China Fleet G C
Played on 09.03.2022

Weather & Course Condition

It was a overcast day with the occasional light rain showers during the round and luckily for me the persistent rain didn’t start until I had taken refuge in the clubhouse after the round. As with a lot of other clubs at this time of the year the greenkeepers were kept busy not only preparing the course after the winter for the summer but also still working hard on clearing up the course after the heavy rain and gales we have had over the past few weeks. The greens had been heavily sanded which made putting interesting and like my partner who I was playing with it was common to leave your putts short but you need to expect this at this time of year and it is the same for everybody.

Review

You will find China Fleet over the border into Cornwall just outside Saltash, whichever direction you are coming from you need to get on the A38, if you are approaching from the south take the exit just before the Saltash tunnel then at the end of the slip road take 1st left then immediately left again and the road will take you directly into the clubs car park, approaching from the North you’ll cross the toll bridge (it’s free to get into Cornwall but cost’s to get out) keep in the lefthand lane and take the first exit as soon as you come off the bridge, take the righthand lane on the slip road and turn right at the lights then take the first left, follow this road until you see the A38 and exit sliproad for those travelling North, take the right turn just before the sliproad then immediately turn left to the course.

There is a large car park so parking will be no issue at all, the pro shop is by the driving range which is just right of the main complex, a warm welcome was received here and the shop is large and very well stocked and surprisingly I found some well priced items in it. Follow the path between the driving range and main complex to the first tee where you will find a large putting green and nearby a small chipping/pitching practice area, also there is a hut with various catering machines in which you can visit after the ninth as that green is close by too. A very challenging course for all abilities but a most enjoyable one, there is a golfers bar in the main complex but it is quite a way from the front entrance and if it’s your first time here you may need to ask the way to it, for me I enjoyed a brew  just inside the entrance above the reception area where I mingled with a lot of people who where there for the health and fitness side of the business. This is a very professional set up with a good course to boot certainly one to be at the top of your list to play if you are in the area.

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Hole by Hole Analysis
All yardage is from the yellow tee’s
Hole 1 – 394yds – Par 4

From the tee the wide fairway turns to the right to go behind the driving range some 130yds away so for the better drivers you may think about a 3 wood rather than a driver, for myself I knew the chance of my driver going too long was not a problem so teeing off in front of a waiting gallery a easy swing with a good strike I watched my ball fly high and just off to the left then land on the ladies tee some 120yds away. About 150yds from the green the fairway drops down to it and the less said of my play the better as I had a shocker the only saving grace for me was my two putt from the front of the long green to the pin some 50ft away.

Hole 2 – 520yds – Par 5

You have a blind uphill tee shot here with trees lining up the lefthand side with the 1st fairway on the other side of them and out of bounds on the right, the ideal shot would be at the large tree you can see on the right in the distance with a gentle draw, wait what am I on about just aim left of middle and hope your ball follows that line, for myself it set off on that line but decided to move right and left me just over the brow of the hill in rough to the right of the fairway. From here you should be able to see the green far in the distance and as long as your second stays on the fairway and doesn’t go right again leaving you either in the rough and possibly blocked off by trees to the green or OOB. I made sure to keep left and my third just left me short of the green which again is longer than wider with a large bunker on the right and a smaller one to it’s left but be aware of another large bunker on the right that’s about 25yds short of the green. Considering the tee shot I was happy with only getting a bogey here.

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Hole 3 – 277yds – Par 4

As we were playing off the mats this meant we were around 50yds in front of the usual teeing area, it is slightly uphill here with a bunker siting in the middle of the fairway some 130yds in front of you. If you go left there are trees here which will make for a challenging second, my playing partner ended up about pin high from tee but on the 2nd fairway which left a shot of 90yds over trees to the green which is another way to play this hole but could annoy any players behind you. The green is similar to a light bulb shape with it being narrow entry at the front with bunkers left and right of it but then opening out leaving a very big green to go at. For me it took 3 hits to get on the green but I still manged par as my pitch on left me inches from the hole.

Hole 4 – 439yds – Par 4

A long par 4 which gently turns right some 190yds from the tee then gently drops down to the green. A wide fairway awaits you here but if you veer off to the left just be aware you may end up on the 9th fairway but at least you will still be in play as should you go off right the trees are waiting for your ball and a reloading of the tee will be required. I managed one of my best drives of the day which left me just off the rightside of the fairway some 200yds out from the green, not the greatest of second shots which meant my pitch into the green (which again is longer than wider with two bunkers either side of it) seemed to be perfect so I was more than surprised to watch it roll just off the back especially with such a heavily sanded green so another bogey on the scorecard.

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Hole 5 – 157yds – Par 3

I find the shorter par 3’s more challenging than the longer ones and this one is no exception, a great looking hole with the large green with bunkers lined down the right of it is waiting below you. As it’s such a big long green club selection should be easy the trouble here is you need to land on the green as trees line all down the left and anything right will either be bunker bound or in trouble, also what you will not see from the tee is a small creek of the River Tamar between you and the green as the hole steeply drops down to it before rising upto the green and as I walked to the green I noticed a lot of balls in there. I have been hitting my irons quite well just lately so instead of going for my trusty rescue wood I opted for my 6 iron and although the aim wasn’t great as I ended up by the next tee box I was pin high and a great pitch onto the green was ruined by the three putt.

Hole 6 – 252yds – Par 4

Even though it’s uphill the green is reachable for the big hitters if they know the correct line as anything right will be big trouble if not lost. Once over the brow of the hill the fairway is like a ledge leading up to the green with a bank to the left of the fairway and the possibility of a lost ball to the right it can be quite challenging for the higher handicapper but good fun. My drive was not great and ended up just behind the tree on the righthand side of the photo leaving no shot direct to the green but a good 7 iron landed on the bank to the left of the fairway and rolled back onto the fairway just short of the green which has a lot of bunkers all down the right of it and one to the left front of it, considering the drive I should have been happy with a bogey but after the second shot I knew I’d blown a par here.

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Hole 7 – 124yds – Par 3

Another good par 3 with trouble waiting if your short so ideally you need to get on the green, there is a bunker directly in front of the green to clear and one to the right of it, anything going further right of it could end up in big trouble as the ground drops steeply but should you go left of the green there is a chance the ball could come back of the steep bank and onto the green. This time I opted for a easy rescue wood and played it high only to watch it plug in he bunker to right of the green however I managed to get out of it to about 2ft of the hole so was overjoyed to get par here.

Hole 8 – 396yds – Par 4

Even though it’s a wide fairway awaiting your tee shot it’s still a daunting one if your not confident with your driver. With everything crossed including my eyes I was pleased to see it go straight and end up just left of middle around 155yds away. From here the green is out of sight as it is tucked just behind the group of trees on the right and the fairway drops down to it, this time the rescue stopped in the bag and my choice was my 7 wood and taking aim to the left edge of said trees was more than surprised to see the ball sail away on the exact line and ended up just short of the large long green which has two large bunkers to the right and one large one to the left.

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Hole 9 – 510yds – Par 5

Once again another daunting tee shot awaits for me here, anything going left is probably lost and anything going right could be lost in those trees also however should you hit it past these there is room for any shot that does drift right, with a slight dogleg right some 250yds from the tee and a few fairway bunkers upto the large long green which has a large bunker to the left of it and two on the right. Can’t say I had a great hole here but to say I eventually visited the green after 5 shot’s and walked off with double bogey.

Hole 10 – 298yds – Par 4

Another hole where the big hitters could reach the green but even for the likes of players like me a reasonable tee shot down the fairway can leave you with a pitch into the green which is again long with a bunker to the front lefthand side and one to the front righthand side but the one to be careful of is the one that is about 10yds to the front right of the green as it is possible for a good drive to roll into this one. As I knew this wasn’t a problem for my drive what I hadn’t factored in was my pitch came up short and dropped into this bunker. The only thing going well for me today was the bunker play and once again I managed to get close to the hole from the bunker and par was recorded.

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Hole 11 – 406yds – Par 4

A wide open fairway again waits for you here, on this hole it’s not the drive to worry about but your second shot as if you have hit a boomer of a drive your left with a long second that needs to go over the edge of the trees on the right or you will be taking on the large lone tree that is in the fairway about 70yds from the green, for the rest you need to decide whether to take on the big dip in the fairway (which you do not want to go into) or play short of it and go for green on your third which is probably the best option and the one I took but duly parked my ball directly behind the large tree that was in the fairway so not a great result.

Hole 12 – 133yds – Par 3

Another great par 3, from the tee a sort of kidney shaped green awaits which is protected by four bunkers around the front of it. Opting for a 7 iron I knew as soon as I’d hit the ball it was the wrong choice as the wind had picked up and we were playing directly into it the result being I ended just short left of the green in one of the bunkers. A really good challenging hole this one.

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Hole 13 – 539yds – Par 5

A long hole this one and as long as you don’t go left from the tee where trouble awaits there is plenty of fairway to go for, the second shot if you are on the fairway can be a little troublesome if your not hitting consistently as any shot not hit well could end up in the bad rough or if it’s gone too far right can be unplayable, ideally aiming up the left edge of the fairway is good as the fairway does slope quite a lot from left to right, mine went straight up the middle but bounced and rolled into the rough on the right which meant there was no chance of reaching the green so the best I could do was progress about 80yds forward into the middle of the fairway leaving me a shot into the large long green which has two bunkers to the right of it and a large bank on the left which if you go that way could bring your ball back onto the green.

Hole 14 – 341yds – Par 4

This is the hole that the high handicappers or poor drivers will not be looking forward to, from the tee the green is above you in the distance but between you and it is a large body of water, anything going right from the tee then forget it as it will most likely be lost or unplayable. On the tee I blanked out that there was water there to go over, when you think from the mat that we played from it’s only about 125yds to the far side of the water so should be able to clear it easily. Trying not to overhit it the ball flew straight and cleared the water easily but when it landed the other side took a horrible bounce right leaving me an awkward shot over one of the two bunkers that are too the right of the green. Letting rip with a pitching wedge I cleared the bunker but was unable to see the end result until my playing partner informed me it almost went straight in the hole and ended up around 15ft past the green and as such got my one and only birdie of the round.

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Hole 15 – 135yds – Par 3

Last of the great par 3’s and as you can see the green is well below you with three bunkers protecting it from the front right of the green going round to the back and one to the left front. Both myself and my playing partner opted for 9 irons and both of us came up just short, I know we played in the winter and the balls are not travelling so far but I’ve played here in the summer and hit 55 degree wedge and still been caught out by the distance so next time I’ll decide on the club and take one more.

Hole 16 – 382yds – Par 4

From the tee the hole funnels down with the roadway down the right behind the trees and the large body of water on the left, once down there it gentle turns left upto the green some 225yds away. Hoping for a reasonable drive my prayers were answered and I ended up just off the left of the fairway on the bottom edge of the bank that holds the water back meaning I didn’t have a great stance for my second, deciding to play sensible I just knocked it some 110yds into the middle of the fairway with my pitching wedge. With around 140yds left uphill to the green the rescue club was the choice, with two large bunkers round the green one to the left and one to the right I managed to land in the lefthand one just short of pin high, as I mentioned before my bunker play today was amazing I managed once again to get the ball right on the edge of the hole from it, if only I could play out of bunkers like this consistently.

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Hole 17 – 455yds – Par 4

At this point I was starting to feel a little tired having played through a number of showers and with a strong wind that was coming straight to me from just off the left made this a daunting tee shot for me. As expected I only managed to progress some 150yds from the tee but at least it was right in the middle, another two 7 woods left me just short front left of the green so walking off with a double bogey was the best I could do.

Hole 18 – 496yds – Par 5

This time the wind was from behind and my tee shot went off to the right but still playable, second shot off to the left leaving me under a tree right by the trunk so the third went right but managed to just stay on the fairway leaving me 150yds to the front of the green and 165yds to the pin which was near the back of the green. As the wind was from behind and it was slightly downhill I went with a 7 iron and hit it well with the ball managing to just roll onto the front of the green, shame about the 3 putt but a good finishing hole and a most enjoyable round of golf even though the weather wasn’t the best.

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