With vastly improved conditioning the past year The Lakes has risen in stature as an enjoyable and attractive course to play. The Royal Blue cynodon fairways are superb and I like the way they have consistently been mown to a lower height not just around the large greens, but up to 20 metres out from the front edge, to provide more options for recovery shots, a putter being one of them. The low-lying holes around the main water features (six to nine) took a soaking during the April floods, plus a deluge of silt cascading out of the adjoining forest and bush. This was hastily removed before it could do lasting damage, yet the par-5 eighth was still being played as a par 3 after nearly two months. The ninth alongside the Pani Dam, one of the toughest par 4s with water left and forest right, has a new back tee where you now have to carry the water to reach the fairway. It’s not a particularly long carry yet makes for a more interesting and challenging angle.