Thursday the 29th of April I was invited to the Glades for their bi-monthly ‚??Girls at Glades‚?? golfing day.¬† 99 ladies from across South-East Queensland had gathered and I, the sole guy, made the field a round 100.
Today was organised by Hayden, Luke and the team at the Glades and my first impression was they ran a pretty tight ship! 50 carts all lined up, with each competitors name on the windscreen, scorecards loaded and course all prepared. I was paired with Natalie Nichols and we set off for an individual stableford and best-ball competition.¬† The women were off the platinum tees (front), and after my last two days I decided it was time to venture back to the black tees.
The Glades is the only course in Queensland I have played with bent grass greens. So putting on them was more familiar and similar to Melbourne or New Zealand. No grain! And they actually take borrow. ¬†Unlike the ‚??328 couch‚?? on other greens in the area, the greens at the Glades show blemishes from pitch marks, foot marks and so on. So there are polarising views of these black sheep greens.¬† But in my book they are pure and the course should be congratulated for the persistent effort they put in to them to keep the grass growing and the greens as pure as they were today.¬† (the rumour goes that the greenstaff inject water into them daily to keep them from drying out in the heat)
The Glades is also another Greg Norman design and a Troon managed course.
I am learning that Norman designs often mean big features and the Glades was no exception. The bunkers were in-your-face, the course very long and the hazards visually imposing.¬† One thing I like with Norman courses is the par fives and that they gave you a chance to knock it on in two if you hit a good drive. Today, they were in two couplets: 6&7 and 11&12.¬† Both 6 and 11 were quite straightforward and I would call them both par 4 and a half. ¬†And then the second par five of the couplet bites you, for example the 530m 7th which had hazards down the right and huge bunkers dotted amongst the fairway and played back against the wind. ¬†Perhaps 12 was not quite as imposing as this, but it still had extensive water and bunkering around the green so bail out left (like I did) is an option. ¬†The couplets of par fives reminded me of Victoria and whilst different I quite like the way it makes each nine flow.
Natalie and I were not going so well in the best-ball although our score was helped by a couple of pars by Natalie, which, off her 34 handicap collected us four points a pop. Ideal! Unfortunately neither of us exhibited much consistency and it wasn‚??t until the stretch of 13-17 that we managed to string together some 3 pointers.
Our playing partners, Naomi and Norma were playing some nice golf. Ever competitive Norma was from Coolangatta Tweed Heads and played some good golf off her 27 handicap. Naomi was the low marker off 22 and had a very good short game ‚?? she even managed to hit low skiddy pitches with a lob-wedge that checked ‚?? something I am still trying to master.¬† Naomi had some good tools to play with which wasn‚??t surprising when I heard she and her husband Andrew owned some Drummond Golf stores. She is also a member of Brookwater and I‚??m going to head out there for a game with Andrew on Saturday.¬†
The back nine amps it up at The Glades after the duo of par fives. 13 is a 205m par three and 14 and 15 are very long par fours. 15 is 430m and today played into the wind.¬† The rough around these holes is very wiry so at times it looked like the ball would come out well but ended up just looping out 100m or so up the fairway.¬† Then, the final stretch of 16-18 is an entertaining stretch of dramatic holes.¬† 16 is a genuine risk reward par four.¬† There is a huge lake between the tee and the green whilst the green is surrounded by bunkers left, right and short right.¬† If you bail out right of the lake with an iron there‚??s a wide open fairway but you‚??ll be hitting into a green angled away from you.¬† If you take driver and nail it you can roll it directly up the green, but if you miss in the bunkers short right you‚??ve got the toughest shot in golf ‚?? the long bunker shot.
17 is a short par three played entirely over water. From the black tees it almost plays as an island green with water short, left and long and left. Check out the photo below.
18 is another monster par four at 410m again today into the wind. Water lines the left and you can bite off some of the dog-leg if you‚??re feeling brave on the last. Again have a look at the picture below.
After golf the Girls of the Glades were in the function room for a lunch and prizegiving.¬† I was given the honour of saying a few words to the women to explain my odyssey and talk about The First Tee and the work they do.¬† I saw a few nods from the audience as I explained there was much to be gained from golf for the 99.9% of us who aren‚??t going to be pro‚??s.¬† A few laughs later the questions started flowing and a few of the ladies were asking if they could come along to caddy!
Hayden and the staff put on a raffle and decided that all of the proceeds would go to The First Tee. We managed to sell $570 worth of tickets which was superb, and is hugely appreciated by the First Tee. Thank you to everyone, but in particular Hayden, Luke and the team for putting on an awesome event ‚?? great fun and The Glades was a cracking course. I dare say as good as any up here to date.
After handing out the prizes to the winners (including 43 points to the winner Tracey off a 10 handicap ‚?? great going: much better than my 84. Incidentally both Naomi and Norma, and Natalie and I had 37 in the best-ball which was about 11 shy of the winners) and a few conversations with the ladies (including encouraging them to consider starting up the First Tee in Australia) it was time to retreat to base camp for some R&R. ¬†But lastly, thanks to Naomi, Norma and Natalia for their company and making me feel very welcome for the day.¬†
The day was capped off with an Italian dinner talking golf and life with Bruce Young ‚?? a fascinating chap who is shortly off to cover the US Open at Pebble Beach ‚?? now that will be an amazing week of golf!
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