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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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 # 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.

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Hole # 3, Desert Willow, Palm Desert, CA

Hole # 3, FireCliff course, par 3, 139 yards

Desert Willow was one of the recommended courses and a Golf Digest must-play course. After playing the FireCliff course for the first time, I can see why it’s a preferred course. First of, there’s very little to no buildings in play. Courses like Rancho Las Palmas, Mission Hills and Desert Springs may be a problem to golfers who often slice or hook off the tee. At Desert Willow, the worst thing that can happen is that you lose lots of balls rather than putting a ball through someone’s living room window.

The range is complimentary if you want to start the round off with a warm up bucket. If you choose to visit the range, the starter will give you a pager that will vibrate and sing when your tee time is up. Nice touch.

When I drove up to hole # 3, I was thinking of a hole in one. Playing from the white tees, it was a perfect 9-iron. It is a beautiful hole with lots of desert between you and the green. I managed to hit the green but it left me with a rather long putt for birdie. The greens are extremely difficult to read and they were fast too. I ended up with a bogey because I could not read the breaks.


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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 # 17, Kona CC, Kona, HI

Hole # 17 on the Mountain Course, par 3, 172 yards

Hole # 17

Chris @ Hole # 17

Between the two courses at Kona Country Club on the Big Island in Hawaii, the ocean course is the most popular and gets the most play because golfers like to tee it up next to crashing waves and see an errant drive fly into the ocean. That’s a stroke penalty to say the least and there’s no chance to find it nor retrieve it.

Hole # 17 on the Mountain course is a long par 3. With our Callaway rangefinder, it’s playing 189 yards. We are teeing off at the top of a mountain and down below is water guarding the green. It’s spectacular up here with views of Kailua-Kona below and ocean. I don’t know whether to grab my camera or my hybrid.

I hit first and concentrate on making a smooth takeaway. As I bring my club down, I could hear the sound of a sweet shot as my ball sails towards the green. It has a bit of air time before it sits and settles on the green just a few feet from the hole. My playing partner also from Calgary decides to hit his hybrid. He isn’t so lucky because his ball finds the water. He winds up for his third shot, laying down another Pro V1 ball on a tee. He tries to calm his nerves by telling me, “This can get expensive at $5 a ball”. He hit it thick and the ball travels half the distance. Unfortunately it’s wet. “One more time” he insists. Another Pro V1 ball and this makes it across the lake and over by my ball. We are now ready to head to the green.

He wanted me to putt out first even though his ball was away.  I obliged. I took a look at the green before putting. No breaks, just a smooth stroke. It was in for a birdie. Fist pumped – it felt good! Chris two putted and ended up with a 7.

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Hole # 2, Los Robles Greens, Thousand Oaks, CA

Hole # 2, Blue tees, 146 yards

Some courses give you a good feeling and Los Robles Greens does that for me every time I set foot here. After finishing the par 5, hole # 1, it’s good to take a rest and a breather and get ready to hit a hole-in-one on the next hole. At only 146 yards, it is very doable and with the right club, technique and a lot of luck, someone is bound to hit it into the hole.

Before you lick your lips, let me warn you about right of the green. Any hint of a slice and your ball will be lost. If you’re going to hit an errant shot, let it go left because you have plenty of room on that side of the fairway. At only 146 yards, take an extra club because there’s usually a lot of wind up on the green. It’s flat but most people don’t get to the green- strange!

I went with a 7-iron and it was pin high. Stan chose a 6-iron and beamed it left of the palm tree. It was Damien’s turn and he decided to hit his 8-iron. Damien usually hits a high draw and his ball would land on the green, almost holing it. He would putt in for a birdie while the both of us would end up with a bogey.