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Game Plan - Sahalee

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phillyk

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Warning- This is a long post!

As my last blog post stated, my game plan / course management for Oakbrook did not exist, so I'm going to do a little brain storming for Sahalee.  There are 3 different 9's, North, East, and South.  I don't know which nines are played each day, so I'll do all three, and I'm not 100% sure of the tee set, so I'm going to do the blue tee boxes.  I very highly doubt they'll play the tips, and I think it'll be a mix of white and blue tee boxes, but better to plan for a longer course thus leaving the blues.  All hole descriptions are from their website description and pictures.  They have a good course tour, website is www.sahalee.com

I have two game plans.  1) the attack one - to get between 75 and 130 out from the green which is my wedge / go zone or 2) more safe plays - to get less than 170 out, unless a dogleg makes me have a longer shot out.

North Course - 3377yds, 73.4/138
1) 397 - slight dogleg left, water surrounds green and 2 greenside bunkers; fairway opens more at 235yds; approach shot is slightly downhill
             1a) This is a prime 3W tee shot.  Its my old trusty club that I know can hit the fairway with.  I only expect 250 out of it on the first tee.  If 235 is accurate for where it opens up, I should have no problems.  This will leave me with no more than a 9iron into the green.

2) 538 - dogleg left, unclear how wide fairway is, but seems normal width for the course; 2 bunkers near green; green has a semicircle shelf on the back; there's a tree is the center of the fairway within 100yds of the green, which helps protect from getting on in two
             2a) I'm a little torn on this one.  I want to use a driver, but I don't hit the draw comfortably at the moment, so it might be just the 3W off the tee.  I'd like to be able to hit the green in two, but that tree doesn't look friendly, so it it should be fine just to play this one safe.

3) 429 - slight dogleg right, but mostly straight with 2 fairway bunkers at 260yds; tree just past bunker on right blocks approaches from right side and tree on left 100yds out from green blocks shots that go left; 2 bunkers just off front of the green
              3a) This is a good hole for my driver, my typical miss is a fade anyway. So I'm thinking just try to hit a straight shot or slight cut, and I should be fine.  This should leave me with no more than a 9iron into the green.  If I use 3W, it can also bring in the bunkers, but it also might not have enough to give me a clear shot at the green, so driver is the right play.

4) 169 - green slopes front to back; bunkers front left and right, and one off back
            4a) Depends on exact yardage, but it'll be between a 7-9iron

5) 370 - sharp dogleg left; landing area surrounded by four bunkers at 225yds; approach is protected by a tree short and right of the green
            5a) Depending on how wet the course is, it'll be either a 4iron or 3 driving iron off tee.  I need to make sure I have a look at the green after tee shot.  Another option is to hit 3W and hit over the bunkers with my normal shot, but I'll just have to make sure I know the carry and how far to go through the fairway.  Green looks accessible, so if my 3W has been hit well thus far, I may just go with that to try and give myself a good birdie opportunity.  If I'm unsure about it, it'll be the driving iron.

6) 396 - straight hole, but fairway narrows from trees at 265 from tee; elevated green guarded by two bunkers
            6a) Driver is too risky, 3W seems optimal here.  Just leave it short of the narrow point, and hopefully not be blocked by any trees for the approach, secondary option is driving iron which would still leave me with about 170 to the green.  Pretty straight forward hole I think.

7) 372 - dogleg right, fairway bunker at corner on right side; big fir tree blocks right side of fairway; green is two-tiered guarded by two front bunkers.
           7a) It's unclear how long it is to the end of the dogleg (I'll look it up on google earth later) but just based on yardage, I could use my driving iron or 4 iron.  Key here is to make sure I'm past the tree on the right, because it blocks any approach.  3W is a possibility if I'm sure of hitting a good cut, but I really don't want to hit through the fairway.

8) 173 - elevated tee box, water right, bunkers left and in back
            8a) Once again between a 7-9iron

9) 533 - dogleg left, uphill; landing area has bunker on left; fairway narrows from two large trees near the green; green is two-tiered and 120ft long with three bunkers
           9a) driver seems good here; a miss right doesn't look like it will hurt; Only tricky part seems to be the trees near the green that can block an approach, but otherwise looks like a good birdie hole.

 

East Course - 3377 73.4/138
1) 522 - Double dogleg, first to the right; 2 bunkers corner the fairway of the first dogleg beginning at 210 off the tee; second shot is downhill, optimal shot to the right of the fir tree guarding the left side; a lake begins at 100yds from the green on the left; green is very severely sloped
            1a) Tough starting hole to the east nine. Looks to be a driving iron off the tee and stay left of the bunkers, or I can hit a 3W cut over the bunkers, but I don't know that there is a huge advantage to that since I wouldn't get on in two anyway.  Just need a couple of well hit irons to get on the green.

2) 410 - straight hole, bunker on right side of landing zone at 240 from tee; large mound in front of green surrounded by 3 bunkers
            2a) A 3W looks optimal here unless I'm feeling good about the driver.   A 3W brings that trap into play and I also don't want to be on left side of fairway, because it'll be blocked by trees for the approach.  A driver can get past the bunker but brings that clump of trees on the left into play off the tee.  A driving iron wouldn't be too much fun here, so I'll most likely stick with the 3W.

3) 396 - dogleg to the right, bending at 225 from tee; downhill approach to green surrounded by 3 bunkers
           3a) Any shot right is doomed to fail and a drive too far will catch trees, so the optimal shot is a bending 3W or a driving iron in hope that I hit it far enough to have a shot at the green.  But I'm confident my 3W will be a good choice here. Driver is too much club for this hole. 

4) 186 - uphill to a two-tiered green, bunkers left and right of green
           4a) Between 5-7irons off the tee.

5) 514 - dogleg left; tee shot on right side will allow an attempt to get on in two; a bunker guards approach short and right; two more bunkers guard left and right of the green
           5a) Fir trees stick out on corner of dogleg on the left side, so I have to hit a driver down the right side.  I think a driver is a good club for this tee shot.  There isn't a ton of trouble on the hole, and even if I go left side of fairway, I can still get on in regulation.  A 3W would be fine, but it'll be a lot harder to get on in two if I wanted.

6) 400 - straight hole with a bunker on left side of landing zone; green guarded by bunkers left and right
           6a) 3W or Driver depending on how the clubs are behaving.  No real trouble except for the trap, which I'm not completely sure how far it is to clear.  So this hole is certainly a birdie opportunity with a good tee shot.

7) 382 - sharp dogleg right; corner begins at 225 from the tee with two bunkers guarding the corner; mounds on front and right side of green make for severely breaking putts
           7a) A driving iron should be fine here.  A 3W could be too much, but I'm not sure how long it is to the end of the fairway. I just have to be careful of the bunkers right, otherwise this hole is straight forward.

8) 177 - slightly uphill with three bunkers around the green; green is two-tiered
           8a) Between a 6-8iron looks good here.  Won't see the ball land, so seems like a good hole for a hole in one.

9) 405 - dogleg left with bunker on right side at corner 250 from tee box; approach is guarded by trees and two bunkers on front of green; mound on middle right of green makes for challenging putts.
           9a) Tough choice between the 3W and driving iron.  It will depend on the exact yardage to the bunker.  With a tree at the left edge of the corner, a very specific yardage is needed off the tee to have an attempt at the green.

 

South Course - 3377yds 73.4/138 (this hasn't changed from the other nine's so IDK what it is)
1) 397 - demands an accurate drive because of trees blocking right side and a bunker guarding left side at 250 from tee; green guarded by two front bunkers; mounds center left and back right on green
           1a) A 3W should land around the distance of that bunker, so a driving iron may have to be the play here.  I don't want to flirt with the bunker or right side so driver is also out.  I'll still have a mid iron into the green so it should be fine

2) 501 - dogleg left framed by trees left and right; approach guarded by a lake on the right side
            2a) I don't know the distance to the end of the fairway if hit straight, so this will either be a driver or 3W.  I'd like to hit the driver to give myself a good chance to attack the green in two.  But we'll see depending on that distance, either way, this should be an easy birdie hole.

3) 402 - slightly uphill bender to the right with fir trees guarding both sides of fairway; a tree 80 out from green guards left side of fairway
            3a) Lots of room on this tee shot, so 3W or driver is fine here.  I just want to give myself a good approach shot

4) 382 - straight hole; a tree sits on the right side of the fairway 225 out with a bunker just behind it; two-tiered green surrounded by three bunkers
            4a) Driving iron looks to be the optimal play here.  Hopefully I keep it to the left of that tree, but not too far left to be in the trees left of the fairway. 4 iron might work as well to stay short of that big tree but that'll leave me a little too far out for comfort.  I don't know that I want to hit 3W or driver in fear of hitting that tree and being completely blocked.

5) 175 - water front right and 3 bunkers surrounding the green
           5a) either a 7 or 8 iron will be good here

6) 510 - three bunkers down right side at landing zone and one left; drive should favor left side as a tree sits 175 out from green on right side
           6a) Its unclear how far the bunkers are, but it'll be worth the risk to hit driver here.  If I hit the fairway, I'll have a good opportunity to get on in two.  If I am in the bunker, it should be an easy out and still get on in regulation.

7) 405 - straight and slightly downhill; trees on right at 150 and again 275 from tee; three bunkers surround green
           7a) A 3W looks good here just to make sure I'm in the fairway or close to.  A driver can work as well so long as I feel good about it.  But looks like another straight forward hole.

8) 424 - dogleg right with trees right and three bunkers guarding the left side of the corner; fairway slops to the left; two bunkers guard the front of the green
           8a) Hmmm, interesting hole.  A driver will be optimal here and just hit a cut around the corner, or I can go with the 3W and hit short of the bunkers leaving a longer approach shot.  Once again, it'll come down to how I'm hitting those clubs that day.

9) 181 - lake left with a bunker just off the green left, bunker also short right; back drops off severely
          9a) Between a 6-8 iron off the tee

 

Conclusion 
Whereas most courses are known for challenging greens and approach shots, this course looks to make the challenge off the tee.  Very specific shots are needed on many holes, otherwise you're left with almost impossible approaches.  This cuts out how aggressive I can afford to be, so my game plan mostly consists of being safe and making sure I can see the green with my approach shot.  The par 5's are all really short, which hopefully means I will have good birdie opportunities there.  The par 3's aren't overly long, just some mid irons which should be fine.  The par 4's are all across the board.  Some easier than others.  So long as I can hit my tee shots properly, I should be in good shape to score well. 


Practice 
Obviously my practice will favor my longer clubs over the next week before the championship.

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