Challenge Tour champion Jamie Moul of England grew up playing Stoke by Nayland Hotel, Golf & Spa, so who better to give us a guide to the course hosting next week’s English Challenge…
Hole 1: It’s a sloping fairway on the first so you’ve got to be careful where you pitch the ball. The second shot is up to an elevated green so it’s difficult to judge the distance, because depth perception is pretty hard. It’s only a short par four though, so a long iron off the tee would leave a short iron to the green.
Hole 2: The second is a par five – off the new back tee it’s a tight driving hole, but if you get your drive right it’s a good second shot to an elevated green and a good chance for birdie.
Hole 3: The third hole is a tiny par three, only 110 yards and probably ten yards downhill so it’s just a flip with a wedge. The green’s well protected though so you have to be careful.
Hole 4: Next is a short par four which is fairly straightforward off the tee but the green’s very well protected and quite undulating too.
Hole 5: Five is another reachable par five but it’s tricky off the tee because there’s a big slope on the fairway left to right. The green is again very well protected so it’s tough to get there in two, but it’s a great chance to pick up a shot.
Hole 6: The sixth is a dog-leg right up the hill, generally a three-wood or a driver to the corner to leave a short to mid iron into the green.
Hole 7: Seven is an uphill par three, where you can’t see the green from the tee so depth perception is pretty difficult. It’s only a mid-iron in there though so it’s not too hard a hole.
Hole 8: Eight is a risk-reward hole – you can take driver and take it over the corner to leave a short flip with a wedge into the green. Or you can take a three iron into quite a small area to leave a mid-iron into a flat-ish green, so it’s a good birdie chance.
Hole 9: The ninth is a par four with a dog-leg left down the hill. It generally plays to the corner then a shot down to the green which is well protected from the top of the hill.
Hole 10: The tenth is the course’s signature hole. You play over the same lake twice and it’s a tough tee shot. You have to find the fairway, then it’s a tough second shot as well to a green which has a massive slope and water at the front.
Hole 11: Next is a long par three – the toughest par three on the course. It’s a long iron, maybe even a rescue club depending on the wind. Again, it’s a well-protected, sloping green.
Hole 12: The 12th is a short par four and you can either hit driver up over the hill or anything less will leave you in the swale, from where you won’t be able to see the green. It’s a straightforward green though, so if you hit a good drive it’s a great birdie chance.
Hole 13: The 13th has a slight dog-leg left and is a tricky shot. There’s a bunker and the rough to try and avoid, so you’ve got to hit it long to get past those, and the green is well protected and slopes off to the left. It’s a tough par four.
Hole 14: Fourteen is another reachable par five with a little bit more room than you think off the tee. It’s a fairly flat hole so if you get your tee shot right it’s a good birdie opportunity as there’s not a lot to worry about around the green.
Hole 15: The 15th is a short par four, where you need to keep your tee shot up the left. There’s not a great deal of merit in taking the driver here because it’s a small area you have to find. I would take a long iron, leaving a mid to short iron into the green.
Hole 16: The 16th off the new tee is a tricky driving hole for a par five. The fairway slopes right to left all the way down there and snakes up and down, so depending on where it lands you either get a lot of run or no run. Depending on that you might be able to reach the green in two. It’s the longest hole on the course – about 620 yards – and plays a lot tougher off the back tees so it’s not a given birdie.
Hole 17: The 17th has been improved a lot with a new back tee. It’s a good driving hole with a bit more room to the right than you think. You hit to an up-slope fairway and then up to an elevated green. It’s a tricky little green and a small target so needs a lot of care.
Hole 18: Eighteen is a par three over the water, which doesn’t really come into play, but it’s a small, funny-shaped, well bunkered green. It’s a great par three to finish.