A 443 yard, straight away Par 4, SI 4, the 1st is situated well away from the club house, your tee shot will not be over looked, except by the imposing conifers to the right of the 10th tee. A straight tee shot is required here to keep you in play, as the Practice ground, situated to the right hand side of the fairway, is consider out of bounds and a single bunker before the tree line awaits even the slightly off target. Your approach shot to the green will undoubtedly be with a long iron or even a wood, so judge your distance carefully to avoid the green side bunker and trouble to the right and to the rear. A bogey is always an acceptable start here. Play the 10th and you have a slightly shorter 415 yard, SI 5 to contend with. The same strategy applies but a rather narrowed view of the fairway can often bring the left hand rough into play.
A long 195 yard Par 3 over two ponds, one at the tee and another protecting the green, make this hole a tricky SI 8. Some lay up short of the greenside pond, whilst those with a more accurate game aim to its left but accuracy is certainly the name of the game here to be with a chance of making par and your short game will inevitably be tested. Shouts of ‘fore left’ have often been heard by those on the 3rd tee, as another player fails to make the fade into the sloping 2nd green. Par here is well deserved. The elevated 11th tee is situated nearly half the distance from the tee at 121 yards and plays a rather less intimidating SI 13. However, it can be unlucky for some, as the greenside pond more frequently comes into play. This is not the tee to break out your new sleeve of balls, but select the right club and you could be making birdie in style
The easiest of the 18 holes at Mattishall Golf Club, the 275 yard Par 4 is a driveable hole, but you’ll have to negotiate the dog leg right and hence the tall trees dividing the 3rd and 5th fairways. If you are going to go for it then a straight shot over the trees, or gentle fade will do the trick, providing you have the length, but catch it straight off the tee or worse a hook and you’ll find trouble ahead. The sensible play is a 175 yard long iron to the corner and an accurate approach shot, which will take both the right hand fairway and greenside bunkers out of play. The 12th plays fractionally shorter at just 257 yards, SI 17. A genuine risk and reward hole, but play it well and a birdie is definitely on the cards.
A straight away Par 4, SI 6, the 4th will feel much more than its 365 yards, particularly if the wind is up. It often blows directly down the 4th hole and players will find taking an extra one is the only way to reach the relatively small green. Stray left or right off the tee and you will find yourself back on the 1st, or on Mattishall Golf Club’s famous Par 5, 5th fairway. A mid to long iron is often required to reach the green, which is coupled with a small greenside bunker to catch those less vigilant and a bank to the rear of the green which can often save those who over club. Complete the 4th and you should be about warmed up to take on the Par 5, 5th. Complete the slightly longer 381 yard, SI 9, 13th and you will need to be prepared for one of the longest Par 5’s in the UK.
On the front nine Mattishall’s Par 5 plays a mere 594 yards, some 44 yards less than its back nine equivalent, but at SI 2, it remains a force to be reckoned with. As with many of Mattishall’s 18 holes, accuracy off the tee is a must to find the narrow fairway, which only widens for the biggest of hitters. You must bring your longest drive to the tee if you are to make the green in three. ‘Lay up or take them on’ is the decision you will be facing with your second shot, as Mattishall’s three signature trees divide the fairway, protecting the last 150 yards of this Par 5 monster. Lay up and you’ll need to avoid anything to the left to avoid the pond and keep a view of the green. Stray long and right and you’ll be facing a wall of tall trees, so club selection and positioning are vital. When it comes to the 638 yard 14th, many call it a Par 6, but get to the green in three (or four), avoiding the greenside bunker to the right, and make par and you’ll feel like you’ve made history.
One of Mattishall’s more picturesque holes, the 150 yard SI 16, Par 3, 6th may not be as easy as its stroke index suggests. Surrounded by trees, there is little room for error with your short or mid iron from the elevated tee and two greenside bunkers make a GIR something of a rarity. The 15th SI 15 plays just 16 yards shorter, but its secluded tee adds to the protected nature of this hole, where the effects of the wind are only seen as your tee shot sores above the tree tops. A solid short game here will reward you with par, but be more than ready to be reaching for your sand wedge.
Success on the 348 yard, Par 4 SI 12, 7th all depends on your chosen strategy or shot shape. Those that favour the fade will find the hole plays longer and the risk of finding trouble, or even out of bounds, on the right becomes that much more apparent. Favour the draw and you could be just a short pitch from the green, but over do it, find your tee shot in the woodland dividing the 7th and 8th fairways and you will be best served playing three from the tee. The Par 4, 16th will play a little shorter on the back nine, at just 335 yards, SI 11 but is made none the less difficult. Your approach shot will need to negotiate the greenside bunker, which inevitably protects the pin position wherever it is placed, so go long, go left but be on the look out for trees at every turn of this challenging dog leg left.
The 8th and 17th tees lie adjacent to the 18th green and put you in sight of the clubhouse, which by now is calling to you with its cold beer and light refreshments. The 369 yard, SI 14, Par 4, 8th plays virtually straight with its only challenge off the tee being the woodland to its left and small fairway bunker to the right-hand side of the fairway. Keep it in play and your approach should be straightforward, providing both greenside bunkers are avoided. From the 17th tee, the 392 yard, SI 7, Par 4 seems all the longer but keep it in play and you’ll be one hole away from the clubhouse.
From the 9th tee the club house is clear in the distance at the end of this 392 yard, SI 7 Par 4, but stand back on the elevated 18th tee and the view of the course either side of the now 398 yard, SI 3 Par 4 can be as relieving as it is daunting. You will have to pull another straight tee shot out of the bag to find the narrow fairway, before reaching for your mid to long iron, as the wind often is against, to go for the green. You’ll find the 18th green opposite the clubhouse, overlooked by your fellow golfers. Contend with the greenside bunker and you’ll be making a pressure putt to complete your round.