Parkstone is in Poole, Dorset. You can see the millionaire’s playground of Sandbanks at certain points and the seaside town of Bournemouth is just a couple of miles away. Parkstone is nothing if not entertaining. Most of the holes are heathland in character but there are some parkland outbreaks and even a sniff of linksland on the par-5 3rd. It’s an undulating course with some great vantage points – for example if you look right when walking down the 10th fairway. Very few holes are flat.
There are five par 5s and the same number of par 3s. In addition, there are a couple of sporty short 4s. In summary, you are constantly entertained and constantly asked to confront new challenges.
There are many to choose from when deciding the stand out hole, including a couple of striking par 3s, but I’m going to go for the last par 5, the 17th. It’s a left-to-right dogleg, with a blind tee shot, with the last 200 yards or so significantly uphill.
That might not sound promising to you, but bear with me. The drive is actually pretty juicy because you can make the hole much shorter with a hard fade. That will bring the green into range for a heroic second shot but the more cautious method, leaving an uphill pitch, is just as likely to result in a putt for a birdie four. Make sure you have a look down across the course and towards the English Channel from the back of the green.
Parkstone, for me, is a course that’s above all fun to play. I think the short par-4 4th is a great example. It’s only 260 yards or so, but uphill, and to a well-protected green. The bunkers short of the green are especially well-placed – take on the tee shot and find one of these and you’ll be left with a very tough second shot. It’s the kind of hole that gives us all a chance to make a birdie but it’s not without danger.