If Sandy Lodge had a little more acreage it would one of the best courses inside the M25. The only downside to the course is that the holes are a little too crowded together. However, having said that, it’s one of my favourite London courses with big bunkers and excellent greens. It is not on the grand scale of its next-door neighbour, Moor Park, but it has charm and intimacy. The largest bunker on the course is similar to that at the Cape at Royal North Devon, except here at Sandy Lodge it comes into play for the approach rather than the drive. Aptly called Sleepers it represents a fearsome hazard so early in the round. The bunkerless par three 7th is a cracker of a hole that has to be played with finesse when the ground is hard and fast otherwise you’ll be OOB. 15 is another great one-shot hole to a green with a false front that requires a running links-like shot unless you can land the ball by parachute. 17, the signature hole, called Mount Vardon, is a wonderful sweeping par five with a narrow fairway and a tricky-to-hold two-tier green. It’s always a pleasure to play Sandy Lodge and I look forward to playing this quintessential English gem again in the not too distant future.
Date: May 22, 2011