The first, like most good opening holes, gives you a gentle introduction being a shortish par four, but you have to play it well to make par or better. Also, as it is played against the prevailing wind you could need more than you think for your second shot.
The second is sterner and uphill and most often into a fighting wind. The old tree on the right needs avoiding, as do the bunkers left and right. You can’t see the bottom of the pin with your second, so don’t underestimate the distance and under club.
The third is downhill and often wind helping but one of the toughest par fours on the course. Find the fairway and you still face a really tough second to a small green which is nearly impossible to run onto as the ground falls away on both sides.
Where is all the water you say as you leave the third green with your ball intact and walk down the path to the fourth. You can see the tee ahead and it does not look too bad. Water right, and although you can not see it you know the river is on the left.
After a par five a par three to rebuild the score if you like to keep your score against level fours or fives. The lake should be clearable, but where has the river gone? The answer is right behind the green making this very tough to judge.
Six is a quite short par four and the water on the right shouldn’t be in play. Keep away from the bunkers on the right as an inviting pitch should give hope of a birdie, but be up. Most people are short here and the green has some slopes which makes putting interesting.
Water is an issue on the seventh but, if the original ball is still going, take aim on the left hand bunkers and play a club to keep you just short of them. A big drive between the lake and the bunkers will give a short approach but the wise golfer who has played the percentages can still be rewarded with a much needed birdie.
If you like drawing a medium iron in to a short hole, you will like the eighth. It will need to be a good one because the hole is well protected with a wide ridge at the front and bunkers right and left. The green is beautifully shaped.
The par five ninth is a less intimidating tee shot than the fourth with water only on the right and unless you are a long hitter, a nice lay up in to the little amphitheatre of bunkers and a river leaves a lovely pitch across to the green. Somehow the green looks reachable off a good drive, but therein lies the risk.
Your ball should not get wet at the tenth, but what a great short par four. The trees on the left tell you where to go and a mid to short iron over the stream to the elevated green should yield a four.
Climb the eleventh tee and back to reality. A tight tee shot with out of bounds on both sides. The green is in the distance and you somehow feel that this is one hole where you must keep your nerve. Drive away and find the fairway and you see the extent of the lake which needs to be carried.
Off the back tee the twelfth is 90 percent water, but somehow off the tees to the right it is just as tough with any drawn shot invariably finding the water.
Thirteen has some of the features of the third hole. It has water but that should not come into play, although the bunkers right nearly always do. The similarity is in the second shot which must be carried all the way to avoid hungry bunkers right and the bank to the left.
Fourteen looks just like one of the great seaside par fives. It seems to snake through the dunes. Bunkers and rough are just where they should be and you need to be well past the right hand bunkers and in the gap to try to go across bunkers and rough to a very well protected green.
No bunkers on a short hole. True, but fifteen is well protected by large undulations on the green and again the setting looks like a links with “dunes” either side of the green.
Looking downhill, the tee shot on the sixteenth is inviting and you are best a little left, as the out of bounds is only just right of the bunkers which themselves will almost certainly cost you a shot. The approach to a very shallow green needs to be precise as the hollow short right will gather you up and down in two from over the back is a rare feat.
Back to a parkland setting for seventeen and what a good hole. The tee shot must be placed to find a sculptured fairway. Don’t take on the carry on the left of the big tree as there is no reward as the rough is thicker down the left and the hole does not dogleg as much as you might think.
The second lay up is easier the longer the drive, as the fairway narrows menacingly, but even the bold lay up has to miss a bunker. Now all you have to do is get across that lake and you can tell of your five at the 18th at Collingtree Park. Take plenty of club, loosen the grip and watch your little white friend sail into the middle of the green. You have done it and it is no mean achievement to finish this hole.