By Richard C Talbot

The course at Phoenix Gold Golf & Country Club has already been the subject of much discussion this year as people have tried to ascertain why only six players managed to shoot under par in 2017. On a course of only 6243 yards, surely better scores should be achieved, but this course has been doing this to many golfers over a long period of time.

Already there are positive murmurings that the greens are softer this year and better scores will be achieved. This will surely be the case as many of the European golfers will be making a second appearance in the competition.

In terms of the course there are three types of holes: 1. The good, where birdies are possible; 2. The not so good, where a par is a good result; 3. The “hasip hasip”. That is Thai for 50/50, you should score well but that may not always be the outcome.

There are a number of holes that are more than capable of being birdied. The 476-yard par-5 second hole is capable of giving everyone an early boost to their round. The 499-yard par-5 13th is another to get the players motivated as it has wide fairways and is one of the most picturesque holes on a very attractive golf course. To finish off the theme of par 5s, the final hole of 490 yards is another hole that many will fancy birdying at the end of their round.

The “not so good” are the holes that the players will be fighting to score a par on. They are all situated in the last six holes on the front nine. Hole number four is a 175-yard par-3 and it is treacherous. Winds seem to gather over the water to the right and players need to carry over 160 yards to get over the bunker. The green is fairly narrow so keeping the ball on it is tough.

The same problem of keeping an approach shot on the green applies to hole number six. The 378-yards are stretched to their full extent as the green is raised. The banks on this green are nearly always soft so running the ball up is not an option. The ball needs to be carried all the way and then held on to a narrow green.

The same problem applies to hole number nine. However, the bank is not so large but the players must not go to the left side of the green as it will be almost impossible to keep the ball in play.

The big holes on the card will be the “hasip hasip” ones. Last year, the holes on number five (a 352-yard par 4) number eight (a 147-yard par 3) and number 10 (a 346-yard par 4) all averaged scores higher than their par. These are the ones that the top finishers will take advantage of.

It all seems pretty straight forward but as we all know things rarely go according to plan!