After reading all the previous glowing reports, writing this review has proved harder than i thought.
There is alot to love about GYCGC but the dreadful state of the fairways cannot be ignored. I tried googling to see if, like Thetford, they are not allowed sprinkers or irrigation on the course, except the greens, which would have provided a good excuse but I havent been able to see anything to this effect.
At times the fairways looked and felt like the lunar surface, bald, lumpy, patchy at best,with very poor grass coverage. The only exception being the 17th and 18th which are played away from the sandy soil and here the coverage was better.
In addition the rough and waste areas from holes 4 - 7 looked like they had been used as a set in some post apocalyptic movie. The gorse was missing and the rough was practically barren land scattered with dead pieces of gorse wood.
BUT that did not take away the enjoyment of the course. Yes it's quirky in places, notably the 1st and 18th which play across the race track which is an integral part of the overall course, being in play on the 1st, GUR on the 18th and ever present through holes 4 - 10, 15 and 16. It was the teeing off across the racetrack and then again on your approach to the 1st green that drew my attention and desire to play here.
In stark contrast to the fairways, the greens were in exceptional condition, running true and at good pace. This is clearly where the course maintenance budget is spent.
The 1st 3 holes provide birdie opportunities with the longest of these holes being only 336 yards. After an easy start, the xourse really gets going on the 4th which is located within the centre of the racecourse. At 449 yards and into a stiff wind, this is a tough par 4 and in these conditions only the bigger hitters will reach in two. The 5th is a dog leg (blind) with the aforementioned apocalyptic rough ro the left, providing a shorter route to the green.
Then a delightful short par 4, at 298 off the whites this is easily reachable with the driver as i proved today. Not a long hitter, i thought when the group in front were on the green i was safe to go, but with wind behind and some down slopes near the green, the ball ran through to the back of the green. After the appropriate apology, an eagle wasn't obtained but a birdie duly despatched. Note to self - wait next time you play here.
After this, a fine run to the end of the front 9, with a 186 yard par 3 played to a long green that gets very narrow at the back and fall away areas left and right.
The 8th is played with the wind shortening the 462 yards considerably whilst the 9th plays back into the wind making it play all of its 370 yards and then some.
Before leaving the centre of the racecourse, another long par 4 to a green that is receptive as green slopes back to front.
Holes 11 and 12 really play through the dunes. 11 is visually a good looking hole (ignore the caravan site to the right of the tee!) and 12, a par 3, tees off from the top of a dune with the green perched on another 160 yards away. A nice stretch.
The 13th is the 1st of the 2 par 5's and played into the wind, requires 3 good strikes to reach the green.
The 14th is a lovely par 3, the best in my opinion of the 4 on the course. The bunkers all have wooden vertical lats to their green sides. This is also feature on other bunkers on the course. The green sits in a bowl tucked behind them. The green side slopes down from behind the bunkers, so any shot just clearing them will then roll through to the back of the green.
Then a wind assisted par 5, played down the 5 and 6 furlong markers of the racecouse home straight. This extension of the track doesn't rest easy on the eye on this and the next hole and is GUR if your drive did find it. Another good birdie opportunity on this hole.
The 16th is played on the other side of the rails and at 406 yards into the wind, another tough hole.
And then the 17th heading into a more parkland feel and the 18th which heads back across the racecourse, leaving your approach similar to the 1st, played over the rails tk the green situated inside the racecouse.
All in all, i liked GYCGC. The fairways left alot to be desired and i suspect playing in the spring or autumn may see them in better condition. That aside, the greens were excellent, the changes in direction and the impact of the wind as a result helped test your game whether wind assisted or wind against. The par 3s were all good and the small section in the higher dunes very enjoyable.
Rating is difficult as the maintenance not ideal, although would love to understand the reasons why the fairways are in such a state(financial, environmental etc) but as the greens were excellent i suspect the club focus their attention and budgets in that direction. Its history is also notable and cannot be ignored. On balance I've opted for 3 1/2 (fairways would be 1!).
Date: August 12, 2021