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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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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SilverWing Links: A par in the Wind

Roll out of bed and onto golf course

Roll out of bed and onto golf course

It was a pleasant day to golf at Silverwing, a 27-hole facility just a stone throw away from the Calgary International Airport. Travellers passing through Calgary or have business trips should stay at one of many airport hotels nearby, including the Marriott that backs onto the MayFly 9. Talk about rolling out of bed and onto the golf course.

We had just finished playing MayFly 9 when the gentle breeze had turned fierce. It was now blowing up a notch as we made the turn on DragonFly 9, the longer of the nines at Silverwing.

Hole # 8 on a calm day is usually an easy 6-iron but don’t you think for a moment that it is an easy par. The perfect shot is a draw to the green, over rough, a creek and a set of sand bunkers. If you do come up short, stay right because left is wet.

With a strong wind in your face, I used my Taylormade RBZ 3-wood. I hit a stinger through the wind and drew it in to the green. It was a gutsy shot but I waited patiently until the wind died down then I started my swing. It was a low shot but I hit it well. The ball landed just above the hole and it left me with a downhill putt. By the time I was on the green, the wind had calmed down. I was so amazed at hitting a 3-wood on a 165 yard hole but my playing partner would come up short with a 5-wood.

I tapped the ball and it rolled a far way down. Luckily it was an uphill putt for a par.


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Lakeside Greens: Short but Brutal

Hole # 11, par 3, Blue tees, 135 yards After coming close to a par on the previous hole, we drove across the street to the next hole. Hole # 11 is a short par 3 with bunkers on the whole left side. My gps gave me a reading of 135 yards so I decided to go first since I felt the vibe. At 135 yards, I was going to hit my 9-iron and de-loft the club slightly to get more distance out of it. My 9-iron normally gives me 125 yards but I was hoping for a nice smooth swing, a nice bounce and a roll to the green. I had hit it pretty good and it flew right towards the green. I would be short of the green by a few feet. Joe was next. He also chose a 9-iron but pushed it. Allen was next up. With a PW, Allen normally compresses the ball and hits it a long way. He would fly his ball to the back of the green. Tom was next. He chose a 8-iron and pulled it into the sand bunker. By the time I went up to the green, I was quite short and decided to chip on with my 58-degree wedge. I hit it flushed and it flew to the hole. I was left with a uphill putt. The greens at Lakeside were running fast and up to this hole, I was three putting everything. I aimed and fired at the hole. The ball would go past the hole and it would make me putt it downhill. The greens were so fast that if you touched it, the ball would roll a mile. I did exactly that and ended up breezing by the hole. Was this a par 8? The simple par 3 ate us all up. None of us walked away with anything less than a double bogey.


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Hole # 14, Collicutt Siding GC, Crossfield, AB

Hole # 14, par 3, 116 yards

Hole # 14

Hole # 14

If you haven’t played Collicutt Siding Golf Club and you live in Calgary then you should. Take Deerfoot Trail and head north towards Edmonton. At 2A to Crossfield, take the exit and turn left at the top of the ramp. Drive for 5 minutes and make a left on Western. Follow it to the golf course.

It is surprisingly good for golfers of all ages and skill levels. First of, something that I haven’t seen before – a kids’ tee box. On every hole, there is a set of lime coloured tee boxes that lets kids tee off on. Also, it is only golf course that you can run your cart on the fairway leading to a par 3.

Hole # 14 plays off the new clubhouse which was built in 2005. It is quite a nice looking clubhouse with a pro shop and restaurant facilities. From the white tees, the green is located on the other side of a creek that winds through the fairway. A large bunker in the front protects the pin.

I was first up and decided to hit a soft 9-iron. My ball flew straight towards the pin, over the bunker and just on the edge of the green. Rob was next. He hit a wedge high up and ended up in between my ball and the pin. Holly was next up. She played the white tees with the guys and ended up short and into the creek. Cindy played from the red tees decided to hit a hybrid. Unfortunately, her ball would clear the bridge but find the long grass on the other side of the creek.

I was first to putt and found the hole to be uphill. There was quite a lot of slope to it and I didn’t give it enough roll. I would end up with a bogey. Rob was next to putt and he also bogeyed the hole. No one walked away with a par. It looked like an easy hole but we all were challenged.


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Hole # 6, Lakeside Greens, Chestermere, AB

Hole # 6, par 3, Blue tees, 150 yards

Lakeside Greens

Lakeside Greens

Some golf courses agrees with you and others don’t. On Tuesday, it was clear who played well and who didn’t. It was the first time that Tom had played Lakeside Greens in Chestermere and he did exceptionally well. Both Allen and I have played here before and always enjoy the golf in a country setting. Allen recently played here on a tournament and so he remembered the holes vividly.

On hole # 6, the green from the blue tees looked exceptionally far away. It was only 150 yards but the water made it more scarier than most holes. After a great par on hole # 5, Tom decided to hit first. He hit a pretty good shot but it was leaning left fast. Unfortunately, his tee shot went into the water. I was next up and thought to myself, it would be nice if I got a hole-in-one. I chose a 7-iron and hit it well. It went straight to the pin but ran into some ground. It took one bounce and landed short of the hole.

Allen was up next. He decided to hit a 8-iron. His ball came up short but he was dry and safe. It landed on the apron, just short of the green by inches. Tom decided to hit again. His second attempt would be better as it landed on the green. When I drove up, I was amazed at how my ball was so close. It was surely a tap in for birdie.

Tom putted out and Allen chipped on. Nothing to write home about but I was happy that I got a birdie.