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Five holes that make Hilton Templepatrick a true golfing test on its 20th anniversary

The 18th green is tucked behind water, which forms a key protection across 12 of the 18 holes.
The 18th green is tucked behind water, which forms a key protection across 12 of the 18 holes.
Gareth Hanna

By Gareth Hanna

Celebrating its 20th anniversary, the golf course at Hilton Templepatrick is once again ready for business after a recovery of the putting surfaces.

Having suffered from a negative reaction to a chemical application last year, £250k was spent regaining top condition, with the greens relaid six times in the process. A further £200k was shelled out on new machinery to help avoid any repeat problems.

So which are the key holes to negotiating the course designed by former tour professionals David Jones and David Feherty?

Here's a look at five of the toughest:

8th. Par 4: 434 yards

While the opening stretch eases you in your stride, the eighth marks the first of the true testers with the potential to spoil a promising card.

Stroke index two, it's the toughest hole on the front nine.

Placement is paramount off the tee as the green is nestled in to the left sufficiently enough to block out any tee shot that ends up on that side of the fairway.

The two bunkers that catch the eye from the tee-box provide the line that will unlock the green. Just make sure you can't actually reach the sand before letting rip.

Water, as always, can infiltrate the mind of a nervous golfer and a sizeable pond guards the green, along with three bunkers on the right.

Negotiate all of throse traps and it's a birdie opportunity. Fail to get your placement correct and your score will suffer.

11th. Par 3: 183 yards

This hole marks the beginning of the Hilton Templepatrick's very own Amen Corner.

Say hello to the Six Mile Water. The challenge is to avoid cursing it by the time you leave the 13th green.

The water is sure to enter your thinking when you take to the tee box and decide what to do. Keeping it left is a good idea, not only here but in all of the opening four holes of the back nine.

Anybody inclined to a vicious fade (even that sounds better than 'slice') will have to be careful not to end up in the drink.

Should you manage to keep it on target, be sure to find the correct part of a testing green that slopes from back to front. If you don't get your distance correct, a three-putt becomes a worry.

Hilton Templepatrick (2).jpg
The view from the 11th tee at the Hilton Templepatrick - the gateway the course's own Amen Corner.

12th. Par 4: 461 yards

So you successfully negotiated the back nine's first par three. Now can beat the stroke index one hole?

The tee shot, once again, is the key. Trees line the right side, curving up the length of the hole. A tee shot veering too close to those and you're chipping out. If you're doing that, be careful not to put too much on it and find the water that lurks short and left of the green.

Even if you manage to find the fairway off the tee, you'll still have the longest approach of all the par fours. Two good digs are required to set up a birdie putt.

In truth, par is always a good score.

13th. Par 4: 428 yards

As if those two weren't difficult enough, the 13th provides no rest. Once again, any tee shot or approach that carries the slightest hint of right and you're waving goodbye.

That pesky Six Mile Water continues to hug the hole as it trickles towards Lough Neagh's north east corner. The strip of fairway widens for just about long enough to provide a landing area off the tee.

The green doesn't make it easy either, bowing its head behind a neatly placed river meander.

Right or short = out of bounds

Left = bunkers await

Good luck.

18th. Par 5: 520 yards

While it's far from the toughest hole on the course, it marks a fitting finish.

As is the case on no fewer than 12 holes, water plays a big part.

The bigger hitters can get long enough off the tee to open up the green on the slight dogleg right.

Whatever you decide to do next, you'll have to consider the pond that forces the fairway to shift right.

Go for the green, and you'll need to fly straight over the drink. With significant landing area between the end of the water and the front of the green, it is makeable.

And even if you decide it's not worth the risk, make sure to get your accuracy correct on your lay-up. And nervous tweak left of the sliver of fairway and you'll be wet.

- Green fees at the Hilton Templepatrick begin at £30 although fourballs are available for £100 until the end of June.

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