Dukes Wood G.C.
by Mark Austin
|Links Corner Course Database ID Number - 516
LINKS CORNER REVIEW
|Reviewed by Mick Lenton
Thoughts from the 1st: This is Mark's 2nd course, his first being Wexham Park Blue. I have no experience with this course but Loner gave it a good review as a player so I was looking forward to this one. I was not disappointed. Nice colours, nice trees, nice flowers, nice course.
The Course: As the name would suggest, a woodland course, not too long, with a par of 72. Almost all the textures used are stock but the course doesn't suffer for it. The tees are extruded in the rough, with very sharp edges. All 5 are available. Once you get used to it the look is quite effective. Maybe if the tees were not so raised quite so much it would look a bit softer. The stock striped fairway is edged with the unstriped one. It looks very good. This leads straight into the rough where all the planting is done apart from some flowerbeds, done in Dry Brush. The nicely shaped greens have the stock fringe. The bunkers are nicely done with an extruded dirt edge. I would have liked to have seen a double extruded edge, with the top, grass extrusion softened, as I am not a fan of the sharp edge. Saying that however they are very nicely done and certainly better than average. Just a point, I now use up to 3 or 4 extruded edges on bunkers! The water is done well, the mud edge looking good. They have been planted with a rush-like plant. A small quibble is that I would like to have seen a few more plants at the water's edge, but still very nice water! The planting is very sympathetically done with some nice underplanting. The flowerbeds look nice too. Until you drive into them!!!
Playability: The 1st is a nice wideish par 4 to start with. Not easy though!! You drive, as I say, to a wideish fairway, from a tee overlooking a flowerbed in front and the club's nameplate to the right. There is a bunker, left, to catch the pulled shot. You need to be fairly tight to that to give you a view of the pin, past the trees, in front of the green, that are just to the left of a nice pond. A fair drive should leave a mid to long iron, either over, round or through!!! the trees. Tip. If you have to go over, drop 3 clubs and punch. That will give you height as well as distance. The green is not big but has a fair bit of fairway around it. Very little borrow.
The 2nd is a cracking par 5. You drive to the narrowest part of the fairway, 2 bunkers to catch the slice. Your 2nd needs to clear a rock and mud canyon. If you feel you can't, you will be left with a very long 3rd to the small green. A large bunker protects the green, front right. A flat green with very little contour.
Number 3 is the 1st par 3. A nice, mid length hole, with quite a narrow green. Sand front and right, with a pond back left. The borrow on this green is very tricky and there is no fairway at all.
The 4th is a hole I would loved to have built myself!! A long, sandy par 5, dogleg right. A drive to the wide corner will leave you a 350+ yard 2nd. The fairway is full of big bunkers!! An accurate shot is needed, to give you a wedge, to the very small green from grass. A real 3 shotter. If you don't fancy the sand, there is always a flowerbed to aim at. The green is not too tricky.
The 5th is a lovely shortish par 4. A fairly wide fairway is ready to collect your drive. There is a flowerbed right and a lake all down the left. The fairway has a bit of a dip short of the green, which can give you a bit of a sloping lie for your 2nd. This should be a wedge to the largish green, protected by 2 large bunkers at the front. The green has very little contour.
6 is a dicey little par 4. IMO the ideal drive is over the left half of a small group of trees on the left of the fairway which doglegs slightly left. This should land you in between 2 fairway bunkers. But watch out, a real good drive will reach the 2nd one. There is a lake in front of you and all down the left, so there is no cutting corners. A nicely placed drive will leave short iron or wedge to the large, gently sloping green.
The 7th is a short, dogleg left, par 4. A draw of the tee is really needed her to avoid the 4 bunkers down the right to catch the errant shot. A good drive round the corner will leave a wedge over the flowerbed to the mid sized, angled green, with one small bunker, back right. The green has a general slope towards the front.
Nearly at the clubhouse! The 8th is a nasty - nasty par 3. It is not uphill much. But you get no view of the green, as the whole thing slopes away from you. Luckily it is quite a large green. There are 2 bunkers in the bank in front of the green and one long one around the upper right side. As I have said the whole green slopes front to back, so try to be on line with the pin to get a straight putt.
Number 9 is a par 5 with a gentle sweep to the right. Your drive has to miss the trees, close down the right and the flowerbed on the corner. You are left with a 2nd that JUST may reach the green. That is if you can hit a 300 yard fairway wood over the large flowerbed and then negotiate between 2 large bunkers either side if the tiny green. It is difficult enough getting over the flowerbed. And by the way, they are hazards. When you get there, the green is quite flat.
So where's the clubhouse??? Thankful for the hip flask again.
The 10th is a VERY narrow and also long, par 5, with a slight dogleg right. If you can hit the fairway you are left with a 300+ yard shot down a ribbon of fairway to the small green. Luckily there is not much sand apart from a small bunker, front right of the green. So two long, straight shots and a wedge to the small green. Sorry, I don't like this one.
Ah this is better. The 11th makes up for it, as it is a nice, short par 4 that could be driven by a perfect driver. My 2 wood was a chip short. Sand protects the approach and green down the left and there are a couple of small flowerbeds at the back. The green has a gentle slope.
The 12th is another of those nasty - nasty par 3's. It is almost identical to the 8th but the green does not slope as much.
13 is a shortish par 4 with a brook meandering across the fairway at an angle. My longest 2 wood could not clear it but a driver may. Laying up you will be left with a short iron to the small, narrow green, a large bunker protecting the front. Yet another very flat green.
14 is another dogleg par 5. This time to the left. This is a much better designed hole though. There is a quite large area to land in and then a very real chance of reaching the green. A nicely drawn wood around the corner, over the bunker well short of the small green, should get you close or on. Again the green only has a gentle slope.
The 15th is a lovely little, short par 4. You drive to a narrowish part of the fairway with 2 bunkers to catch the pull. You should be left with a short iron or wedge to a narrow angled green. A flowerbed protects the approach left and a bunker back left. Bit trickier green this time.
Number 16 is another drivable par 4. This time my 2 wood cleared it easily. There are two bunkers short of the green, which is very small again with the usual gentle slope.
And I thought the last 2 par 3's were nasty. No. This is the nasty one. Atop of a rock wall, you can just see the top of the pin. Again there is a slope front to back of the thankfully large green. Actually not a bad hole.
Wrong again. THIS is the nasty par 3. The one with the pond in the middle!!! At least as it is downhill you have a chance to stop the ball. Everything slopes gently towards the pond.
Good Points: Generally a nice course to play. Well planted and mostly well constructed.
Bad Points: I personally do not like sharp edges so I would have liked to have seen the tees and bunkers smoothed a bit. Some of the holes a bit too like some others and a few too many doglegs.
Favourite Hole: I know some will disagree, but I love the sandy par 5, 4th
Least Favourite Hole: That overly narrow 10th
Final thoughts: This would have been a much better course had Mark been a little bit more imaginative. What it seems is that Mark has had some good ideas but has overused them on the course. Particularly the use of doglegs. 9, or possibly 10 of the holes have some form. I feel this is far too many blind shots. All that said. Apart from a couple of overly difficult holes, this is a very nice course to play and a lot of fun. Well worth looking at.
Course Info :
Cameo Screen? Yes
Splash Screen? Yes
Text file? Yes
Hole Previews? Yes
Reviewed August 2001
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