Getting on the green

Blogging about some of the world's best golf holes.


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Sunset Hole at Palm Royale

The sunsets in the desert are always spectacular, especially when you’re finishing up on Palm Royale CC in La Quinta, CA. When the sun goes behind the mountains, watch for the colors in the sky. There can be purple, orange and streaks of red in the sky when the sun is setting.

Hole # 18 is a challenging stretch to finish off your round. It is short but not easy. It will test your short iron to the max. From the blue tees, it is only 120 yards give and take 5 yards. Often the pin is tucked in the right corner where there is a small waterfall and a small sliver of grass to land it on. If you want to stay dry, don’t attempt to draw your ball. Instead from the tee, hit a fade so that most of your carry is over land.

Water plays havoc on the whole right side. If you can carry your shot all the way to the green then go for it. But don’t blame me if you go in the sand trap or fly the green to the clubhouse.

Yesterday, Rick from Kelowna, BC hit a beautiful shot high up to the heavens and down to the green. He had a 2 foot putt to a nice birdie putt. What a great way to finish off a round in the desert. It’ll be another year before Rick is back for more of the desert.

His wife Linda wasn’t so lucky but she had enjoyed her time on the course meeting nice people and vacationing from the cold snowy days at home.


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SilverRock #9: Short, Sweet par 3

SilverRock # 9

SilverRock # 9

After playing the difficult #8 at SilverRock Resort, La Quinta, CA, the ninth hole is a simple par 3 at 148 yards from the blue tees. No use going long because there is a mountain of rocks behind the green. Some veteran players have used these rocks as a back stop but I don’t recommend it. Who knows how your ball is going to bounce off the rocks?

For me, I’m always coming up short because the green doesn’t look that far. If the pin is on the right then coming up short is fine because you can hit a nice chip up to the hole. But if the pin is on the left side then you have to hit enough club to get over the sand bunkers that guard the pin.

If you hit the green then you are putting for birdie. This is a beautiful hole to birdie or par it.


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Crystal Ridge GC: Straight Tee Shot Required on #1

Crystal Ridge GC: #1

Crystal Ridge GC: #1

Hole # 1, par 4, 375 yards

Teeing off on the first hole on any course can be a nerve racking experience and on Crystal Ridge GC in Okotoks, it can be for those of you who slices their tee shot. If you are playing the blue tees, make sure you grab a club that is going to guarantee you a straight tee shot. Too much left is no good and probably out of bounds. Right is not good either because the clubhouse is there, just behind the trees. Straight is it.

Once in the clear, you can aim for the green which has a bunker on the left and water behind the green. I got in the sand and easily popped it out. My playing partner wasn’t so lucky because she hit her hybrid too long and her ball was wet. After a week of hot sun, the greens had dried out and it was hard sticking the balls close.

On the green, I had a 10 foot putt. I found the greens to be a good speed, not as fast as a 8 on the stimp meter but close behind. Counting the lost ball I hit left, I ended up with a triple bogey. She did too. At least we were even after one hole.


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A Little Chambers Bay at Muirfield

Drivable par 4 at Muirfield Lakes

Drivable par 4 at Muirfield Lakes

This week I played two courses in the Calgary area that made me feel like Jordan Spieth at the US Open in Chambers Bay. Both courses had holes that were very drivable and with a good tee shot, I had a chance to putt for eagle. Hole # 2 on the Maple Ridge GC is reachable from the white tees and most big hitters with a fade can easily roll their ball onto the putting surface. But from the blue tees, getting on the green in regulation is still good.

The other course I played on was in Lyalta, AB where Muirfield Lakes GC is located. Drive east on Country Hills Blvd to Lyalta then make a right. It is a nice course to play and it would remind Jordan Spieth of Chambers Bay or something from the Scottish links because of the gnarly long grass and open fairways. Hole # 2 on Muirfield Lakes is drivable from the blue tees. With a good draw, players can get on easily from the tee box. They need to start it right then draw their ball in. I did and I was looking at getting an eagle from 20 feet. It’s not everyday you feel like Jordan Spieth at the US Open but for one hole, it was exhilarating. My heart was pumping fast as I lined up my ball and made the putt. It rolled as though it had a purpose then suddenly it stopped an inch from the hole. I had to settle for birdie. The eagle would have been nice but for a moment, I felt like Jordan Spieth on the final round at Chambers Bay, sinking it to win the US Open.


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Maple Ridge: A commanding par 3

Maple Ridge par 3

Maple Ridge par 3

I always liked playing at Maple Ridge but it’s especially nice when it’s rush hour because I rather be on a golf course than to be stuck in traffic. The Deerfoot is more like a parking lot than a highway and drivers look at us with envy.

The par 3 overlooking the golf course is spectacular and it takes our breath away. Today, it is playing 204 yards with a stiff wind that will bat down any ball heading to the green.

First up is Al and he chooses to hit a 5-iron. Al traps the ball between the turf and his club so hard that it flies a long ways. Al hits it well but his ball darts right, bounces on the cart path on the way down and dives into the sand bunker next to the green.

I’m next and I chose my 4-hybrid. I plan to punch it hard and get it on the green. Somehow I didn’t make good contact and it flies low and stays out of the bunker that Al is in.

Last up is Wayne and he chooses to hit driver. Al and I are in disbelief but when Wayne hits it, his ball lands on the green. He is putting for birdie.

We all settled for a bogey except for Wayne who took home a par. Next time, it will be a driver for me when there is a stiff wind blowing around the green.


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Lakeside Greens: Hole # 16 is an Elbow Right

Coming up on hole # 16 at Lakeside Greens, you have a line of houses backing on the golf course to your right and a ball park on your left. A good tee shot would be straight down the middle of the fairway. The big hitters would get their ball in position where the green can be seen. But for me who normally hits a 210-225 yard drive, I have to settle for a blind shot to the green.

Today, I drove it just short of the first bunker on the right. My gps would tell me that I had 130 yards to the green. I grabbed my 9-iron and aimed left of the first tall tree. There is a large sand bunker strategically placed on the right side of the green so I had to make sure my shot had enough carry to reach the green. A 9-iron would guarantee me to land on the green or long. Any club shorter would land me into the sand.

I took an easy swing and popped the ball up. Later, I would find my ball on the high side of the pin. It would be a tricky downhill putt but I managed to walk away with a par.

 


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Lakeside Greens: Going for Dry

Hole # 3, Lakeside Greens, Chestermere, AB

Most people are fascinated about island greens but at Lakeside Greens in Chestermere, the tee boxes are on the island. From there, your tee shot has to fly clear of water that is on the left side of the fairway. The perfect tee shot is a draw that starts off right and ends up in the middle of the fairway.

I was up first because I had par’d the last hole. I drove the ball really well on the first hole and so the feeling was still fresh in my mind. I aimed my tee shot at the first tree on the right, hoping to draw it over the trees and to the middle of the fairway. I was too quick on my takeaway and came down over the ball. It skirted right. I would have the shortest drive. next to a tree in long grass.

I decided to pop it out with my 4-hybrid. I was lucky to sail it over the trees and onto the fairway but a little too left to see the green. I would have 177 yards left with 2 bunkers to carry. I chose a 6-iron and hit it well. I would come up short, just beside the cart sign and before the greenside bunker. I used my 58-degree wedge and lobbed it over the bunker and onto the green. I had a downhill putt to make.

I was happy to walk away with a double bogey. Last week, I had a 10 on the same hole.