September 26, 2016

Playing one of Harry Vardon's Classic Courses

This month we start a series of “hints and tips” about playing at Llandrindod Wells Golf Club which are brought to you by Phil Davies the club’s secretary/professional.  Phil has been associated with the club since 1981 when he joined as a junior member at the tender age of 11 so he is very well placed to advise you on the best way to play one of Harry Vardon’s classics.

Phil starts his series with the first hole….

“Straight forward, plain, mundane”.  These are words that might be used to describe the opening hole on many golf courses, but those words certainly do not apply to the first hole at Llandrindod Wells Golf Club.

A look at the scorecard will show a distance of 315 yards off the whites and 306 yards off the yellow tees, but don’t be fooled that this an easy hole.  Stand on the tee and you will see that the hole climbs approximately 85 feet from tee to green, which means the hole will play more like a hole of 370 yards and then you’ve got to face “The Bank”. 

The bank is a rough grassy slope running across the fairway between 180 and 200 yards from the tee and it is a hazard you really need to avoid if you are going to get par on this opening hole.  The options are simple, lay up short of the bank with a longish iron shot into the green, or take out the driver or 3 wood and gamble on flying your ball onto the upper fairway leaving you a pitch of 60 to 100 yards to the green, but if you hit the bank, you might find it impossible to get your ball near the green with your next shot.  Just as a point of interest, as you walk up the fairway you might notice a flat area just below the bank, this was Harry Vardon’s original first green, the current green was designed by James Braid when he amended and extended the course during the 1930’s.

So you’ve overcome the bank, but the hole is not over as the two tier green can cause all sorts of problems to the unsuspecting golfer. Reaching the top level of the green is crucial if you wish to make a solid start to your card.

If you made par, you’re off to a fine start, congratulations.

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