Getting on the green

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


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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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Hole # 9, Palm Royale CC, La Quinta, CA

Hole # 9, par 3, blue tees, 85 yards

Hole # 9

Hole # 9

Just when you think you have your short game under control, you pull a shot left. And on hole # 9 at Palm Royale Country Club, it was going to be a tricky up and down. Dick was next to hit. He also chose a SW but he mishit it and his ball ended up wet. Cindy was up next. She chose a PW and she hit it well. Her ball went straight for the pin and settled just north of the pin.

Dick hit his third shot from the drop area but went completely underneath the ball. It’s easy to do that at Palm Royale because the rough can be quite long at this time of year. I walked over to my ball and assessed the situation. I had a bunker between my ball and the green. The elegant shot would involve a flop shot but I was worried about skulling the ball into someone’s patio. I ended up chipping it over the bunker and off the green. I would settle with a double bogey. Dick did as well. Cindy was the only one that walked away with a par.


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Hole # 1, PGA West – Greg Norman Course, La Quinta, CA

Hole # 1, par 4, Blue tees, 379 yards

Greg Norman named this starting hole ‘Hourglass’ because the fairway narrows as it approaches the green and widens out at the green. Coincidentally, we were teamed up with another couple from Calgary. Ian and Susan were down for a month, spent their Canadian Thanksgiving in the desert and had played various golf courses in the Palm Springs area for the past three weeks.

Ian looked like an avid golfer and a long hitter. So when he was swinging his club at the blue tees, I wasn’t going to object. He sailed it nicely down the fairway over the blue lake as though it wasn’t there. Water off the tee usually makes me nervous but I couldn’t help admire the course from the tee box, just before hitting. “It was surely a tight fairway but one thing for sure, the million dollar homes were too far away for me to slice or hook into”. I setup my ball, addressed it with my new driver (ie. Taylormade R9 driver with a 10.5 degree loft) and took a deep breath. I hit it smoothly as it sailed over the lake and onto the middle of the fairway. Phew!

It was the ladies’ turn as they teed off without a hitch. Susan could really hit the ball and confidently too. She said she plays D’Arcy Ranch a lot and was used to hitting it hard and long. It was a good start with all four balls on the fairway. That’s showing it to the starter who probably figured we were a bunch of hacks from Canada.

On the fairway, we had about 160 yards to the green. I can see why this hole was named ‘Hourglass’. The fairway really narrowed out to about 10 yards with desert landscape all around. Luckily for us, we all came up short on the tee shot. If we hit as long as Bubba does, our ball would have found desert. I chose a 7-iron and hit it cleanly but it was short. Everyone also came up short so we were all chipping on. By the time we putted out, we all bogeyed the hole. So far so good.


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Hole # 1, The Golf Club at La Quinta, La Quinta, CA

Hole # 1, par 4, Blue tees, 378 yards

Golf Club at La Quinta, Hole # 8

Golf Club at La Quinta, Hole # 8

Before stepping out on hole # 1, hit a few balls on the range to warm up and get the ‘feel’ into your game. At the Golf Club at La Quinta, formerly known as the Trilogy Golf Club, you get treated to free range balls. It’s nice when a course provides range balls for free, even though the temperature is well above 100 degrees. It’s quiet here in late spring and summer so you practically have the whole course to yourself. Don’t hit several balls but take the time to visualize your shot and hit a good score.

Hole # 1 is a straightforward hole. Back at the blue tees, it’s alittle daunting for some because of the tunnel vision caused by a tight fairway. Left of you is the driving range and right of you are houses. Forget it for the moment as you line up your tee shot straight down the middle. If you are going to draw it then perfect, you’ll be in the middle. Otherwise a little bleeding to the right won’t hurt you.

My tee shot ends up 30 yards from the barber pole, leaving me 160 yards to the green. I set up to hit a draw and end up hooking it left. I’m left with a small chip which I give myself a 2 putt for a bogey. Not a bad start but I should have putted it better. Next time.