Cheshire could easily be known as the “Surrey of the North” because there are a number of high-class heathland courses in the county. Sandiway Golf Club dates back to 1920, when Ted Ray, the 1912 Open Champion, was given the task of designing a course that should remain in keeping with the land.
Ray made fantastic use of the contours of the land and in 1925 Harry Colt made improvements that make up the course as it is today. Sandiway is a delightful wooded, heathland course and it’s quite rightly regarded as one of the best inland courses in the north of England.
It’s a pretty course with tree-lined fairways and many doglegs. Keeping your ball in play is a huge task with the emphasis definitely on accuracy. Measuring 6,400 yards from the back tees, with a par of just 70, this is a stern test, especially as six of the par fours stretch out beyond 400 yards in length. Factor in the rather small greens and it’s easy to see the challenge ahead.
Sandiway holds your interest right from the off with the opening seven holes having a different par to the last. The par three 3rd is a gloriously picturesque tree-lined hole to a bunker-guarded green. The tip here is to trust the yardage as the bunkers are further from the green than they look. The 10th has a stroke index of three and it’s certainly one of the hardest holes on the course. This par four measures 466 yards and the fairway slopes left to right, inevitably leaving a long uphill approach shot to a small green.
The course is respected highly in the game and has played host to several county championships and EGU events. Sandiway was also used as an Open Championship qualifier in 1969.
During WW2, American GI’s were stationed in the area and the evidence is still here. To the left hand side of the 5th and 8th tees there’s a copse of old trees with names carved into the tree trunks… does “Crawford, Ohio 1941” mean anything to any of our readers?
In 2005, member David Garnett had the remarkable feat of two holes in one on consecutive competition days. He aced the 6th on Saturday and the 3rd on Sunday. We reckon the odds for this to happen are approximately 64 million to 1.
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