Carya is a brand new heathland-style course designed by five-times Open champion Peter Thomson, who was inspired by the likes of Sunningdale and The Berkshire. Nearly one million heather sprigs have been planted around the course, many of them on top of the bunkers as the free-flowing layout runs between pine and eucalyptus trees and across a sand ridge. From the championship tees, the 7,186-yard (6,570 metres), par 72 course, is a demanding test while the regular tees (6,366 yards / 5,821 metres) makes it a very playable course for the average golfer. The par-3 7th over a stream and a swale will catch the eye of most but there are plenty of other holes which will delight.
Peter Thomson is proud of his creation and said: “The layout of the course is unique to the region as, despite being so close to the beach, the landscape is similar to the heathland courses that I rate among the world’s best and this was the vision that inspired the design for Carya. The use of heather characterises the terrain of the course and gives it a distinct appearance.” Sir Michael Bonallack, who also played Carya recently was impressed. “The bunkering is a strong feature and I could see the influence of Dr Alister MacKenzie.” Carya also boasts a spectacular new clubhouse and state-of-the-art driving range.
The Papillon Montgomerie also boast an iconic par 3 over water, but the dominating feature of this 7,021-yard (6,420 metres) course is the huge sand or “waste” areas which makes driving a premium. Having said that there is no real problem in hitting something like a 5-wood from those areas and it can be quite a fun test to manufacture the right shot. There are also seven lakes to contend with!