There’s much to admire at Sandy Lodge but I found it hard to warm to. No doubting the quality conditioning, the tees, fairways and greens were some of the best I’ve played all year but in contrast I felt the architecture a little underwhelming. Set out over relatively small site on what feels like the crown of a wide hill the holes rise and fall, the result is a lot of blind shots, both from the tee and fairway, in the breezy conditions you’ll typically encounter a recipe for lots of time looking for balls in the rough. Playing in high summer and with perfect growing conditions thick rough lines almost every fairway, only a narrow strip of first cut before the knee deep stuff, it does become pretty tiresome after a while seeing shot after shot bound off into the rough even with the broad fairways and not being especially wayward!
I appreciate it’s a link style course so the rough is an integral part but just allow a bit more first cut! And as a links course I think it would really benefit from some tree clearance, there are what seems to me too many trees which look relatively young dotting the course and out of place, I can’t understand why they were ever planted. The layout is on the quirky side with 6 x par 3’s and 5 x par 5’s, the par 3’s being a mix of long and shorter holes which I felt were the best bits of the course, the uphill 18th is a like a Pete Dye experiment run wild. The clubhouse and service are 5 star, I recommend dining there pre or post round. Overall for me 3.5, despite the great condition and service they aren’t enough to make me want to return soon.
Date: July 19, 2021