From Ryan’s Road the 6th fairway invites you to hit southwards between the tree lines to the left and right, over a bunker to an area before the second trap some 40 metres from the green. The difficulty for golfers on approach, is to leave direct access to the front of the Junction green.
Too far to the left means a well judged pitching wedge to land from height so the ball sits and stays like a well trained pooch; or a perfectly weighted shot to hit the mound beside the green side bunker to enable the ball to kick slightly to roll the slope and stay on the green.
This is part of the course where golfers arrive and depart in all directions. It’s a hive of activity, a meeting place and it’s the reason it’s called the junction.
Our Professional Ben Eaton-Jones likens the design of the green to that of the St. Andrews Road Hole; rather narrow but longish, made difficult because of that third trap inserted into the front left side of the green to create the mound. Hitting out of sand to try and prevent the ball from disappearing into the abyss behind the green is difficult as the writer has found.
Making my way to the junction green last Wednesday evening, I noticed a ball lying well past the plateau area of the 5th fairway. A mammoth hit by any accounts, so I looked to the 5th tee block in the distance and wasn’t surprised to find Ryan Akkers boarding his cart.
By the time I had picked my ball from the cup at the sixth, Ryan was addressing his ball in order to make his way up the same fairway, so with no one else around, I took the opportunity to spectate.
Ryan was introduced to the game as a teenager at the Dorset Golf Course and he’s been developing his game with passion for 16 years. He now plays off scratch and I have been fortunate to accompany him on the course many times over the past months. I find Ryan to be a very impressive young man and one of the best strikers of the ball I’ve seen in any sport.
From a distance I see him unleash his recognisable and well balanced power swing. The ball was well on its way, flying high… before the sound of the strike reached me. Isn’t it a magical sight to watch the ball reach its zenith as it comes towards you to land and come to rest.
Ryan put his ball down just beyond the line of the second bunker. It was a perfectly placed drive, creating open access to the pin. It only needed his soft hands to place it by the cup and this is what he did. I waited for him to drop the birdie putt and then asked, “Did you have the same result on the 5th”?
“Yes, I’m 4 under, not bad eh! Let’s play the next,” he said with a smile.
I have to finish here by writing that by the time we’d finished the ninth, Ryan was 7 under. It could have been better but he missed an eagle putt on the 8th. For me I had just seen an exceptional golfer displaying his talent. It was like a private viewing of a golfer who owes it to himself, to take the next step to start playing qualifying events.
Next week we play the 7th, ranked the hardest ranked hole on the course.
In the latest news at the club, it has been confirmed that RACV Season Pass Holders will be participating in an Inter Associate home and away tournament to decide the “RACV President’s Cup” and Healesville will host the first event. This is terrific news and a great deal of credit must go to all members who have supported this proposal – and it is a real possibility that Pennant Golf might be reinstated.
Congratulations to last weeks winners who were:
Tuesday; Stableford Comp
Geoff Hopkins 40
Steven Cubela 36
John Hayes 34
Thursday; Stableford Comp
Tony Purdue 40
Mark Donavan 36
Bruce Jacobs 35
Saturday; Par Comp.
David Chipperfield +3
Malcolm Moore +1
Roger Jones +1
Special mention to Howard Vaughan who hit the green on the 16th only for his ball to spin backwards into the burn. Not to be beaten, Howard dropped his ball to play his 3rd and holed it.
The most outstanding banter remark of the week goes to a golfer, who had come across one of his mates addressing his ball some 10 feet to the right of the 14th tee near the toilet block and commented, “Got your own private tee block there mate!”