I was fortunate enough to play in a charity ambrose tournament at Brookwater Golf Course yesterday. It would be fair to say that for the first 13 or so holes I can not remember ever hitting the golf ball better.
Now I know that is probably hyperbole and as a card carrying hacker that probably does not mean much so some context is needed:
1. Brookwater is widely regarded as the hardest golf course in Queensland.
2. Of late I have breaking in a new set of irons and have not been happy with how I have been playing.
3. Whilst I am probably a 16 handicapper when playing regularly until 2 weeks ago I had not really been playing much in part due to a troublesome left knee.
Every hacker level golfer will be able to impart (or impose) on you a story of the golf hole that keeps them coming back to the game and, indeed, inspires them to play more. I have had a few over the years but the 1st hole at Brookwater yesterday, it must now be declared, will take some serious beating for me. Again for context: by serious beating I mean a hole in one.
So: the 1st at Brookwater is a 350ish metre par 4 with a dog leg left. Here is a diagram and picture of the hole from the course website:
The course website goes on to describe the hole thusly:
This medium length par 4 flows into a valley and features a gentle dog leg to the left and is the first of 5 stunning opening holes.
A good tee shot to the centre-right of this fairway, which slopes from the right towards 2 deep bunkers and a creek, will leave you with a medium length approach to the green. The two-tiered green is elevated and well guarded by bunkers on both sides.
Pro’s Tip: Long is better than short on your approach shot, as there is a deep valley short of the green which will leave a tricky pitch.
From the tee box this is an imposing hole with a small landing area for drives. Fortunately this hole was actually our 6th of the day having started our round on the 13th so I was a bit warmed up rather than playing this hole cold.
Whilst I concede that an ambrose golf day is begat with less pressure than one would normally have on oneself this hole is the best golf hole I have ever played and it went down like this:
The Drive: I hit first off the tee for our group and hit 3 wood off the tee because I have been spraying my Driver all over the place. Being a smartarse I said to one of my playing partners that I intended to aim my 3 wood at one of the left hand side sand traps and let my fade take the ball to middle of the fairway. Frankly I didn’t have a clue if that is what the ball would do off the club but that is what it did. Straight off the club the playing partner I had that exchange with uttered the words “you complete bullshit artist” so I knew it was good.
The Approach: From the middle of the fairway we measured the approach shot at 150 metres to the middle of the green. The flag was right in the front of the green which had the risk of the run off into the gully. As is normal with ambrose play my playing partners went before me. Unfortunately by the time my shot came around we did not have a ball on the green. I hit an 8 iron in and, again bizarrely, the minute I hit it I knew it was good. The ball landed 2 feet from the hole and stopped next to its pitch mark.
The Putt: If there is a major weakness in my game it is with the putter. As a cricketer my favourite shot was the cover drive and I still to this day push the ball with the putter like I am hitting the ball between cover and mid off. So I stood over my, suddenly, birdie putt with zero confidence. This time I went first and as I stood over the putt all I could think of was “don’t cover drive it”. I thought it was a straight putt and hit it straight and bugger me if it didn’t go in.
I know it was an ambrose game and I know I wasn’t off the back tees but if anyone had ever told me I would have a birdie on the card at the hardest course I have ever played I would have told them they need to cut down on what they are smoking.
I know this is a selfishly indulgent post. However I have written it because this type of hole is exactly what I love about golf. There are moments in this game where you can replicate what the best in the game do every week and sometimes on most holes in a round, using almost the same equipment as them with the same variables of weather. There aren’t many games in sport where you can say you can do that.
My round yesterday at Brookwater has inspired me to play more and to invest in my game a bit with some lessons. I want to replicate the felling of that birdie soon!