Frilford Heath is the venue for this weekâ€™s 888poker.com PGA EuroPro Tour event, the Buildbase Open.
The Oxfordshire venue has hosted the final stage of qualifying school in recent years but this will be its first full Tour event, so ahead of Wednesdayâ€™s opening round we spoke to head professional Derek Craik Jnr to get an â€˜Inside Trackâ€™ on the course.
â€œItâ€™s obviously playing long at the moment due to the rain but the general condition of the golf course has been very good over the last 18 months, the best it has been for years. But of course it is tough out there at the moment because there is not a lot of run on the ball. If you miss a fairway it is pretty penal. Normally at this time of the year it is pretty dry and you get quite a lot of run on the ball but it is totally different at the moment.â€
â€œI think anybody who breaks 70 will have played well. If you miss the fairway youâ€™ll find you canâ€™t do a lot from the rough so I think keeping the ball in play will be key, rather than actually hitting the ball miles.â€
â€œThe streams shouldnâ€™t make a difference to these golfers, not at the level they are at. We have bunkers but I donâ€™t think that many will catch the players out either. The biggest hazard is going to be the rough.â€
â€œThe 12th used to be a par five but has been changed to a par four but the sixth is a par five and that is the only par five where you stand on the tee and it is probably a gimme four. We have a new championship tee on the 13th as well so that makes it a totally different hole as it is now a tough driving hole. You have more birdie chances on the back nine than the front nine.â€
â€œSeven is a difficult driving hole. Eight is always a good hole and 12 being a par four is a tough hole. Ten is a good par five but it is a slight dog-leg right and if you pull it slightly you could end up in a lot of trouble on the left, so that is another tough driving hole.â€
â€œBe patient, keep the ball in play and take your chances when you get them. If you get in the rough you wonâ€™t be able to do a lot so donâ€™t go out there and try and take too many risks; if you keep the ball in play you can make a good score.â€