One issue with flying solo is the lack of a GPS. To solve this, I have been taking my computer and mobile broadband with me wherever I go to give directions.¬† This worked relatively well in reaching my destination of Lakelands GC. ¬†Well so I thought until there were two different ‚??pins‚?? identifying the Lakelands GC on Google. ¬†After invariably heading to the wrong pin first, I was a couple of minutes late for my 9am tee time.¬† But this mattered not as the morning field were all away and I had the first tee to myself.
Following the field I decided to take my laptop out on the course with me to send some emails (necessary at the moment to try and get on top of the 2 months ahead plan ‚?? which is not quite happening at the moment for the ¬†upcoming US leg) and post some live scoring during the round. PGA tour website styles. Except without all the red numbers.
So some of you keen followers may have read that my round climaxed on around the 11th hole after a string of birdies before ending with a disappointing few bogeys to finish with a 74. Still not to bad going for a 6 marker.
I made the mistake today of playing Lakelands off the blue tees. 6400m off the blacks looked a bit long (??? I hear you say) and Bruce‚??s philosophy of the day prior of enjoying the round and not getting dominated by the course was still in my psyche.¬†
Lakelands is a Jack Nicklaus design, like Kinloch, but it is nothing like Kinloch. It is not a monster, and it is very generous ‚?? particularly off the tee. The fairways wide and greens rather large, not many people would leave unhappy that they couldn‚??t tame the course at least during some stage of their round.
The name Lakelands is a bit of a misnomer on the front nine. Only a couple of lakes were seen and it wasn‚??t until number 8 that the water was genuinely in play. Number 8 was one of the stretch of three par fours that were up and down, the same length to finish the front nine. Uninspiring stuff and surpising from the great man. At least 8 was a really good par four, with pot bunkers off the tee and a perfectly positioned lake surrounding the front and left of the green. This hole reminded me of the 13th at Links Hope Island. And both holes I had success on so that always helps them to stay in the memory bank.
The back nine had a few goodies‚?? starting with 10 (below) which snaked around the lake to the left. Another birdie and at this stage I had that feeling where you know exactly where you are hitting it.¬† This is possibly the best feeling the have on the golf course (although it is closely rivaled by the ‚??there is no way I am going to miss this putt‚?? feeling).¬† The 12th green was another green situated perilously close to a lake to it‚??s right so much so that my chip from short left was left short for fear of rolling past the pin and into the lake. The greens by the way were quick and true.¬† They seem to be getting better every day of late ‚?? it might have something to do with the perfect weather..¬† It is probably accurate to say that the main test at Lakelands comes with your second shots. ¬†It really helps to have good angles into the greens and then you need to be precise with your approach.¬† If you hit your irons well here, scoring can be very agreeable (to use a Nick Laing term, who has just got engaged ‚?? congrats mate!).
The last hole of note was probably the tiny par three 14th.¬† This is the hole that probably features on the Lakelands post cards. Have a look below.¬† The tee shot to the shallow green is a genuinely fun shot to play. Reminded me of the 3rd at my old home track, Russley, which I used to absolutely love to play ‚?? probably because of it‚??s low degree of difficulty but nonetheless great fun! I‚??d go back to Lakelands just to hit that wedge shot on 14 again.
So, with the internet as my marker I finished the round and retreated back to base camp to have a mid-afternoon nap and get on to a bit of administration and blogging.¬† Until tomorrow‚?¶.
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