“The ardent golfer would play Mount Everest if somebody put a flagstick on top.”
– Pete Dye (World renown golf course architect/designer)
SO, where is this journey taking place? When I decided where to pursue the JT4, I wanted it to be a place where it would begin, and hopefully end. The criteria I set were clear; it had to have Championship Course status, it needed to measure long and be minimum Par 72. And above all else, it had to be extremely challenging.
The first time I played Crondon was as a guest of a member whom is a friend of mine, being a member’s only club. I remember the round vividly, as I recall I walked off battered – shooting a gross score of 102. I had not shot a 3 digit score for quite some time when playing the other local/smaller courses around me….so this really was a reality check. However, I was hooked, and fell in love with the place.
Measuring over 6620 yards off the member’s tees, and nearly 7000 yards! off the professional tees, the course certainly ticked the box in terms of length. I remember walking it during that first ever round and it felt like I had played 22 holes, not 18! In fact, the 18th finishing hole once had the title of the “longest par 5 in the WORLD” at 860 yards! It played unofficially as a par 6. The hole no longer plays that long, but remains a menacing Par 5 at over 660 yards. Check out the BBC News link added….
Length is not its only defence however. Water (and copious amounts of it) comes into play on 8 of the 18 holes, including that monstrous 18th finishing hole. The lay out is such that you have to know your distances if you want to remain “dry”. I can think of just a handful of times when there has been little wind at Crondon Park, thus making the water features extremely important to respect.
If the above is not soul destroying enough, when the course was originally designed and built in 1994, over 21,000 trees were planted. Now mature, no matter which of the holes you are playing, you are invisible and constantly secluded from all of the other holes, a real tree lined parkland course.
The battle had begun:
So needless to say, I joined the club immediately. I knew instantly that if I were to “get low” around this course, I could play good golf almost anywhere else. In fact even now at the time of posting this blog, I can’t help but feel that my handicap would most likely be 2 shots lower when I play other local courses. So why stay?? Well the answer is simple; I do not want an easy route! Week by week, for the past two and a half years, I never get bored playing this wonderful and sometimes stressful golf course. It beats me up at times, and fills me with immense joy on other occasions.
It’s my home.