Firethorn adds to lure of Randpark

To the untrained eye the view looking out over Randpark Golf Club and the Fairway Hotel has been a chaotic scene.

Earth-moving equipment, mud and piles of sand made the area look more like a quarry than a golf course but after months of toil the work has unearthed a gem in the shape of the revamped Firethorn course.

“We cleared the first bit of earth in front of the hotel and laid the last blade of grass there but we feel that it’s been worth it when looking out at the course,” Craig McLeod, the club’s captain, said at the launch of the course this week.

When Saturday Citizen visited the site a few months ago work had just started on the new greens with shaping and seeding under way but an opportunity to play the course arose this week and it’s safe to say that the experience was an enjoyable one.

The wholesale changes see the old par three second hole removed and replaced by a par five while the stretch of the sixth, seventh and eighth has been reversed. The 18th, given stroke one status, has been shortened into a tough par four and forms part of an interesting closing stretch from the 16th.

“We’ve had great feedback so far. People are excited by the changes and feel that the course flows a lot better for everyone,” said McLeod.

“The second hole has been a definite talking point. We cleaned up both sides of the river and it really opened it up and now you get a full view. The holes we flipped are also going to become a feature.”

The clearing of the second hole has also meant that the area now boasts a park and allows the community to feel part of the club, one of the ideals that Randpark tries to promote.

‘We’re very keen on the surrounding community and now the park allows for that, people picnic on the weekend and walk their dogs. There’s a good vibe here and you don’t necessarily need to be a member to have some fun here,” McLeod said.

But, as with most things in life, there was one hiccup shortly before the official opening as the course was hit by flooding and while it hasn’t affected the actual course it did wash out bridges and some of the scenery.

“It took a bit of seeding away and it was really just one of those unfortunate things but we’ll it will all be done in winter.

The new greens complex means that the club now has an opportunity to play around with pin placements which, along with their new bunkers that guard a number of greens, could make things interesting for golfers.

“We can hide the pins away if we want to which was a big thing when we re-did the greens. With the old greens there were usually one or two spots but now there are a couple on each hole.

“But in saying that the course provides a fair test for golfers, from the high handicaps right down. All danger is visible and it’s made the course playable for everyone.”

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