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#1 ttitheridge

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Posted 21 June 2005 - 07:44 AM

Oh well, here goes nothing.

For some time, I had a signature below my name taking a light hearted jab at Eagle Ridge's Golf Expo offer last year of a $1 round. Well, today I went back for the first time since all the earth moving gear and plastic tape cordoning off all sorts of capital works is long gone. In other words, a look at the final product without impediments.

Well, it goes without saying that a few strategically placed front end loaders, cranes and other major earth moving machinery should come back. Not just to fix the golf course, which may now be beyond salvation, but if they are positioned around greens or in place of some existing features, they would actually improve the look and architectural merit of many holes. Sorry, this renovation has long since crossed the barriers of being comical, gone past helplessly laughing, and is now somewhere between crying and just shaking your head and walking away. It is to the extreme benefit of Eagle Ridge that I know not as yet how to transfer phone photos to ultimately posting them, because I have a file that if they had any brains, they'd pay me a large sum for my phone and destroy it.

I have to point out that the turf management and therefore conditioning of the course is quite sound. Not up to the peninsula's best, but the greens are firm and quick enough considering our recent rains and the fairways present good lies. The maintenance failure is in the lack of level tees. But the CCFAD golfer who is impressed by condition, flower beds, fake waterfalls (there are now three!) and the like will have fun. But going on the aforementioned special, and also the current one that throws in soup and a cart for $26, not enough ever want to come back. Seriously, if you can't get people for under $30 green fees without the free cart, something must be wrong. And it is.

Firstly, the resort loving golfer, who values beverage carts and pretty flowers over design strategy at least likes to use his driver. There are too many holes here where players must either lay up off the tee, or are faced with extremely narrow fairways with ball losing junk lining each side. In an attempt to avoid competing with the typical peninsula style courses which in some way emulate a bit of the UK in oppenness and a "dunesy" or "linksy" feel, Eagle Ridge went for the Florida resort style. Only they missed. The course is unforgiving, and few of the all or nothing forced carries or tight shots have at least that exciting fun factor you might get from other tricked up features at other resort style courses.

And the bunkers. Oh brother, where can I possibly start. Their only redeeming feature is that they have been constructed to make the motorised raking easy.


Major Examples of Horror

I will be kind here. I know a few sound architectural minds on these boards who will criticise me for leaving too many out. But in all honesty, to list them all would make for a review too long even by my standards. I'll start with the first tee shot! Now a long iron or rescue mid for me from the tips (so that's about an 8 iron from the regular white tees). Or alternatively, longer hitters can bomb it into the front bunker complex (all of about an acre and a half of it). No risk/reward, and no drama from the sand.

Then comes the second hole. About 210 to reach the water, so there's another rescue mid for me and 4 iron for my playing partner. Anyway, nothing inciting brain damage happens again for a while. I look forward to the par 3 6th, a hole I have always liked. It is played over a ravine to aslightly elevated green 170m away. But always had a good look. Then it happened. After putting out on #5, we rolled our carts up to th sixth tee and all four of our jaws dropped. The bottom of the ravine, less than a hundred yards off the tee and almost as far to the green, there is an enormous bunker complex, complete with ornamental fern plonked within for good looks. And about a million other acres of bunkering elsewhere, and a new two tiered green. How can the designers be proud of this. Its like inviting Better Homes and Gardens to photograph your interior designing prowess at a new hotel, and letting them in an hour after a thrash metal band stayed and had an after party.

And this crap is repeated on all par 3s. How is this? On a so-called public/corporate outing type course, every par 3 has dead trouble in front of the green. The kind of trouble that makes 5-6 a really tough score for a twenty marker. The 100m carrying women, juniors and seniors out there please note, there is actually not one par 3 on this course you can play!! After #6, #8 is ringed by bunkering and has a re-vegetation area short of the green. #11 has a tiny ornamental pond (needed something for the fake waterfall to trickle into) short of the green. And the very long #17 has a large blob of very thick rough in the middle of the fairway cut, shaped like the hideous wavy fingered bunkers.

Take all this with some supremely narrow fairways on some of the few holes that should let a player hit driver, as well as other strange forced lay up shots, more hideous bunkering, water in wierd places, heck I'm going to stop now before I just get depressed.

To sum it up in short, do come down during the special and have a look. After all, you have to see it to believe it. And besides, for $26 in a cart, it still beats an average day at work (I didn't say a good one). But forget what I think. Nobody else in my foursome today will return either, even if the $1 special returns. Such a pity, because the resort concept can work. Nice clubhouse, nice feel about the place in a resorty kind of way. Pity the course is a try-hard poor copy of a resort course.



#2 John J Jones

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Posted 21 June 2005 - 08:08 AM

Tithers,

Who did the work? When I drove past the other day it had a nice big billboard out front proclaiming it to be a top 25 course. Didn't define which top 25...

JJ



#3 MatthewM

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Posted 21 June 2005 - 08:21 AM

It struggles into the top 25 on the Peninsula. If that theme park got it's second 18 of mini-golf approved by the Shire Council, Eagle Ridge would have been relegated...

MM



#4 ttitheridge

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Posted 21 June 2005 - 08:27 AM

JJJ,

I have no idea. Which is a good thing, because I couldn't face them when I find out. Perhaps that new member posting on these forums had a hand in the work.



#5 MatthewM

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Posted 21 June 2005 - 08:43 AM

Nah TT,

He's releasing a new album next year.

MM



#6 Willow

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Posted 21 June 2005 - 09:15 AM

I can't see any reason for an unprovoked attack on a golf course of any standard. I see this course as I put it an "ornamental" course. From my understanding the building of the course was done privately many years ago. Since being taken over the new owners have spent alot of money to improve the asthetics of the course. Not much can be done to the holes and does offer a challenge to all standards of golf in some way... whether being tight, narrow fairways or tricky greens. Every course offers something different to a golfer whether it be: not too hard but easy on the eye, a real test of golf, easy and the chance to boost your ego/confidence. I find Eagle Ridge to be enjoyable to play even though I don't find it terribly difficult, the experience it provides as a day out on the course is usually an enjoyable one... Not every course is built to challenge a golfer or to hold big tournaments. We can all see improvements to be made at every golf course out there but that's just the way the course is so deal with it... Play it for how the course is... enjoy it for what it is, warts and all.

That's just what I think

WILLOW



#7 ozero

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Posted 21 June 2005 - 09:27 AM

I've never played Eagle Ridge so can't give an opinion on it.

Not every course can fit into the Top 25.



#8 Russino

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Posted 21 June 2005 - 10:13 AM

tthither - just looked up the website and had a gander at some of the pics on there.

Bleedin hell. Looks like the designer must have popped a few acid tabs before coming up with some of those holes. I have the feeling he's a frustrated landscape gardener and decided to build a course as if it was his own back garden. tongue.gif (esp. the 8th and 11th hole !!!!)

Looks like something that a Garden make-over TV show would come up with biggrin.gif

Looks very well maintained but it's not my cup of tea. Far to neat and tidy, just doesn't look natural to me.



#9 judgesmails

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Posted 21 June 2005 - 05:24 PM

We had a comittee meeting for our social club a couple of weeks back and 3 guys on the comittee were raving about Eagle Ridge, telling me it was the greatest golf course on the Penninsula now the renovations had been done.

Maybe the purists might cringe but the 20 markers in our social club seem to love it...
Then again, the blokes who play in our social club would rather pay $30 to play Pakenham that $50 to play Ranfurlie.

I'm yet to see it so I'm only relaying what I've been told.



#10 Willow

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Posted 21 June 2005 - 06:39 PM

QUOTE: Russino @ Jun 21 2005, 12:13 AM

tthither - just looked up the website and had a gander at some of the pics on there.

Bleedin hell.  Looks like the designer must have popped a few acid tabs before coming up with some of those holes.  I have the feeling he's a frustrated landscape gardener and decided to build a course as if it was his own back garden.  tongue.gif  (esp. the 8th and 11th hole !!!!) 

Looks like something that a Garden make-over TV show would come up with  biggrin.gif

Looks very well maintained but it's not my cup of tea.  Far to neat and tidy, just doesn't look natural to me.

You would stand on some holes and ask... "why would you put that there?" but they have gone purely for looks when redesigning the golf course and not playability. I find there to be alot of interesting holes, some quite a challenge just to hit the fairway. That's why I think this is an interesting course.



#11 the_unreal_jeffrey

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Posted 21 June 2005 - 09:27 PM

Some interesting photos here:

http://www.eagleridge.net.au/gallery/course/index.asp?page=0



#12 Uncle_Leo

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Posted 21 June 2005 - 09:43 PM

QUOTE: Jeffrey @ Jun 21 2005, 11:27 AM

Some interesting photos here:

http://www.eagleridge.net.au/gallery/course/index.asp?page=0

Looks like a Nicklaus course to me.



#13 N & G Ablett

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Posted 21 June 2005 - 10:14 PM

I thought the Botanic Gardens where on the city fringe... must be mistaken.



#14 henry

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Posted 21 June 2005 - 10:21 PM

Eagle Ridge is not the Botanical Gardens N&G - the Botanic Gardens look good and are a pleasure to visit.



#15 ttitheridge

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Posted 22 June 2005 - 06:42 AM

QUOTE: Willow @ Jun 21 2005, 12:15 AM

I can't see any reason for an unprovoked attack on a golf course of any standard.

Willow, I accept your point. But I have to accept that if I am going to be silly enough to frequently review courses, I can't stand up there and say I like everything, or deliberately avoid saying a word on things I find I don't like. It can only harm what little credibility I have in reviewing if I gloss over everything or avoid any talk of negative things. So I have little choice than to call a spade a spade. I do so to be honest, not to attack.

Also, this course does promote itself using any accolades it can grab. You can't blow your trumpet if you don't want to listen to any negativity. And as I stated in my review, you can't make every par 3 completely unplayable to the competent woman golfer (h'cap 26) in our group and call yourself a decent public access course. The everyday regional courses I might review at times get spared because they don't blow their trumpet and are run sometimes on unqualified volunteer labour. The goal posts for them are quite different.






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