Sunday, October 10, 2004

Lake of the Sandhills Golf Course

Today, after much anticipation, we played the spectacular Lake of the Sandhills Golf Course, located in the Buffalo Point International Resort Facility, 2 hrs from Winnipeg in the south east corner of the Province, across from Warroad, Minnesota and on the Lake of the Woods lake. Only three years old, this has been touted as one of the top four must-play courses in Manitoba, along with Clear Lake, Hecla Island and Falcon Lake.

For the first time ever, we played the blue tees, which are not as long as the black, but are longer than the white and red tees. I teed up to the proper height but ended up hitting the ball straight up in the air, less than 150 yards away on the par 4, 338 yard first hole. I ended up with a 7. I parred the next two holes, and quickly gained my confidence. I had several superb, long drives, along with the usual duffs. I began the second hole with a long drive, just slightly to the left side, which left me an eight-iron to the green, about 130 yards. The lake is directly in back of the green and with the bright sunlight reflecting off of the water, it was almost impossible to see the ball land. I ended up on the green and ended up with a par. The third hole is 168 yards long. I reached for my 7-iron, but realized that it was missing. I drove the cart back to the 2nd hole and asked the twosome behind us if they had seen it. They hadn't so I walked through the bush on the left side, where I was looking for a partner's ball earlier. No luck. I opted to return after the round was over to look for it again.

I teed off with a six-iron on the third hole and ended up pin-hi, but on the left side of the green. My chip shot was close enough to alow me to one-put for another par. This is another hole with an awesome view of the lake, just to the right of the fairway. Regardless of how we ended up playing, I vowed, along with another partner, to return to this gorgeous golf course. I should bring a camera next time.

After nine holes, I ended up with 51 (two pars) while my partners shot 50 (one par), 55 (one par) and 45 (two pars.)

The par 4 tenth hole is only 422 yards from the blue tees but I ended up with an 8. I then parred the par 5 number 11, triple bogey 7 on the 12th, bogey 4 on the 13th, par on the par 4 14th and par on the par 5 15th. On the 13th and 14th holes, I had brilliant, long drives, and I hit the greens in regulation. In fact, on the 15th hole, I miss-hit my 2nd shot with the 5-iron and ended up on the green in three. Had I made a clean shot, I'm sure I could have made the green in two, putting for an eagle. The hole is 554 yards long.

The final hole also borders along the lake. Unfortunately, I duffed my drive and it hit the rocky bank and scooted deep into the lake. My second tee shot hooked to the right and I ended up with an 8. This hole is a bit tricky for first timers. Hidden from the tee box is what can only be described as a huge section of the beach that juts two-thirds of the way into the fairway. If you hit long enough tee shot, you can essentially end up in what is a massive, massive sand trap. It's more like a pit than a trap, and one of our partners ended up in it.

This is a beautiful, challenging course. Given the relative difficulty, I wasn't disappointed to score 103. My parters ended up shooting 98, 98 and 111. From the blue tees, the slope rating is 121. By comparison, here are the white tee slope ratings of some of the other courses we played this year: Assiniboine 105, John Blumberg 111, Carman 114, Kingswood 120, La Verendrye 116, Minnewasta in Morden 124, Pinawa 118, Portage 117, Rat River 116, River Oaks 108, Steinbach Fly-In Club 119, Teulon 112, Tuxedo 100, Windsor 93, Winkler 100.

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