Thursday, August 28, 2008

Graced with Gracehill

Graced with Gracehill
During the winter, yes I expect to find clubhouses dead in the evening. But in August at 5.30pm on a weekday? That, I wasn’t expecting. The pleasant, almost ornamental, car park had two cars in it and the clubhouse was locked. So, a quiet evening’s entertainment in the camper van!

The following morning I walked around the old, attractive clubhouse on the way to the 1st. It’s in a pleasant setting and considering the poor changing facilities I discovered later, they could make so much more of it.

There are two practice greens. Oddly, each has only two holes in it. Not sure what that’s about. The 1st hole offers a tight drive between trees, and your first instinct is that there are going to be a lot of trees to avoid on your round. Not so. There are some very difficult driving holes, but it is the water that makes the big difference. And Gracehill has used the water brilliantly. It is rich and dark, teeming with wildlife, and it is used to brilliant effect. On a number of occasions you have to walk around beautiful ponds, with their deep reeds, wildlife, old trees sticking out of the water and a general air of tranquility.

One word of warning – when you play the 1st, show restraint off the tee: you need to be on the fairway to have any reasonable chance of finding the green, which sits over a big pond, up a steep slope and wedged between big trees. It is cruel to face such a difficult approach on only your second shot of the round.

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