It has been 10 years in the making so its no surprise the opening of this new course has been greeted with open arms by golfers in Sydney’s southern suburbs.
The Ridge starts to show its teeth at the 361-metre par-4 4th. This is a great hole where you are faced with a blind drive to a fairway that lies much lower than the tee. There is a bunker on the right edge of the fairway in the driving zone, while native bushland flanks the left edge of the hole and wraps around the back of the green. Bunkers either side of the putting surface are best avoided and, given the dramatic slope of the green, try to find the low side of the flag with your approach.
For mine, the best holes at The Ridge are on the back nine, with the 10th, 12th, 13th, 14th and 16th holes all worthy of note.
The hole that will long be remembered by most visitors is the 528-metre par-5 10th. This is not only a fantastic looking hole, it is also an exciting hole to play with plenty of playing options available to secure your par … or better. From the elevated tee, everything is laid out before you and off in the distance lies the massive green just beyond an equally sizeable lake. The driving zone for most players is wide enough, although a bunker to the left makes par a tough ask if your drive ends up here. Only the longest hitters will toy with the idea of reaching the green in two, which requires a second shot to make a long carry over the lake, left of the fairway and short of the green. The lake also comes into play for those trying to find a good lay-up position. The best strategy is to steer clear of the water and leave a slightly longer third shot straight up the green, which measures 45 metres from front to back, making it one of the largest single putting surfaces in Sydney.
Perhaps the most talked about hole in years to come will be the 373-metre par-4 14th, which marks the start of a very strong finish to The Ridge layout. Again, an elevated tee offers a good view of the fairway in front, and the lake that bounds the right side. The fairway turns sharply right around the edge of the water and climbs steeply to the green, which sits more than 20 metres above the lowest point of the fairway and presents one of the most demanding shots during the round here. A good tip is to take note of the pin position when playing the 13th hole because you cannot see the bottom of the flag when hitting your second shot here.
The Ridge was a joy and will only get better, and more popular, as it matures.