I have played Magnolia Park before, back when it was a brand new course so it was nice to visit again to see how it has matured.
With water all down the left you need to keep your drive right on the par 5 opening hole although mind out for the solitary bunker, I managed to find the sand. Try not to over hit your approach to the green as deep rough awaits anything that is long.
The second needs good judgement on yardage as the green is not very deep and the pond in front will catch anything short. With the flag in a little hollow we both misjudged how strong the wind was against us and ended up in the pond, I eventually won the hole with a 7!
The third is another par 5, being under 500 yards it is very reachable in two, try to drive down the left as this leaves a good line into the green between the bunkers. The fourth does not require you to cut the dogleg, just play up to the corner, keeping clear of the bunker and yo will have a short iron to a green that is guarded by two bunkers at the front.
Both our approach shots hit the middle of the green but ended up 10 yards off the back, it was at this point we noticed the greens were very firm and fast, so a decision was made to play short of the greens if we could and allow the ball to roll on, getting a little bit like links golf in the heart of Buckinghamshire!
The fifth is a pretty straightforward par 4, stay clear of the bunkers and you should be fine, my 6-iron approach landed short of the green as planned but still rolled right through!
The course now makes its way onto the hillside and the best line on the seventh is to aim at the tree, the sloping right to left ground will bring the ball back to the left of the fairway. With no bunkers guarding the green our links approach technique was working well.
The seventh is a short hole, just a wedge for most, but the challenge was yet again to stop the ball on the green, yes they were really that hard. My playing partner rolled about two feet off the back but I ended up down the slope in the deep stuff.
The eighth turns back towards the clubhouse so with a sloping left to right fairway requires the opposite strategy to the sixth. The ground climbs sharply just in front of the green so it is almost impossible to run a long approach up to it. We both played this par 5 in regulation leaving a short pitch to the putting surface.
Get your driver out on the final hole of the front nine and go for the green, it is a narrow approach between the bunkers but the putting surface is reachable from the tee with a slight fade. I didn’t quite make it, ending up in the small bunker on the right.
The tenth requires a good drive down the left to leave a shorter approach to the green, the gap between the bunkers allowing us to continue our links approach. This strategy continued on the par 3 that follows as there was no way we were going to hold the green on a short hole that measures over 200 yards!
You have a choice of fairways on the twelfth, take the slight longer left route and you only have one bunker to avoid go for the more direct route on the right and there are two more sand traps to think about.
Big hitters may be tempted to aim over the trees and cut the corner of the par 5 thirteenth but most of us will aim left of the bunker and take three shots to reach the green. This was another hole where the quality of our golf was not that great, we tried to cut the corner, both lost balls in the long rough so back to the tee. I ended up having a six-foot putt for an 8 to win the hole, the hole was halved in 9!
There are a few changes being made to the fourteenth hole, it used to have a huge bunker on the left from halfway down the fairway all the way to the green. The sand is gone but it looks like they may make it a water feature.
Brave golfers will take a driver on the fifteenth and get as close to the water as they can others will use caution but leave themselves a longer approach over the lake, there are no bunkers around the green, this hole doesn’t need any.
Long hitters beware the ditch on the sixteenth is reachable from the tee and try to keep right to leave a better approach to the green. The water next to the seventeenth does not really come into play and this par 3 gives a good opportunity for a birdie near the end of your round.
With water near the tee on the right and all down the left of the hole an accurate drive is required on the last. Keep the second shot right to leave a better approach as a left pin position can be very tricky to get at.