Par 4 - 326 Yards - S.I. 16 Men | 18 Ladies
As the Stroke Index suggests, the 17th hole is one of the easier holes on the course and provides a realistic birdie opportunity. However, with the knowledge that Par should be threatened on this hole comes added pressure. You know you should find the hole easy, yet it is very apparent from the tee that poor tee shots will be lucky to leave a clear second shot to the green.
You are greeted by a raised tee that helps gain a better view of a slightly elevated, but fairly flat, fairway. A line of mature trees border the entire right side of the fairway, continuing along side and behind the green. This is a definite 'no go area', though it wouldn't be uncommon to get a lucky kick back onto the fairway or, occasionally, onto the relative safety of the adjacent 16th fairway. A favourable result after a pushed or sliced shot (or hook if you're a left hander) to the right is the exception rather than the rule. The left side offers very little in the way of danger, however.
Two mature oak trees do sit menacingly on either side of the fairway after 250 yards and can often obstruct your second shot if you are just slightly off line or are not long enough with your tee shot. They are clearly visble from the tee, offering an inviting gap between them to aim for. If you can successfully navigate the gap, you are almost home and dry.
Home and dry isn't always a term that comes to mind, however, because it was on the 17th green where Ian Botham was famously photographed up to his ankles in water after a torrential downpour during one of the Max Boyce Classics. Max often tells a funny story about it. He knows, 'cos he was there'! (The photo can be viewed on the wall of the foyer on the way into the clubhouse) Perhaps that photo might just make an appearance on this website in the future. Watch this space!
The fairway runs gently downwards as you approach the green, meaning most shots that land short will be assisted with a favourable kick towards the green. Slopes at the front and left of the green can make for a tricky pin position, but any pin positions towards the middle, right or back will demand a relatively straight putt.
Just try not to think about Ian Botham while you are standing over that birdie putt!