Having played the Old course several times as a youngster (over 10 years ago), I was very interested to play it again last week to see how it compared to some of the worlds top courses that I have been fortunate to play in the last few years.Firstly I should say that it was a medal competition that I played in and that only added to the nerves I felt on most shots. The first tee is unlike any in golf - a complete paradox in that you get the nerves more commonly associated with an extremely tight tee shot with danger everywhere instead of the 150yard wide fairway that awaits you. Your second shot is also very tense with the burn right in front of the green, which being on rock hard turf makes holding the green very difficult. All in all an incredible opening hole, both in terms of architecture and the experience. After that a pattern emerges for the next 6 holes as they head out toward the Eden estuary, whereby you can pretty much go as ar left as you want but will have a more difficult 2nd shot or you can flirt with danger up the right and increase your chances of birdie. There then follows a 'loop' of 4 holes which are all birdie chances with the exception of the 11th which is the hardest (and probably best) par 3 I’ve ever played. Coming home toward the town is extremely enjoyable, culminating in the sensational 17th and then the last (which is the inverse of the 1st as if I need to tell you) where you really should be getting birdie / par if it wasn’t for all those spectators that you are not used to playing in front of!!The course is completely awesome - not particularly in terms of aesthetics, but in terms of how it teases you into thinking its easy before biting you hard, how it requires strategy like no other course I know and how it makes you play shots, especially around the green, that you have never had to conceive before.If you want Disneyland golf where each hole is a visual treat and where you can indiscriminately blast a driver away on every hole, then the Old may not be your cup of tea. If you are a real golfer who appreciates history, a requirement for strategy and for shotmaking and want your short game tested to the absolute limit then there truly is nowhere like the Old course.
Date: June 21, 2010