Familiarity has never bred contempt for Steve Carroll, who has been a member at this York course for more than a decade
Reason for a Sandburn Hall Golf Club review
I’ve been a member at Sandburn Hall for the best part of 15 years and served as the 2017 captain. Why wouldn’t I want to shout about it?
Where is Sandburn Hall Golf Club?
Half way between York and Malton, Sandburn Hall is just off the A64 and about 10 miles away from the historic city.
What to expect
Sandburn Hall’s appeal is based on two things. It drains amazingly well – the clue is in the name – so Noah has to be preparing his Ark before it’s shut.
It’s also a very playable course, no matter what your ability, and there’s always something to challenge you. At nearly 6,700 yards off the whites, it’s a lengthy layout but the firm fairways mean you get a lot of run.
Fairly wide off the tee, bombers often think they are going to easily tame the design, but there are plenty of bunkers and hazards – water comes into play on eight of the holes – to put doubt in the mind.
Lots of trouble await those who go right and the combination of a par 5 1st and a par 3 18th, where players must negotiate a pond and go over the top of a large tree to find the green, means a score is never secure until the final putt has been sunk.
Many of the greens are raised, which makes stopping the ball a premium, and the exposed nature of the property means wind is often a decent defence.
While there’s a dress code on the course, no such rules apply in the clubhouse, onsite restaurant or holiday lodges that make up the complex.
The practice facilities, which include two par 3 academy holes and a large putting green, see the club regularly host England Golf and Yorkshire squads.
There’s plenty to choose from. I love the 4th, which is a slight dogleg to the right round a tree with a raised green protected by some tricky bunkers.
But the reason I joined so many years ago is the par 5 12th and it’s a hole that continues to enthral.
It looks a straightforward drive but miss the fairway and you’re in jail with deep rough on the left and a stream and thick fescue on the right.
Whether you lay it up or are going for the green in two, there’s a sizeable pond that bars the way to the putting surface and has been the cause of many ripped up scorecards.
The first time I played it, I had 165 yards over the water to the green and was just captivated.
It’s a great challenge and there’s no better feeling when you rip it and watch it fly to the target. It’s the reason we play golf, right?
My best bit
As you can imagine, there have been plenty of highs and lows over the years. I’ve not managed a hole-in-one here yet, but I did record my first ever eagle on the 5th when I slam dunked an 8-iron from 120 yards.
What to look for
There’s something new every time you come back. Sandburn are into the second of a six-year master plan produced by esteemed architect Martin Ebert, who has advised on many of the Open Championship courses.
The first year saw new bunkers go in on the 1st and 9th holes while, over the last winter, the 2nd, 5th and particularly the 13th were noticeably improved.
With the 15th set to be transformed into a showpiece par 5 – that will take the course to a par of 73 – and a driveable par 4 to open the back nine in the offing, there’s a lot to take in for repeat visitors.
When I go back
What this weekend? I’ll try to beat my best score of 78 off the white tees and hit a few more fairways.
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