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How Would You Play It? (9th at Belmont CC, Fresno, CA)

post #1 of 34
Thread Starter 

Since I know that the book that shall not be named (for fear of jinxing it) is coming out soon, thus making these types of threads obsolete, I figured I'd throw one last one in there for your consideration.  This one, again, is from my brother's home course, where our big 3 day tournament is fast approaching.  If I didn't mention it already, the format is teams of 3 and it's best ball (net).  It's alternating best one ball, best two balls, each day, with the 9th and 18th being ALL THREE BALLS both days.  So there is no room for error on this hole.  The tournament is played from the white tees, which lists this hole as a 461 yard par 5.  Here is an overhead picture of the hole:

Tee is at the bottom just above the left edge of the pond.  8th green is left of that, 1st green is to the right.  The hole plays up the left side, between the driving range and the street labelled as E Sanders Ct.

 

When there is wind, it's usually blowing left to right on this hole, I believe.  Here are some distance numbers for the tee shot....

OB on both sides, although you have a fair amount of room between the two.  What makes the tee shot a bit tricky are the trees along the right side.  If you don't play a fade, then the furthest right you can be, realistically, is in line with the middle of the fairway bunker.  There are a lot of options here.  Driver at the bunker and try to cut it.  Normal driver and accept the result in the bunker or left of it.  3 wood, hybrid, iron.

 

Once that decision is made, then here is what is left for the approach:

OB doesn't really come into play here UNLESS you miss the green long and right.  The back of the green is raised and there is a little hill all around feeding balls down; if you miss the green long and right you risk it kicking into the parking lot.  The trick here is how you negotiate the pond.  The distances are all based on the front edge of the fairway bunker 250 yards from the tee.

 

 

 

 

So ...

 

 

 

How would you play it?

post #2 of 34
As a par 5. Or as a long Par 4 with a badly needed up and down.

Driver towards the bunker, 7i or 6i out of bunker or off the rough near the bunker, then a 60 degree wedge hoping to get close to the pin.

It's short, but like you said, over the green is OB.
post #3 of 34

3w then 5/6i lay up for me, as I dont have the ability to shape the ball at will as I am a novice :D

post #4 of 34

Depends.  Such a short par 5 and I REALLY want to get it out there off the tee and try to get an eagle putt.  But this setup isn't great for my swing right now.  With my swing changes I don't feel confident in a purposeful power fade like I did with my old swing (on good driver days).  If you've got a reliable fade with the driver, I say bombs away.  I think you've got similar distances to me, so if you've got a power-fade in the bag I say bombs away unless your typical miss with that shot is a serious double cross that risks being pulled OB.  If you fade it into the fairway that should leave you something like a 6i in to get on the green for an eagle putt!  And misses with the fade driver aren't too penal.  Straight goes into the bunker.  Over fade probably just in the right rough assuming an over fade gets around the trees on the right.

 

If you don't feel confident in a fade with the driver, I think the play depends on your distances, shot shape, and the wind.  If your stock shot is not much movement or a really baby draw and there's a serious (1.5-2 club?) left to right wind, I might still hit driver at the bunker.  Without a big wind to fade it for you, if I'm right about your distances, a driver's only going in the bunker, long and left, or a crushed one carried over the bunker and in the trees past.  I don't like that set of options.  I hate to say it but in a tournament I think I'd hit my 220-230 tee club (2h for me).  Gets to the wide part of the fairway, won't go past the fairway or into the bunker.  Really hate not going for a shot to get home in 2 on a 461 yard par 5 though!

 

A 225 yard tee shot leaves you probably 220 to the front, 235 to carry the water.  Don't want to flirt with that water on a long shot.  Don't really want to hit a 3w into the back of a green either.  So probably then lay up to the wide part of the fairway in front of the water.  Leave ~60 yards to green center?  Not a horrible chance for a birdie from there.

post #5 of 34
Quote:
Originally Posted by mdl View Post
 

Depends.  Such a short par 5 and I REALLY want to get it out there off the tee and try to get an eagle putt.  But this setup isn't great for my swing right now.  With my swing changes I don't feel confident in a purposeful power fade like I did with my old swing (on good driver days).  If you've got a reliable fade with the driver, I say bombs away.  I think you've got similar distances to me, so if you've got a power-fade in the bag I say bombs away unless your typical miss with that shot is a serious double cross that risks being pulled OB.  If you fade it into the fairway that should leave you something like a 6i in to get on the green for an eagle putt!  And misses with the fade driver aren't too penal.  Straight goes into the bunker.  Over fade probably just in the right rough assuming an over fade gets around the trees on the right.

 

If you don't feel confident in a fade with the driver, I think the play depends on your distances, shot shape, and the wind.  If your stock shot is not much movement or a really baby draw and there's a serious (1.5-2 club?) left to right wind, I might still hit driver at the bunker.  Without a big wind to fade it for you, if I'm right about your distances, a driver's only going in the bunker, long and left, or a crushed one carried over the bunker and in the trees past.  I don't like that set of options.  I hate to say it but in a tournament I think I'd hit my 220-230 tee club (2h for me).  Gets to the wide part of the fairway, won't go past the fairway or into the bunker.  Really hate not going for a shot to get home in 2 on a 461 yard par 5 though!

 

A 225 yard tee shot leaves you probably 220 to the front, 235 to carry the water.  Don't want to flirt with that water on a long shot.  Don't really want to hit a 3w into the back of a green either.  So probably then lay up to the wide part of the fairway in front of the water.  Leave ~60 yards to green center?  Not a horrible chance for a birdie from there.


^^^Ditto.

 

I don't mind risking OB but I'm a lot less likely if the OB is a street and a neighborhood. I'm thinking of a similar tee shot at my cousin's course in Tuscaloosa on a par 4. Even though I can reach the green I never play it that way because of the street and houses.

 

Not worth it to me to go through the headache of hitting a car, some kid on a bicycle, or bouncing off of the road and hitting a house.

 

It's a big reason that Soldiers Creek in south Alabama is my favorite golf course. There isn't a place on the entire course with a highway, street or a populated area in reach. :-D

post #6 of 34

Not sure how I play it there. In CO it's two 7 woods since I have trouble with a reliable fade, my fade miss is left and a long 3w could be trouble . My shape is right to left and I don't miss right much so water is nbd.

post #7 of 34
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by mdl View Post
 

Depends.  Such a short par 5 and I REALLY want to get it out there off the tee and try to get an eagle putt.  But this setup isn't great for my swing right now.  With my swing changes I don't feel confident in a purposeful power fade like I did with my old swing (on good driver days).  If you've got a reliable fade with the driver, I say bombs away.  I think you've got similar distances to me, so if you've got a power-fade in the bag I say bombs away unless your typical miss with that shot is a serious double cross that risks being pulled OB.  If you fade it into the fairway that should leave you something like a 6i in to get on the green for an eagle putt!  And misses with the fade driver aren't too penal.  Straight goes into the bunker.  Over fade probably just in the right rough assuming an over fade gets around the trees on the right.

 

If you don't feel confident in a fade with the driver, I think the play depends on your distances, shot shape, and the wind.  If your stock shot is not much movement or a really baby draw and there's a serious (1.5-2 club?) left to right wind, I might still hit driver at the bunker.  Without a big wind to fade it for you, if I'm right about your distances, a driver's only going in the bunker, long and left, or a crushed one carried over the bunker and in the trees past.  I don't like that set of options.  I hate to say it but in a tournament I think I'd hit my 220-230 tee club (2h for me).  Gets to the wide part of the fairway, won't go past the fairway or into the bunker.  Really hate not going for a shot to get home in 2 on a 461 yard par 5 though!

 

A 225 yard tee shot leaves you probably 220 to the front, 235 to carry the water.  Don't want to flirt with that water on a long shot.  Don't really want to hit a 3w into the back of a green either.  So probably then lay up to the wide part of the fairway in front of the water.  Leave ~60 yards to green center?  Not a horrible chance for a birdie from there.

The best part about creating these threads is that you look at holes differently then you ever have before, and analyze them a lot more than you ever had before.  For example, I've never really considered how much room there is beyond the green until looking closely at these pictures.  Granted, like I mentioned, you don't want to go long and push it, because that is trouble.**

 

** (Click to show)
Side Note:  I don't know for 100% sure if that is OB, because it's on the course property, but it's the parking lot, so I only imagine they would highly discourage you from trying to pitch off asphalt over other members' cars. ;)

 

And it's not the easiest up and down in the world because it's uphill to a green running away from you, but it's definitely a bail-out area that I never previously considered.

 

My current plan is to go 3 wood off the tee to the wide part of the fairway.  If there's no wind and I absolutely pure it, I may reach the bunker, but I think most good shots will come up just shy.  That leaves me with the option of hitting hybrid (or 3 wood again) towards the green keeping in mind that my bailout is left and/or long, or just hitting a 6 iron or so up the left side, leaving myself with a 40-50 yard pitch for my third.

 

Considering that the chance of hitting and holding that green are slim for me from that distance, then it's:  Would I rather have a 40-50 yard pitch to a receptive green I can see, or a 15-25 yard pitch to al elveated green running away from me.  Closer is better, but the risk associated with that closer is too mcuh, I think, so I'm leaning towards 3W - 6I - pitch shot for my current plan.

 

The extra risk of hitting it OB on either side is also the reason why the potential reward of being in the fairway beyond the bunker is outweighed by the risks.

 

Hey, @SCfanatic35 , how about some expert insight? ;)

post #8 of 34
Quote:
Originally Posted by Golfingdad View Post
 

The best part about creating these threads is that you look at holes differently then you ever have before, and analyze them a lot more than you ever had before.  For example, I've never really considered how much room there is beyond the green until looking closely at these pictures.  Granted, like I mentioned, you don't want to go long and push it, because that is trouble.

 

Yeah I didn't mention it in my already too long post, but any reasonable amount over the green doesn't look ultra penal.  Uphill into a downhill green blind pitch shot is tough, but not crazy.  But I still don't like aiming my 3w to land in the back 1/3 of a green.  The chances of the result you want, on the green, seem low.  And I'm much more likely to hit a really big miss either into the trees right or left or even OB with a 3w than anything shorter, and obviously than with the replacement shots, a stock 6i and then a 50-60 yard 60˚!

post #9 of 34
Driver, hybrid, and at worst, a 40 yard pitch and a birdie putt from less than 25 feet unless I did something really dumb.....
post #10 of 34
I need to think about it some more, but it's really tempting to go driver-long iron and have a pretty decent chance at the green in two, especially since I've been fading my driver this year.

Knowing myself, that's probably what I'd end up doing.
post #11 of 34
4 iron aimed at the trap, 5 iron aimed just right of the green side bunker, try to get up and down for birdie from around 50-60 yards.
post #12 of 34
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by tmac20 View Post

4 iron aimed at the trap, 5 iron aimed just right of the green side bunker, try to get up and down for birdie from around 50-60 yards.

I've played it this way too. :)  I wrestled with the philosophy for awhile that it might be better to travel those 410 or so yards with a 4 iron and a 5 iron (or maybe 2 4 irons) instead of a 3 wood and a 6 or 7 iron.

 

I've since changed my mind and decided that playing too "safe" like that puts me in trouble almost just as often as not, AND when it does, it happens much further from the hole.  A hole like this becomes tricky when you put yourself in the trees with a 3 wood at 220, but it becomes even trickier when you shank an iron into the trees at 180 or something.

 

For the record, I've played this hole about a half-dozen times and the first few I played it your way, and the last few I've gone with 3 wood off the tee.  The street has always scared me away from pulling driver.  And of those 6 times, I've made 2 or 3 pars and 3 or 4 bogeys.  Most times it's been because of a pathetic 3rd shot though.  Not a lot to do with strategy, just plain old ****ty execution.

post #13 of 34

This hole is very similar to the 11th hole at my club. Short par 5 but the OB plays a bigger role in the second shot if you are going for it. Seems like less of an issue than at my club. 

 

For me this is easy. Driver. Go for it in 2. This is almost always the best decision. If you drive it in the FW bunker you play for a par. If you drive it in the trees in the right you punch out to 100 yards or so and try to make birdie from there. 

 

The opportunity to make 3 or an easier 4 is always going to be better for you over the long haul.

 

Odds are in favor of hitting driver and going for it in 2. 

post #14 of 34

Being realistic, because I am a shorter hitter, driver toward the bunker then a 5w to just short of the water.  I will be 230 to 240 back for my second shot with only a tiny chance of reacting the water.  If I somehow roll out to the 250 mark off the tee, then maybe I could try a 3W toward the left bunker.

post #15 of 34

Since this is my home course, these are the 2 scenarios I have seen to work the best.

 

Reaching green in 2; is usually accomplished with hitting a draw or fade to the right of the fairway bunker.  Very few ever clear the bunker in the air.  The fade is the safest shot to hit because no trees or OB to worry about.  Draw (high draw will clear the trees lining the right side) brings in OB to the right and if you don't hit it high enough to get over trees par then becomes a great score.  If you can hit it to the ideal spot then 3W or 3H is the usually the choice.  Danger here is there is no run up to the green, you must carry the two tiered pond to reach the green. This shot becomes more scary because of the OB parking lot to the right.  Cars do park directly next to the grass, one of those usually being a yellow corvette.  These guys are more concerned with shading their cars then stray balls smashing into them.  Most golfers of my ability shy away from going for it because of the cars.

 

Reaching green in 3; the safe way is to hit a 3W or short Driver short of the bunker.  Next club is completely golfers choice on approach distance.  Key here is to hit it up the left side of the fairway even a few yards into the first cut is OK.  This way it takes water almost out of play and its possible to run it up or even putt if you are close enough based on 2nd shot.

post #16 of 34

I'd probably be safe hitting a driver right at the bunker.  From there a 5 iron into lob range.

post #17 of 34

My 2 hybrid will get me 225 to the fat part of the fairway then I'll go with the 4h to the other wide part short of the green then let a scoring club from 40-50 yards get you in close to make birdie, the other option will be a power fade drive of 265-275 then either 4h or 5 iron on the green, if I were to miss the drive and get in the fairway bunker I'm fairly confident I should be able to take a 8 or 9 iron and leave no more than 100-120 in to the green.

post #18 of 34

  Its hard to say what I would do without seeing a view standing on the tee box looking down the fairway.  I also hate laying up on 460ish par 5's (and I play a few of these).  Having said that the water makes all of these decisions pretty easy for me.  Since I am not good at getting up and down from water I would play my 3H off the Tee to the 220/225 range.  Then I would lay up short and left of the pond leaving a short wedge 3rd to the green.  Should be a fairly straight forward par with a chance at birdie.... 

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