Located between the Peninsula Country Club, Centenary Park public course and the newer Ranfurlie and Settler's Run courses is a nine hole public course and driving range. I have visited the driving range on three or four occasions to catch up with Dan Meyers who teaches there. He has also kindly used his flightscope to give me accurate numbers about my ball striking. I add that Dan has a track record of producing club championship winners at a variety of clubs. Give him a go if you want a practical and effective old school teaching pro. At any rate I missed Dan by a couple of hours so I decided to play the nine hole course.
The first hole is a 300m par 4. The tee is elevated and there is a large hill about 160m from the tee on the left side. On the right side is a water hazard. The hole curves right with the green behind the water hazard. It is a pretty daunting opening tee shot. The easy way out is to play with a mid iron leaving perhaps 130m to the pin. What isn't obvious is that there is plenty of room on the far side of the hill. A well struck drive on that line will leave a very straightforward pitch from 50m or so. The green is flat and a reasonable size for the length of the hole.
I was pleasantly surprised by the conditioning of the first hole. The fairway was well grassed and presented good lies throughout. The green was slow but ran true. The rest of the course was pretty good as well.
The second hole is an uphill par 3 of 162m. Make sure you get the ball to the green because anything even slightly short will run back 25m or so to the bottom of the hill. Again the green was a reasonable size for the length of the hole but this time there is a bit of slope from back to front.
The third hill is a downhill par 4 of 199m. Yes a par 4. There are no tricks apart from some trees not far from the tee which just cramp the line to the pin slightly. Over the green there is a narrow band of rough which will stop some long shots from overshooting out of bounds. Needless to say a short pitch from rough is a pretty demanding shot especially when you are feeling clever about driving through the green on a par 4.
The fourth hole is a dog leg right par 4 of 258m. The tee shot is blind over a hill and for a first time player there isn't much hint about the correct line. The second is uphill to a generous green for such a short hole. Like the second any shots short will roll back this time into rough which starts about five metres down the slope. I think the chances of actually getting the ball onto the green off the tee are pretty slim. The dog leg is sharp enough that the best option is probably a mid iron off the tee followed by a pitch shot.
The fifth is a scenic par 3 of 107m played across a valley. The green is surprisingly deep so it is a good idea to check the exact distance.
Six is a par 4 of 215m from an elevated tee across a slight valley. The fairway is surprisingly wide but there is some rough a little short of the slightly elevated green.
Seven is a par 4 of 292m with a very wide fairway. At about 220m from the tee a drain crosses the fairway. Players will need to make up their minds whether to carry or play short. This green is narrow and slopes from left to right where there is a small drop off to some rough.
Eight is a horseshoe dogleg left par 4 of 262m or at least that is what it says on the card. A controlled hook with a fairway wood over the trees lining the left side of the fairway, however, has a chance of finding the green. Either that or finding the rough short of the green which then slopes away from front to back. There is a wire net to the left of the tee to protect players on the fourth but it does not intrude on play and is nowhere near the line to the green.
The finishing hole is a dog left par 4 of 247m. The direct line to the green is over an attractive dead tree but that skirts the driving range which is OOB. A tee shot of around 200m over the dead tree leaves a very attractive shot from a valley to the green. Again there is a moderate slope from right to left and to the back of the green.
The course is built on nicely undulating land and the routing is quite attractive. I can't think of a course like it when it comes to drive-able par 4s. Overall a low handicap player could reasonably expect to score a few shots under par if they were playing at all well. It is a really good test of just how good a player is off the tee.
On the other hand it strikes me as a really good course for beginners and social players. If you can't get around in an hour and a half you are not trying.
Skye is never going to make any list of top courses but if you want a bit of fun it is definitely worth a visit. I've definitely got it on my list to play in my quest to break par.