Stunning views from the 4th hole5th flag framed by the dunesLooking back up the 18th
Iíd heard a lot about the Rosepenna resort and sometimes you feel let down because people have built it up so much. I have a sneak preview of what Iím in for the night before, when we have a late-night commando raid on the Tom Morris Links, I only play the back nine but am mightily impressed so canít wait to get out the following morning and not even a downpour can put me off.
And to my relief Sandy Hills is everything Iíve been told and more. From the opening hole to the crescendo that is the 18th, I must be beaming from ear-to-ear. I love the design, the way the course is routed and the splendid views, and its undulating green complexes. Sandy Hills has everything.
The course was opened in 2003 and sits next to the Old Tom Morris Course, and as it says in the press releases: where Tomís courses run along the Dunes, the Pat Ruddy-designed course goes through them, which does surprisingly offer you plenty of solitude. You may see other holes from the greens and tees, but when youíre on most fairways youíre secluded by the dunes. I can see playing here alone could give you a really spiritual peaceful feeling, the kind that I used to experience on the practice ground with no one around.
I love all the par-3s, in fact Iím not sure there is a weak hole on the course. You will be hard pushed to name a favourite because as you start going back over them at the bar, you can hear your brain ticking away, saying how about the 18th and the way it funnels down to the green...but the sixth is the same with that stunning view...and how about the tee shot down to the fairway below at the eighth...or the fifth and how the green sits between the dunes...and on and on it goes. In the end youíll just settle for the fact that all the holes have something special about them and you need to come back again someday to sample that feeling of peace you feel while walking and playing among the dunes at Sandy Hills.