Golf has always been my favourite sport and I had the pleasure of playing a round in Andong, South Korea. This was an expensive adventure, but one I'll never forget. It cost me 150,000 won. The first tee shot was purely struck and I had a great time at Top Bliss Country Club. The course is carved into one of the many lush green hills of the Korean peninsula. I took many photos and made my fair share of putts on emaculate greens. The putting surfaces were some of the best I have ever experienced.
This is the lovely opening hole of a top quailty golfing experience. A straight downhill par-4 measuring around 400 yards from the men's tees. My tee shot found the bunker to the right. The second shot came up short and got plugged in the greenside bunker. The third shot was hacked out successfully, but ended 25 feet beyond the cup. The par putt was a beauty and fell in at the perfect speed.
The following hole is a beautiful downhill par-3 and a mid-iron will get the job done. My shot hit the cart path and ended up way past the pin, but still on the green. There was about 40 feet of green between me and a birdie. I over-estimated the speed and left the putt about 12 feet short. I think everyone hates leaving a putt short. Luckily my par putt crept in and I was on a bit of a streak.
The 3rd hole is a monster par-5 and it takes 3 good shots to strategically get to the green.
I walked away with a dissappointing three put bogey. The following hole is on the other side of the hill in a scenic valley. The next few holes are shorter, but takes a lot of patience and strategy to negotiate. My short game was in disarray and I only managed 3 pars on the last three holes of the nine. The outward score was a +5 41. I was happy with this score as my game was rusty at the time.
This picture below is the short par-4 4th hole. Another 3 putt bogey.
The picture above is the short, but steep uphill par-4 7th. Birdie putt finished on the high side of the cup. Made a satisfying par.
So I have already shared the front nine, but I forgot to mention that the game started on the 10th tee. My game was not as sharp as it used to be and I played this nine in 41 strokes (+5) as well, to give me a total score of 82 (+10). The 10th is a short par-5, but the tee shot is quite intimidating, as your ball flies over a ravine. The second shot is blind and narrow, so it's best to just pick a comfortable club to keep yourself in play. The third is a mere pitch, but the green is very undulating. So it was good to start off with a par.
The 11th is a straight forward shortish par-4, but to keep a driver in play is not so easy. A bogey was not a good score, and a hole like this can frustrate the better players. The 12th was a downhill par-3 and to hit the green shouldn't be a problem, but to 2 putt is the challenge. The par-4 13th was a scenic gem. The tee shot is a good one and the smart player will use the slopes to get it down the hill to keep it in play, as a series of dams gaurd the entire right-hand side of the hole. The approach is a nerve wrecker, as the green is gaurded by water on both sides and at the back. In hind sight the best play is to play short of the green and rely on a good chip to set up a par. Needless to say I made a bogey there. The picture above this text is the 14th, a short par-3. A wedge and a two putt boosts the confidence after the previous hole.
Below you will see the 15th. It's an uphill par-4 and you won't see the result of your tee shot, as the ball flies over the crest of the hill. I was very happy to par this one. The 16th was the highlight of this nine hole adventure, as I found the heart of the green in two shots, keeping in mind it is a lenghty par-5, but unfortunately another three putt spoiled my glory.
The finishing two holes are real challenges. I hate holes the dogleg from left to right, as I usually prefer to shape my tee shots from right to left. So just keeping the ball in play was an achievement, as there is jungle right and water left. The green is the picture above. This course has some stunning bunkers. The second shot was played short of the green and I managed to make a nice par putt after a wayward pitch shot. The last hole is the longest par-4 on the course and I messed it up to finish with a double bogey :( . I was one of the few non-Koreans to have played this course, and this was a well-kept secret, until I decided to share it with you, the reader.
Thanks for reading and keep it on the fairway...