St Francis Links and Arabella are both Top 10 courses, coastal venues in windy locations, and have hosted Sunshine Tour events. Most club golfers would regard them as equally testing venues. Yet, as a single-figure index, I discovered on a recent trip that St Francis Links is considered by GolfRSA to be four shots more difficult in terms of Course Rating and Slope. Playing off the white club tees at each, I received four extra shots on my handicap at the Links compared to Arabella. The reason for that is that the Slope at the Links is 141, and only 120 at Arabella. That’s a substantial difference for two championship layouts. Yes, Arabella’s par 5s are considerably easier than the exacting quartet at the Links. The bunkers at the Links are more penal too. Stray shots at the Links are more likely to result in a lost ball than those which go off-line at Arabella, so perhaps those four shots are justified. All the same though I’ve never found it easy to play to my handicap at Arabella, while I comfortably do so at St Francis Links.