A free-wheeling opening par 5. There’s OB left and bush right, but it’s a generous fairway so off the tee let it rip down the middle. Some will be able to reach the elevated green in two, especially from the mid tees. The key to this hole is controlling distance on approach into the green, which will usually be a soft “feel” wedge of 20-50 yards off an uphill lie to the elevated green, a pure finesse shot. Anything above the hole is a likely three putt or worse but it is a challenge to stay below the hole, especially for right handers, as the combination of the uphill lie, the elevated green and the desire to ensure the shot doesn’t drop short in a bunker can lead to shots being pulled a bit long and left. What starts out as such an open invitation to let er rip, ends with one real nail-biter trying to get the ball in the hole.
You’ll feel the adrenalin standing on this tee (if it’s not already surging from your adventures on the first green). A drop dead gorgeous golf hole. Elevation makes the hole play much shorter than its yardage and brings the pond protecting the green and the bush left of the pond into play off the tee. Use your “190-200 yard” club from the mid tee and your “230-240 yard” club from the back tee. Aim for the middle of the fairway, in line with the left edge of the pond. Taking extra club to carry the pond may be trouble, as the green is shallow and hitting into the hillside trees over the green is a fate worse than being short in the water. This is the most level and protected green on course—so read it to roll fairly straight and slower than the exposed and highly sloped first green.
A really solid mid-length par 3, played over “Ross’s Ravine”, set against a beautiful valley and lake vista. Ideal shot will be a little right to left. Club selection is key and when the wind blows and swirls it can get tricky. On a calm day, try a club less than the yardage would suggest. Back left is a sucker pin—anything hit to the back quarter of the green or its surrounds will likely end up over the green dead in the bush. Left or right of the green is also bush. So if you’re lacking confidence, err on the short side. It’s a difficult up and down from the ravine but you can be pretty sure of escaping with no worse than a bogey. When reading the green, get the big picture: note that it is like a saddle, falling off at the front and the back and rising a bit on the sides (obviously more on the left than right). You can’t go wrong with a shot to the middle of the green.
The fourth hole is an extremely strategic short par 4. Playing directly at the green or even slightly left of it is dangerous because of the bush tight to the left side of the fairway. But there is a lot of reward playing to the high left side. Some can drive the green, especially with the “turbo boost” slope short of the green that can kick a ball forward onto the green. But even those not quite so long will have a much better angle of approach into the green if they play along the left side off the tee. From the left side, the green side bunker is taken out of play and the shot into the green may be flown in high or bounced on low. The safe shot off the tee is middle or a bit right and with a club that will not send the ball through the fairway into the bush long and right if missed to the right. A ball placed directly down the middle will require a tricky approach off a side hill lie. Further right brings the bunker at the green much more into play and shortens the green but it generally provides a flat lie to play from.
A short hole but no gimme par. Take a moment to enjoy the sky and clouds behind the green but don’t let the protected tee area cause you to forget about the wind conditions at the green. Shots to the front quarter of the green may end up backing up off the front. Missing the green left is also trouble—the rough is high and with the green sloping away, it’s another virtually impossible up and down, even from the left bunker. Play to the middle of the green and if between clubs go with the longer one.
Sharp dogleg left protected by hill at fairway elbow. If playing as a three-shot par 5 and not cutting corner, keep tee shot under 260 yards (all downhill) to avoid going through the fairway into the trees. Aggressive players should aim at the roof on the left and hit it over the corner of the hill. Cutting the corner is more a matter of confidence than length. Anything that carries 240 or more yards (not as long as it may sound because it is all downhill) will leave an uphill shot of 200 yards or less into the green. Just don’t go too far left off the tee as it’ll mean bush and it’ll be time to re-load. If laying up, be wary of taking too much club since shots missed to the right may go through fairway into trees. Green has no sand traps but is guarded by mature trees and a grassy hollow short right. If going for the green on second shot, the bail out is to the left because of all the trees right of the green, although once on the green, you must be on the right side to be below hole. The perfect shot is a bit right to left to avoid the large tree guarding the front left and to hold the green which slopes left to right and back to front. The green is three tiered and very difficult to read. Remember ball will run and break away from “pimple hill” much more than you “see”.
Played as a par 4 from the back tee, it’s deceptive and treacherous—like all great short par 4’s. The green looks and is easily driveable but you must make a choice—either go for it or lay up, one or the other. If you do decide to go for it off the tee, the perfect shot will be shaped left to right to hold the green. Go for it knowing and accepting that solid shots hit a bit off line (especially a bit long over right edge of green) may result in really bad (often unplayable) results. Don’t be deceived into thinking you can play slightly to the right and short of the green. One out of ten times you’ll get a lucky kick forward, maybe even on to the green. The other nine times you’ll find your ball in long rough or bush or the big fairway bunker left of the fairway, since shots hit a tad short of the green usually kick left off the turtle back fairway. Laying up requires commitment. You must know your yardage and must hit over trees to a blind landing area. Aim at the guide post or slightly right of the guide post and imagine you are hitting to a target 25 yards in diameter, 170 yards away. You’ll find your ball in the middle of the fairway, with a very interesting wedge shot into the green which must be played over a small bunker to a long green that slopes away from the fairway and to the left. Unless hit very high or with a lot of spin, expect shot to release a bit more than typical wedge. The green is slightly crowned and the lower two-thirds nearest the lake can be slippery.
Nothing treacherous or deceptive about this hole. What you see is what you get—a lonnnnnng par 4. Let it fly left centre. Front of green is open for approach shots to be run on. Shots flown all the way onto green must be high and shaped left to right as front right quarter of the green is highest point of green. Looks like there is a lot of room to bail out right of green but getting up and down to most pin placements from right side is much harder than from short of green or bunker left of green. Avoid the temptation to bail right unless you are an absolutely hopeless bunker player.
This right-to-left dog leg may be shortened considerably by driving left, over edge of the trees, but it’s a risky shot as it is hard to judge how much to bite off. You can’t go wrong aiming at lone trees left of fairway bunker, ideally moving ball right to left. Green is well protected for those trying to reach it in two. Laying up along right side sets up best angle of approach into the green but brings bushes along right side into play. Safer layup is a bit left (go ahead and bust your fairway wood), but third shot into green must then be flipped over bunkers at a near right angle to the length of the green. Green has slope but it’s not a really tricky read. Should be lots of birdies and pars and the odd eagle here to cap off the round.