The original Palms course at Sanctuary Cove was designed by Fred Bolton and opened for play in the 1980's.
My memories are of a relatively flat undemanding resort course through the cabbage palms.
I had no urge to return!
However I did note some time ago that Ross Watson was engaged to completely redesign the course.
The 'new' course opened for play in 2011.
Watson upgraded the green complexes, adding movement to the putting surfaces and complementing them with clusters of rugged looking bunkers.
The bunkering is a feature throughout the course- it is both strategic, challenging, and and attractive to the eye.
Most fairways are wide, but framed by thick tropical vegetation- so bad misses are penalised.
At 5890 metres off the back, the course does not often challenge for length (but it is a par 70 course, with three par 5's and five par 3's).
The par 3's in particular are outstanding.
Notable holes include:
- hole 4, a par 5 that arches around water to a nicely bunkered green
- hole 6, a dramatic par 3 to a green projecting into water, which will catch anything right or long
- hole 8, a lovely shorter par 4 with a well bunkered green protected by water right and long.
- hole 13, a pretty par 3 with water and bunkers to be carried.
- hole 16, a difficult par 3 tucked between a cluster of bunkers and water right
- hole 18, an impressive finishing par 5 demanding an accurate tee shot through the trees, and culminating in a dangerous approach to an amply bunkered green fronted by water.
The Palms is a relatively short course, and not too demanding off the tee.
It is the strategically placed bunkering and water that will challenge golfers most.
It is an attractive looking course, and one that will make you think your way through the round.
and 'it's great fun to play'.
That's a nice combination!
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