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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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 # 3, SilverRock Resort, La Quinta, CA

Hole # 3, par 3, 176 yards

The Humana Challenge (formerly known as the Bob Hope Classic) just wrapped up on Sunday after Brian Gay beat Charles Howell III on the second playoff hole. Just around the corner from Arnold Palmer’s Private course is the SilverRock Resort which was used to host the Bob Hope Classic from 2008 to 2011.

After a long par 5 on the second, hole # 3 is a short par 3. From the blue and white tee boxes, the yardage may vary but today, it is playing 160 yards. I chose a 7-iron after my playing partner, Ryan shot it over the green and cart path. His father John would hit a perfect tee shot to the green. When it was my turn, I tried to ignore the big desert wasteland on the right. I have been in the wasteland before and I can tell you, it’s no fun getting out from there.

I took my club back slowly and hit down on it. Unfortunately, I hit it fat and my ball darted left. I would have a difficult chip to make. Everyone was on the green except me. The pressure was on. I chipped the ball and it landed on the apron before dribbling on to the green. I would two putt for a bogey. John walked away with a par and Ryan came up short for his par.

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Hole # 18, SilverRock Resort, La Quinta, CA

Hole # 18, SilverRock Resort, White tees, 446 yards

One of the most challenging finishing hole in the desert, hole # 18 at the SilverRock Resort in La Quinta, CA. Just watch the video below and check out the decisions that you have to make playing here. Off the tee, you don’t want to hook your shot because there are lot of expensive cars sitting in the parking lot (including mine). More concern is the lake situated on the right hand side. It is very reachable playing from the white tees. The last time I played there, my ball came to rest just inches from the water’s edge. It’s better to be in the middle but my playing partner (with a single digit handicap) drew his ball so badly that he ended up left of the fairway.

Lloyd was visiting Palm Springs from Nashville. His wife attended a conference in town and instead of basking by the pool, he decided to play SilverRock. Lloyd was a tall, lanky guy and talked a lot. You can tell that Lloyd was pretty well off, paying the regular price of $165 and planning a round at PGA West the next day.

Lloyd had sailed his ball some 300 yards down. But from the water’s edge, I had a decision to make. Either hit it across the lake and go for the green in three or lay up on the same side. I decided to take a chance and hit it over water. I chose my Callaway Diablo Edge 4-hybrid and hit it good. The ball ended up on the other side in the middle of the landing spot. My third shot would be short iron to the green which is guarded by water on the left. Lloyd had a 6-iron left and he hit it well. He gave out a loud yelp as his ball landed on the green. He was putting for eagle.

We all met on the green as Lloyd was celebrating his shot. He kept admiring the setting and kept saying how impressed he was about the course. After we putted and made par, he lined up and examined his putt for eagle. He used a belly putter and was pretty good at it too. He came up short but tapped it in for a birdie.

Have you played this course? Have you had an eagle opportunity? If so, I would love to hear how you played it.

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Hole # 2 – SilverRock Resort, La Quinta, CA

Hole # 2, par 5, White tees, 502 yards

Something wacky happened on my drive on the first par 5 of the SilverRock Resort golf course. The ball veered right as though I hit it on the toe. If you’ve played the course before, you will remember that this hole parallels the road leading into the golf course from the street. When the ball took off, my playing partners and I were holding our breath, hoping that the ball would stay in play rather than hit an incoming car. It was scary to say the least.

My ball luckily ended up short of the road and the sandy wasteland on the right. I estimated my drive to be around 225 yards. Playing it safe and giving myself a chance to hit the green in three (ie. GIR), I decided to hit an easy 8-iron to the middle of the fairway. I wanted enough loft to clear the longer grass and to guarantee myself an approach shot from the fairway. I chose my 8-iron because it is my second most trusted club in the bag. I think it’s a good idea for every golfer to turn to their favourite club after an errant shot, just to regain some confidence and to get the good shot feeling.

My ball ended up in the fairway leaving me with a 190 yards approach to the green over water. My playing partners all laid up and had nice wedge shots to the green across the pond. I pulled out my Callaway Diablo 4-hybrid, kept my head down and swung the club. The ball took off nice and straight, cleared the lake and landed barely on the green. GIR achieved. Now I was left with a long putt towards the hole. Today I three putted for a bogey, but was happy with it. I saw this as a good recovery from a bad tee shot and managed to bogey the hole.

Have you played SilverRock in La Quinta? If you have, I would love to hear how you played hole # 2. Please add your comments, tips and any ideas for me to improve my chances for a better score. Or if you think I played it well, please “like” this post. (Thanks!)