A week off last week gave me time to work on my game ready for Astbury Hall, a venue that was being talked about by the local players as a genuine contender for one of the best venues on this year’s schedule.
With the likes of Burhill, Collingtree Park and Prince’s to be played later in the year, Astbury Hall would definitely need to be top class to compete and it certainly didn’t disappoint.
Small and undulating greens, combined with perfect surfaces and a challenging layout, ticked all the boxes for a top venue.
With only living 2 hours away I was able to make my way to the course early on Monday morning, knowing that the course would be relatively quiet with everyone still on their way to the course.
I made some good notes on the course and despite there being no rough to speak of, a sound strategy was still required as some pins would be tough to get at from the wrong side of the fairway.
Tuesday again was pro am day and for me this meant time to work on my game and familiarise myself with the speed and slopes of the putting green.
I also decided to walk the course again, as the wind had switched slightly from Monday, my plan being that it would be good to observe how the course was playing in the pro am. With no play allowed outside of the pro am it was a good way to check my lines and check which parts of the greens to hit.
My first round tee time was 2.05pm and when I woke on Wednesday morning the rain was coming down hard, with a fresh breeze adding to the misery for the early starters. Sometimes the draw you are dealt can turn a tournament on its head, on this occasion it fell in my favour and the rain cleared. There was still a fresh breeze which made things interesting.
I got off to the best possible start with an approach to 6 feet, which I duly converted, another approach to 6 feet at my second hole slipped by. I went onto bogey the next three holes, the latter two being down to three putts. I hit plenty of good shots throughout the round and managed my way round the course well without making any more birdies. Another dropped a shot on my 16th after misjudging the wind with my tee shot meant I ended up shooting 73. I came away disappointed that I hadn’t made greater use of the good shots I had hit.
Day two, was a complete contrast to day one with the sun shinning and very little wind. You would have even been led to believe that it was a summers day.
Round 2 started with a plugged ball in the face of the fairway bunker, a free drop was followed by a dropped shot for an opening bogey. This was corrected with a birdie from around 12 feet on number 4.
A three putt on 5, moved me back to plus one and when I bogeyed 7 and doubled the 8th, I was now four over for the day. I then started to hit it well again and gave myself chances for birdies. Unfortunately none would fall and the round peated out with a further two bogies.
This led to a missed cut and some work to do on areas of my game. There is no tournament this week, then it is a trip south to Burhill and the fastest greens we get to play on the Europro.
It certainly helps when tournaments are being hosted at quality venues and gives us the opportunity to test our games on greens that run so true and I look forward to reporting how Burhill goes for me.