The Lakes Golf Club – December 2017 What a treat to play one of the best courses in Australia (16th on the Golf Digest list of 2016)!
I came to be playing The Lakes with Phoebe, Sue and Cathie as I met Phoebe through a book club friend and the three ladies joined me at Pymble Golf Club to celebrate Fairways going into our second year.
Phoebe invited me to play at her course in the ladies’ Friday competition and as Dave was with me I asked which course nearby I could drop him at while I teed it up. As it turned out Phoebe arranged with her friend Darren that Dave could play with him two hours before us.
So Friday morning at 5.40am we arrived at The Lakes and smiled as the sun peeked over the horizon. The morning was perfect with hardly any wind.
We stopped in the pro shop, had Darren pointed out and arranged for me to access the locker room so I could work for a couple hours while Dave golfed.
As Dave headed off to the driving range, I returned to the car to get my laptop, dropped off my things and went out to introduce myself to Darren.
The practice facilities are amazing and I wish I could spend hours here honing my game.
I have lived in and around Sydney for 15 years and while I knew there were a few golf courses in the area, I had no idea the oasis of The Lakes existed in the middle of Sydney.
It is stunning!
The course was established in 1928 and has had a couple of redesigns as Sydney expanded and roads were built. The Championship Course will be hosting the Australian Open once again in 2018.
I can’t wait to watch some of the world’s top players navigate this challenging course.
From sandy wasteland, 90+ bunkers, and fairways that run towards the water, the course has enough hazards without the wind coming into effect. Although there was hardly any wind on Friday, which was remarked upon by many.
The ladies competition had 27 players and while my Golf Australia handicap is 31.3, my Golf Canadian one is 23.1 so we had the pro shop adjust my playing handicap to reflect my Canadian one. We assumed that it would be 28 considering the slope rating and used that to score in the stableford competition.
The green staff do an amazing job and the spring of the grass as you walk down the fairway has you feeling like you are bouncing on carpet. The ball sits up nicely (providing you are on the fairway – I spent a little time in the sandy wasteland on the front nine) and I was able to hit some fantastic 3w shots.
Boy can the ladies play. I am sure I played better golf watching these wonderful women wield their clubs. It certainly helps having members direct me around their home course.
I had my usual blow out on the front 9 scratching 2 holes and did the same on the back 9.
Coming through the 11th, I hit a great drive followed by a lovely 3 wood that I followed with a nice 5 iron but my 4th was too far right and trickled into the water. Sue came over with her ball retriever (a necessary piece of equipment on this course) and pulled my ball out for me. As I took a drop and watched it roll back into the water I shot forward to grab it but instead I just managed to stop myself falling face first into the lake.
Sue and I had a good laugh and she got my ball back out for me and I started the process again.
While I was playing some good golf I was also having some ridiculous shots that I could do naught but laugh at.
The greens are tricky with multiple undulations and the 13th was particularly challenging (and a little controversial) even though the women directed me. I rolled over the green on my 3rd shot and giggled as I didn’t quite get up the hill on my 4th nor my 5th as I was worried I would overshoot the green once again.
I scratched the 13th hole and headed to the 14th tee. I hit a great drive and watched my 2nd shot (a fantastic hit 3w) once again roll towards the water and splash. Sue had done the same thing and as I watched her play it safe toward the bridge I figured why not give it a nudge and try to go over the lake. I splashed another ball in the water and did the same thing with my next ball laughing as I scratched that hole too.
My first ball on the 15th was short and right and I miss hit my chip and was sitting off the right edge of the green but looked at my line, pulled out my putter and watched in delight as my ball snaked it’s way to the hole hitting the pin as it dropped.
I love dropping a long par putt.
As we teed off the 16th, Phoebe was telling me about the water dragons that live on the course and pointed out one sunning itself on a rock. There is a thriving community of water dragons and water fowl who call this course home.
I finished quite well hitting some good shots – there was a dodgy bunker shot on the 18th but what a day for golf with wonderful new golf friends.
Post round we tallied our scores each of us getting 32 stableford points however when we checked our calculations for my handicap, it turns out we were 1 stroke off so I gained another point and ended on 33.
Not a bad round at all for my first view of a tricky championship course and considering I scratched 4 holes, I was stoked.
As their website states “A game at The Lakes will always be different from your last. The course is often at the mercy of the wind and the water is well in evidence on the homeward stretch, with the picturesque innocent looking lakes thirsting for miss hit golf balls. It demands patience and precision from the tee and deft second shot accuracy to find the greens. Every Par 5, for which the course is internationally regarded, provides the golfer with strategic decisions to risk for reward or to play safe.”
Phoebe has advocated for Fairways with The Lakes and they have kindly donated a tee time as part of Fairways’ Awesome 4somes fundraising.
We headed into the clubhouse for a delicious lunch and caught up with Dave who’d had a wonderful morning with members Darren, Geoff and Kevin. Dave was very impressed with their level of golf and was very pleased to have been able to play with them. The gentlemen showed him the way and helped him score well considering the amount of trouble out on the course.
While Dave and I played hours apart we were still competing against each other – Dave beat me by 3 strokes – but as it turned out my 33 points put me in 7th place in the ladies competition and I was delighted.
I had a fantastic day in awesome company and I look forward to golfing with Phoebe, Sue and Cathie again.