairway. It suits a draw off the tee. The green is split in two by a ridge. An impossible putt awaits if you pitch up on the wrong side.
I like the third, a 288 yard par four down the hill. A shot missing the green left could find its way into the second tee, or the first green. Again, the angle of attack is important, suiting a fade.
The fourth is a very special par three, 122 yards off a virtual cliff face down into the valley, shrouded in vegetation and with a beautiful stream on the left side. It is a rather easy par three, but has great scenery.
I do like the uphill 5th, 420 yards with water up the right. Originally our group believed the 16th fairway was the way to go. The raised green is one of the best green complexes on the course and anything on the front sixth will run down the slope.
The 6th isn't as good as the first five. 412 yards from an elevated tee down to a simple fairway. The scenery here is nice, but there is nothing overly impressive on the hole.
I have grown to like the 311 yard 7th. It looks simple, but the narrow green is closely protected by bunkers. It can be driven if you hit it miles. The view of the clubhouse is very special.
The 8th is a fine par four of 389 yards. It starts with a blind drive uphill, but turns downhill with a bunker right in the middle of the fairway just short of the green. The approach is very difficult to judge.
I adore the downhill 9th, 139 yards, with an incredibly complex green complex sloping heavily from back to front. Three putts are common. The hole suits my game (I took hybrid as I am a 13-year-old junior), but a lot of our group struggled here.
The tenth is one of the finest holes anywhere. It is 422 yards uphill with a sweeping fairway and an approach over a stream and a vegetation-clad ravine. The approach is semi blind. Possibly the best hole in the county, and if there was an exception it would be the 4th at Matlock.
I like the downhill eleventh, 415 yards with another approach over a ravine. A very sturdy hole with a generous target off the tee. It isn't as good as the tenth, but a fine hole indeed.
The twelfth is merely ok in comparison, 350 yards on flatter terrain. The green complex is interesting with two bunkers short, but the actual target is a little wide for my liking.
The thirteenth is not my favourite par three. It is 183 yards uphill with a bunker short. The green is raised well above the apron of the green, but not as extreme as the 5th.
The fourteenth is an example of a great par five, 496 yards curving heavily to the left, with an OB wall close to the fairway and a green raised in similar fashion to the 5th. It requires extra club on all three shots. A fantastic hole.
The fifteenth is a masterpiece of only 116 yards with two pot bunkers fronting the green. Anything short of the green will run off at the front. One believes this to be the best of the five par threes.
A short walk takes you to the downhill 16th, 403 yards that allows for massive drives. It isn't as architecturally interesting as the 5th and 10th of similar length, but it is a very fun little hole.
I am fond of the flattish par three 17th, 160 yards over a gentle valley to a green sloping from back to front and pinched by two bunkers. I would rate this 4th out of the five par threes.
The 18th is a magnificent end to the course, 441 yards on a heavily sloping but wide fairway and then playing terrifyingly close to the clubhouse to a heavily raised green with runoffs at the front.
The conditioning is improving, the greens are true and quick and the course architecture is a masterpiece. A gem of a course that should be in the top 100.
Date: July 18, 2020