Getting on the green

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


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Hole # 18, Mt Lorette GC, Kananaskis Country, AB

Hole # 18, par 4, 427 yards

Hole # 18, Mt Lorette

Hole # 18, Mt Lorette

As an Albertan, it was an annual obligation and desire to play one of the best golf courses ever built. From Calgary, it would be an hour drive west towards the Bow Valley Parkway, then south towards the Kananaskis Country. It would always be a treat driving there because of the scenery and wildlife. On the day when we drove out, it was dry but rain was in the forecast. When we arrived at the golf courses, we drove up to the valet and no one was there to greet us. After the floods, they had to let most of the staff go because the course was closed for the entire 2013 season.

The floods had damaged both courses. Instead of a meandering creek, it was now a raging river. The sand bunkers on hole # 18 on the Mt Lorette course was practically washed away, along with the 400 yard fairway. The green is still intact but even the cart path suffered some damage.

It was a sad sight. Only the tee box remained on hole # 10. The fairway from tee box to green was almost non-existent. They said at the height of the flood, Mt Lorette was completely underwater. Mt Kidd was spared but there is considerable damage on the 10th, 14th, 16th and 18th holes. Luckily the signature hole, par 3 with the island green was untouched except for one sand bunker.

 


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Hole # 3, SilverRock Resort, La Quinta, CA

Hole # 3, par 3, 176 yards

The Humana Challenge (formerly known as the Bob Hope Classic) just wrapped up on Sunday after Brian Gay beat Charles Howell III on the second playoff hole. Just around the corner from Arnold Palmer’s Private course is the SilverRock Resort which was used to host the Bob Hope Classic from 2008 to 2011.

After a long par 5 on the second, hole # 3 is a short par 3. From the blue and white tee boxes, the yardage may vary but today, it is playing 160 yards. I chose a 7-iron after my playing partner, Ryan shot it over the green and cart path. His father John would hit a perfect tee shot to the green. When it was my turn, I tried to ignore the big desert wasteland on the right. I have been in the wasteland before and I can tell you, it’s no fun getting out from there.

I took my club back slowly and hit down on it. Unfortunately, I hit it fat and my ball darted left. I would have a difficult chip to make. Everyone was on the green except me. The pressure was on. I chipped the ball and it landed on the apron before dribbling on to the green. I would two putt for a bogey. John walked away with a par and Ryan came up short for his par.


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Hole # 1, River Spirit Golf Club, Calgary, AB

Hole # 1, Cat Tails course, White tees, par 4, 353 yards

Golf Canada, formerly known as the RCGA will host the Royale Cup Canadian Junior Girls from July 30 to August 3rd, 2012. Calgarians may billet a player by providing up to 5 nights of accomodation, meals and transportation to these girls. If interested, please email jay@riverspiritgolf.com.

River Spirit has three 9-hole course layouts. Cattails is the newest course of the three and is considered the easiest but I can tell you, it has its challenges. Playing from the white tees, hole # 1 may seem short at 353 yards but see if you can keep it straight and on the fairway. Trouble comes into play around the 150 yards marker as the fairway gets narrower. It’s easy to slice your ball but for a right hander, the worst you can be is to hit into the 18th fairway on your right. Going left is not good either with a chance of losing your ball to high grass and trees. A straight tee shot is best and you will be rewarded with a short wedge to the green.

My tee shot went to the right but I had a clear shot of the green from the rough. I chose a 7-iron and hit it well. My ball ended up short of the bunker on the left and I had to pull a Phil Mickelson to get it close to the hole. My playing partner, Ron hit a solid tee shot and was left with less than 100 yards to the green. He hit a clean wedge and his ball landed back of the green. It would be a tricky putt for him as the greens were running fast on the stimp meter. His wife Linda had to hit a tough chip out of the long grass and it jetted across the green. I would knock it in for a bogey and so would Ron.


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Hole # 8, Rancho Park GC, Los Angeles, CA

Hole # 8, par 3, White tees, 190 yards

Congratulations to Eddie Repanich for scoring a hole-in-one on April 22, 2012. Getting on the green on this hole at Rancho Park GC is a feat in itself. From the tee box, you have to hit it straight and long. I usually hate par 3’s that are over 150 yards and this is one that I hate playing.

If you don’t take enough club, your ball will simply roll back at you and down below the green. You see, there’s a big dip between the tee box and the green so take enough club to get you there. There is plenty of trouble to the left, right and back of the hole. To give yourself a chance for par, go for the green and hope you see your ball there when you walk or drive up.

Today, I choose my Callaway 4-Hybrid. Normally, I can it 195 yards so hopefully, I can hit it clean. It sailed toward the green and bounced on. Phew! My playing partner isn’t so lucky. He ends up slicing it into the trees on the right. Lucky for him, he’s got a shot so he should be able to pitch it out. He does and save par. I ended up with a bogey because I didn’t read the break. Golf is funny that way. Maybe next time I’ll miss the green.

If you’re Eddie Repanich, please add a comment. I would like to know how you played it.


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Hole # 6, DeBell Golf Course, Burbank, CA

Hole # 6, par 3, Blue tees, 125 yards

Just when you think your game is right on, you come to the short par 3 at DeBell Golf Course in Burbank, CA. If you haven’t played here before, you have to. It has some characters of a bigger course because of the size of trees but it’s tight on land because land in California is expensive and the course is backed up into a mountain.

Hole # 6 is short but with swirling winds down below, it plays like 140 yards sometimes. To make things worst, the green is not straight ahead. Instead it jogs a little left. Sometimes, the pin is so far back on the green that the tree to your left comes into play by blocking your tee shot. A player who can draw in their balls have a perfect shot to the green but it has to stop on a dime, otherwise it can roll into any one of the three bunkers.

From the blue tees, I am always tempted to hit my 9-iron. However it is downhill so I would go down a club to a PW. However, the green is a long way down so maybe hit a three quarter with a 9-iron. With all that doubt swirling in my head, I mishit and my ball dribbles down to the bottom of the hill. I’m left with a pitch shot to the green. Finally after two horrible shots, I’m putting for par. I’ll end up with a double bogey.

Have you played here recently? If so, please tell me how you did by adding a comment. If you haven’t played here, mark your calendars for May 12th, 2012. Between 9:00am and 2:00pm, the 2nd Annual Super Demo Day will feature all the new clubs from TaylorMade, Callaway, Ping, Cleveland, Nike and Titleist. Maybe we’ll see you there!


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Hole # 10, River’s Edge Golf Club, Okotoks, AB

Hole # 10, River’s Edge Golf Club, Blue tees, 404 yards

Risk and reward means different things to different people. On hole # 10 at River’s Edge Golf Club in Okotoks, near Calgary, AB, Canada, players often take risks and bomb their tee drives over the rough to reach the green in one. The trouble with that is either losing their ball to the long grass and shrubs that litters between tee box and green or they hook it so badly that players on the par 3, hole # 11 has to duck for cover.

Other players not taking risks will play their ball straight and occasionally, slice their ball into fairway one where they can easily recover from. After teeing off from the blue tees, I found my ball a little right of the cart path. Luckily, I had a clear view of the green and decided to hit a 8-iron to a pin located in the back of the green.

A safe shot off the tee earned me an easy GIR. I 2-putted and walked away with a par. My playing partner took the risk and lost his tee shot in the rough. He ended up with a double bogey. Better luck next time.

For those of you in the area, visit River’s Edge on Saturday, April 28th for their 2nd Annual Monster Demo Gala. Lots of new equipment to demo from Callaway, TaylorMade, Ping, Exotics, Titleist, Nike, Adams and more.

Part of giving back, be sure to bring a non-perishable food item for the food bank. See you there!