Getting on the green

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


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Hole # 18, River Ridge Golf Course, Ventura, CA

Hole # 18, par 3, White tees, 166 yards

River Ridge GC, the site of my first hole-in-one. One of the most challenging holes is hole # 18, an island green with water all around. If this course isn’t on your bucket list then sign up for a free birthday round.

There are two 18-hole courses here at River Ridge in Ventura, CA. The one that I am featuring today is on the Vineyard Course. Hole # 18 is a tough yardage for most because it requires an accurate 6-iron tee shot over water to a relatively small green. Water does funny things to most golfers causing them to take a longer club . The best thing to do is to trust your swing, keep your head down and hit the ball. Let the club do the work.

I chose a 6-iron and told my ball to close its eyes. My friend Rob would smile at the ball before hitting it, hoping that it will smile back to him when he sees it on the green. Lucky shot for me, I’m putting.

Two balls in the water and two on the green, not bad stats. There is a drop area further down the cart path for the two wet players. It’s fair because they’re left with a wedge shot over water to the green. We’re all safe and we’re all putting. What a great way to finish a round! I walk away with a birdie and a smile.

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Hole #2, Olivas Links, Ventura, CA

Hole # 2, par 5, Blue tees, 529 yards

Olivas Links

Olivas Links

Teeing off on the first hole can be too much for some players. Courses where the first hole is right off the clubhouse can be be nerve racking for new players, especially when there is a gallery of other players. It’s easy to duff the ball, slice or hook your tee shot. Luckily hole # 1 at Olivas Links is a little away from the clubhouse and therefore, no gallery. Phew!

After coming off hole # 1, hole # 2 is a true test for length. At 529 yards and a strong wind blowing off the ocean into your face, keeping your head down is critical for a long drive up the center of the fairway. Stay straight or slight right, but don’t go down left. There are environmental areas here and they don’t like it when you go in there. Luckily for me, my tee shots are usually low boring types. Even with a 10.5 degrees driver, I can make it as though I’m hitting a 8 degrees driver.

My tee shot finds it in the middle of the fairway. Second shot, I take out my 4-Hybrid and advance it along. Everyone else I’m playing is doing the same. Now within 160 yards, I take out my 6-iron and go for the green. A lot of second shots end up in the long grass to the left of the cart path. It’s long fescule in there and you don’t want to go there whatsoever. Keep it in the middle or within the cart path and environmental strip that runs all the way down left.

My 160-yard club barely makes it on for a GIR. It really is a true test of your long clubs to get you on the green. The green is undulating which makes it tough to 2-putt. I would end up with a bogey. No pars on this hole but if you managed to get one, please write me a comment for encouragement.