x Abu Dhabi, UAEMonday 24 July 2017

Eight is a demanding test

The National tees up at hole eight of the dream round, this time a daunting par 5 at the Els Club.

The challenging eighth hole at the Els Club Course, which is tough due to the awkwardly placed bunkers.
The challenging eighth hole at the Els Club Course, which is tough due to the awkwardly placed bunkers.

HOLE 8: ELS CLUB (Par 5, 562 yards) Bringing the cart to a halt on the eighth tee, my playing partner Robbie Greenfield, pronounces: "This is a great hole. It is nicely framed with the sand dunes on the right and bunkers on the left, making it a really tough approach." Greenfield is the editor of a magazine called Middle East Golfer and wrote descriptive summaries on all 18 of the Els Club holes - words of guidance that are reproduced on the GPS systems attached to all the buggies.

His appraisal of this scary test of big-hitting accuracy is: "You'll take a par every time on this demanding hole that offers few bail-out areas. "With the sculpted desert slithering up the right, it is impossible to chase your ball on to the green. Instead you must carry the full yardage and pray that you don't find an awkward spot long, playing back down the quick slope. "The prudent play is to lay up 80-100 yards short of the green and pitch on in regulation."

That advice of caution went totally out of the window when we played it in our Texas scramble. Greenfield lashed his tee shot nearly 300 yards on to the narrow fairway from where Mike Wallis took up the cudgels and drilled an approach the remaining 250 yards - we were mercifully playing from the forward tee - into the heart of the green. I watched in awe as a makeweight in our fourball as Greenfield holed the putt for eagle.

A rare creature indeed, I suspect on that tremendous strip of sporting excellence and a pivotal moment on the way to my team posting a winning Texas Scramble score on the official opening of the new club in Dubai Sports City. @Email:wjohnson@thenational.ae