Getting on the green

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


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Hole # 1, Shadow Ridge GC, Palm Desert, CA

Hole # 1, par 4, 368 yards

It was turning out to be hot day when we arrived at the Marriott Shadow Ridge resort in Palm Desert for a round of golf. The place was buzzing with people coming for the Sunday buffet at the Grill. We joined the line of cars as we made our way to the bag drop just left of the clubhouse. Once checked in, we looked for our clubs and the cart that it was on and proceeded to the starter who gave us 15 minutes to tee time. We had just enough time to warm up on the range and putt a few balls before heading out.

On the first tee, we met our playing partners, Mark and Bud. Mark was a resident of La Quinta and Bud was visiting from San Francisco. They decided to play the combo tees which was a combination of playing the blue and white tees depending on the course handicap. I obliged.

Off the tee, I wasn’t nervous at all. Perhaps it was because of the resort setting or the wide open feeling on the first hole or there were very little people watching me. My ball went down the middle and left me with a 177 yards to the green. Mark pulled his tee shot to the left and Bud hit it just right of me.

From 177 yards, I decided to pull my hybrid out. Bad mistake because I literally, pulled my shot left. My ball sailed into a large greenside bunker the size of a swimming pool in Palm Desert. The sand wasn’t fluffy like the stuff they use at most resort courses. Both Mark and Bud were on the green and waiting for my arrival. Unfortunately, I was going to be late because I had a lot of trouble with the sand. After 3 wasted strokes, I was out. I settled for a triple bogey as my playing partners walked away with a par each.

Did I redeem myself? Stay tuned.


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Hole # 6, Kauai Lagoons GC, Lihue, HI

Hole # 6, par 4, 399 yards

Hole # 6 Tee Box

Hole # 6 Kiele Moana

What does a monkey have to do with hole # 6 on the Kiele Moana course? Drive up, grab the big stick and head down to the tee box and you will see. By the way, it’s not a monkey but a gorilla.

Ok, it is clear now. This is a gorilla hole meaning that you have to be a gorilla to hit it over the trees and onto the fairway on the other side of the world. At least it looks that way.

At 399 yards from the white tees, it almost seems unfair. Hole # 1 was 491 yards and it was a par 5. Standing on the tee box, you feel like you’re standing on top of the world.

Take a deep breath, hit it good and let it fly. Stick to your fundamentals and you will be fine. Try not to cut the corner too much because it’s a long way across. A straight tee shot will work better. If you do feel like a gorilla, try it but be forewarned that there are sand bunkers to your right, just behind the bushes.

Over the gulley

Tee shot has to clear the gulley.

My playing partner is lucky for playing the forward tees. Again, her tee box is on the other side of the gulley where you can see the green. On the other side, I find my ball in the middle of the fairway. I had to look across at the tee box where I just came from, just to see what I had to endure.

This is truly a spectacular hole and a picture of it doesn’t give it justice. You have to play this to believe it.

Her drive is always down the middle. In front of me, I have to make sure my second shot doesn’t spray right. A group of trees on the left is forcing me to hit it high so I chose my 6-iron from 165 yards. I have been practicing this shot over the last week in Hawaii. It’s going to start to the right and slowly draw in to the center. Bam, it’s on the green and I have a birdie putt. My playing partner isn’t so lucky. She duffs her 3-wood and her ball ends up in the sand bunker up ahead. She normally hits it cleanly but this time, she faltered.

She would blast her way out but short of the green, leaving her a nasty chip to a rather large green. I tap it in for a birdie and she had to settle for a double bogey.


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Hole # 1, Kauai Lagoons GC, Lihue, HI

Hole # 1, par 5, 491 yards

The staff at Kauai Lagoons Golf Club in Lihue on Kauai are so friendly that on a quiet day, you feel like you own the place. At least that’s what I would like if I ever won a lottery and bought the course from the Marriott. After checking in with the starter, they will give you a bucket of balls to warm up on. You can putt or you can head out to hole # 1. Because it’s a resort course, they will often let you out on your own rather than team you up with strangers.

Hole # 1 on the Kiele Moana course is a long par 5. At 491 yards from the white tees, the green is a long ways off. The fairway is nice and wide so your first shot doesn’t have to go down the middle. I am hitting my Taylormade Burner with a 10.5 degree loft and stiff shaft. With a slight draw on my driver, I end up in the middle. My playing partner Cynthia is teeing off with a Taylormade Superfast driver with a 13.5 degree loft. She always hit it down the middle – you know the type.

Both of our balls come up about the same. I am hitting my 4-hybrid and she chooses her 3-wood. With only 120 yards left, I chose my 9-iron and dropped the ball next to the pin. She had about 110 yards so she went with her PW. She also made it safely on the green. Both of us are putting for birdie and talk about birds. There are roosters, chickens and chick-a-dees everywhere. Kauai certainly is overrun by chickens. They don’t get in the way but they do make a lot of noise.

I two putt in for a par. She lipped out and had to settle for a bogey. That’s a nice start to a great round in Kauai.