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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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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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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SilverRock Resort: Hole 4 | par 4, 355 yards

SilverRock Resort, La Quinta | Hole # 4, par 4, Blue tees: 355 yards

Bighorn sheep at SilverRock

Bighorn sheep at SilverRock

Standing on the blue tees on hole # 4, all you can see is sand, sand and more sand. Talk about intimidation. First up is Mike from the Tri-City, south of Spokane, Washington. He has driver in his hands and he plans to beam it down the middle. Mike has a really tight swing but he hits it a long way. His tee shot flies through the air and he runs out of fairway. His ball ends up in the desert wasteland which is on either side of the fairway.

I’m next up. I also have driver in my hands and plan on going down the middle too, but short of Mike’s tee shot. I take it easy but I found myself hurrying at the top of my backswing. I would go over the top and come down from the outside in. My ball would fly left and into the desert wasteland where Mike’s ball was. I really didn’t want that but it happened.

The two girls hit and they were both safely in the fairway. Mike and I drove up to see the damage. I had 140 yards to go and Mike had 120 yards. Both of us would have difficult shots, having to blast out of the desert wasteland which consisted of small rocks and rough sand. It would mean scratched up clubs for us, no matter what we used.

I decided to hit a little more club and grabbed my 8-iron. Mike chose a PW. My ball would end up short of the sand trap right of the green. Mike would sail his ball to the back of the green. The two girls were safely on the green and were ready to putt.

Mike and I would both end up with bogey. The girls walked off with a par each.


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Hole # 1, Indian Wells Golf Course, Indian Wells, CA

Indian Wells

Indian Wells Player’s Course

Hole # 1, par 5, Player’s Course, 494 yards

Never played here but always wanted to and finally, I’m here on the first tee. The course is immaculate and the greens are fast. At least that’s what our host, Judith says about both courses here in Indian Wells. For those of you who aren’t familiar with the whereabouts of Indian Wells, it is a small desert city just southeast of Palm Springs. To get here, you have to fly into the Palm Springs (PSP) airport and head east on I-10 until Washington. Take a right turn at the top of the ramp and drive for about 10 minutes. You will pass the Indian Wells Tennis Garden on your right where they play the BNP Paribas Open every March. When you reach Highway 111, turn right and in 5 minutes, you will be in Indian Wells.

The first hole can be intimidating from the blue tees because you have to sail it past the starter and a desert waste bunker in front of the white tees. I decided to play from the white tees because it was my first time and I didn’t want to get beat up. From the tee, my drive went straight and towards the bunker on the right. The ladies teed it up next and both were in great shape. From the middle of the fairway, I could see trouble on the whole right side. Everything seem to slope right and if you went too right, your ball would end up below the fairway and onto the Celebrity course that played on the other side of the wash.

I hit a 4-hybrid and the ball settled just in front of some hedges. I had about 148 yards to the green that looked pretty deep. I used a 8-iron to scoot the ball up there but it came up short of the green. I decided to use my 52-degree wedge to get it close and the ball ended up on the right tier. The greens were exceptionally fast on the putting green and I thought it would be the same on the course. I was right, lightning fast. My ball sailed past the hole and I was looking at an uphill putt. I would walk off with a double bogey to start my round at the Player’s Course.


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Hole # 6, Desert Willow Golf Resort, Palm Desert, CA

Hole # 6, Mountain View Course, par 5, 455 yards

If there’s water on the course then my ball will find it. It’s not a mind game with me and water doesn’t really play on my psyche neither. It’s just my golf ball and its obsession with water.

When you drive up the path on hole # 6 on the Mountain View course at Desert Willow, you see water off the tee box. It’s not really in play but it’s a good reminder that water is in play further up the fairway. Gord was first up. He stood on the tee box nervously and waggle his driver like Jason Dufner does. After a few minutes, Gord went into motion and hit a nice drive to the middle of the fairway. Jim was next up. As a leftie, Jim likes to cut the ball so he would start it right and have it draw into the center. With two balls in the fairway, I was up next. I was hitting it pretty good so I was confident that I could join my playing partners and hit it near the center. My ball sailed straight but stayed left. 

On the second shot, we all hit our hybrids except for Jim. In his younger days, Jim would hit a long iron but now at 75, he had to hit his 3-wood to get up to our 4-hybrid distance.  I decided to fade one over the water hazard and onto the landing area just before the green. There’s water that dissects the fairway and it requires a wedge to get it close to the pin. By the time I got up there, I couldn’t find my second shot. I think it must have rolled in. Jim also couldn’t find his ball but he thought he must have went to right and lost it to the water hazard on the right side of the fairway. Gord’s ball ended up in the palm tree oasis to the right of the pond.

From 100 yards out, I played a stroke penalty and hit my ball to the green. Jim followed with a 80 yard pitch shot to the green. Gord decided to sit it out and watch us putt. We were in for a count of 7.


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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.