It may only be a short par 3, but hole 11 of The National's dream round is definitely one to savour.
Short but sweet
Hole 11: Four Seasons, Al Badia (par 3, 164 yards) This is comfortably the shortest of the four attractive par threes on this splendid oasis-themed course and the women's tee box is a mere 95 yards from the pin, but that in no way detracts from its splendour. There is a picnic area just off the main road to the left which is popular with non-golfers and it is easy to see why, as it overlooks the green which is adjoined by the prettiest of water hazards - a two-tiered lake which is connected by mini waterfalls and crossed by an ornamental bridge featuring 11 port holes.
It is one of those holes you cannot fail to enjoy even if you do spray the odd ball into the lake. Richard Sheridan, recently arrived as a teaching professional at the club he represents in pro competitions around the region, showed me how it was done by hitting the most effortless of nine irons to eight feet and completing a simple birdie with a new state-of-the-art putter which, he suggested, was so forgiving it was almost like cheating.
Robert Trent Jones II, the internationally acclaimed golf architect who has laid out this 7,303 yard gem of a course in classic 36 + 36 = par 72 fashion, recommends the par fives as his signature holes, and my professional guide Sheridan agrees, singling out the monstrous fifth as the "hardest he has ever played". That said, I think the designer's four short but sweet offerings - if the 224-yard third for which most of would require the driver - will be a match for any club and offer welcome relief to the high handicapper from several of the unreachable holes elsewhere.
When you have holed out on the 11th, have a look back over the lake for one of the best views of the iconic spacecraft-shaped clubhouse which seems to in your sights all over the course. @Email:firstname.lastname@example.org