After all that learning, Andy needed a relaxing round of golf at The Belfry...

Andy Roberts's picture
Andy Roberts
Fri, 10 Feb 2012

One of the most famous finishing holes in golf

The 566-yard par-5 15th plays the longest on the course and demands precision execution of every shot. If you’re long and straight off the tee you can have a go at the green but not in wet conditions. I was forced to lay up, careful not find the huge fairway bunker some yards from the green.

The 16th is equally tough. It plays uphill to a two-tier green which slopes from right to left and where Ryder Cup officianados will remember that Phillip Price finally accounted for the scalp of Phil Mickelson in 2002. But in my opinion its demands were nothing compared to the 17th and 18th holes.

The par-5 17th doglegs sharply right demanding a carry of 220 yards to fly the right-hand bunker. After laying up for the umpteenth time in the round, I left myself with ten-foot birdie putt below the hole. On the walk halfway, pointing at the hole, winking to it, and about to give it large, I tapped home for my par!

Standing on the 18th tee, I was blown away by the view and the challenge that faced me but composed myself to clear the corner of the giant lake - my ball some ten yards ahead of where O’Connor struck his 2-iron against Fred Couples.

Playing into the long green that stretched toward the hotel, my 4-iron from 184 yards found the rough about 20-feet right of the pin. Unfortunately, I couldn’t bring the house down with a par but was reasonably pleased with my five-over par back nine.

So what were my highlights of the round? While you tend to enjoy and remember the holes where you played well, I can safely say that on The Brabazon, every hole will linger long in my memory. The course is set up in such a way that you have to think about every shot and it’s not just a matter of walking up to your ball and hitting it like I would normally do on my home course.

Some may consider the £160 green fee too pricey in the current economic climate but combined with its history and the achievements of the players who have walked its fairways, it’s a course that scrutinizes every element of your game. There can be no excuses right now though, since The Brabazon is just £75 to play until April 23. 

The Brabazon made me appreciate how good the Tour players are. Finding the greens can be difficult enough but being able to read them for pace and line and trying to work out the often subtle undulations and breaks is so difficult. There are few places in England where you can say you’ve played where Tiger Woods has played.

My experience was made all the more enjoyable thanks to the guidance and knowledge of Gary and his comedy of errors at the 11th, as well as the friendly service of the staff and dining team at the Belfry Hotel. While it’s common knowledge the 550-acre venue is now up for sale for an estimated £60 million, it certainly sold itself to me.

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