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billchao

How Would You Play This Hole (#5, Links at Firestone Farms)

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  1. 1. Assuming you can carry your driver at least 265yd, with a severe headwind, how would you play this hole to shoot the lowest score on average?



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This hole came up in our round yesterday with various TST members (@iacas, @klineka, @Hardspoon, @CarlSpackler, @Braivo, @Divot Master). My group was with @iacas, @klineka, and myself who played from the Burgundy tees, with @Hardspoon playing from the Black tees. I deviated from the other two who played from the Burgundy tees in approaching this hole, so Erik and I had a brief chat about this possibly being interesting to post as a "How Would You Play" discussion.

The hole is 284yd on the scorecard and it played with a severe wind blowing slightly left to right, but pretty much directly at us. The tee is slightly higher than the level of the green.

I want to know how you would play this hole given the conditions, but I'm also going to add a poll because I want to see how you guys would approach this hole if you can reach the green from the tee.

Overview.png

Scorecard measurement is close enough. The course was backed up enough that we were able to stand on the tee and discuss what we would do (remember, significant headwind).

Tee to Green.png

The hole from tee to green is shorter as the crow flies.

Layup.png

The front edge of the left bunker is 225yd. The front left corner of the right bunker is 195yd. The fairway is about 30-35yd wide.

Approach.png

Here is what's left from between the two bunkers.

So how would you play it, based on your game, and how would you play it if you could reach the green, keeping in mind the severe wind?

Shades of Grey:

Shades of Grey.png

Sorry it's a bit crude. My paint skills are nonexistent.

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I voted go for the green yet I know I can’t get there. The bunker doesn’t bother me so I’d play my draw off the tee and swing outta my shoes.

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I'm happy with my decision.

The thing about a good headwind is that any curve on a driver will be doubled or tripled, effectively making a Shot Zone increase in width quite a bit.

I'd love to see @billchao draw the shades of grey on this hole, even adding in a distance gradient out to 80 yards or so for the approach shot if you lay up.

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I've played Firestone Farms many times. Played it just last week, in fact. I always play to the elbow of the dogleg, which leaves you a short wedge to the green. Even if you can reach from the tee, that green runs away from you a bit. If you wind up in the swamp behind the green, you're done for. 

Here's my capsule description of Firestone Farms.The front nine is pretty much played through a housing development, with breaks here and there. The back nine is like playing through a nature preserve. 

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I would lay up given the scenario you laid out. I have the length currently to reach with no head wind, but into a severe headwind no chance so might as well take the bunkers out of play. Depending on how severe the headwind is might hit anything from a 3w to 5i to accomplish that. 

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Has anyone noticed that this hole is almost a mirror image of no. 5 at Whispering Woods?  I would play up the right half of the fairway with a slight fade and hope to roll up near the front edge of the green. It is 250 yards to carry the trap from the black tee, which is my absolute best drive, so I would not aim over the trap unless there was a big tailwind.

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17 minutes ago, Divot Master said:

Has anyone noticed that this hole is almost a mirror image of no. 5 at Whispering Woods?  I would play up the right half of the fairway with a slight fade and hope to roll up near the front edge of the green. It is 250 yards to carry the trap from the black tee, which is my absolute best drive, so I would not aim over the trap unless there was a big tailwind.

Yeah, kinda. A bit more trouble at WW, and you can't see everything as clearly. It's not downhill.

But otherwise, yeah, almost the same in reverse.

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1 hour ago, iacas said:

I'd love to see @billchao draw the shades of grey on this hole, even adding in a distance gradient out to 80 yards or so for the approach shot if you lay up.

I added it. That look about right?

I don't even know how to answer my own poll... how I should play it and how I did play it are two different things. :-P

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1 hour ago, billchao said:

So how would you play it, based on your game,

Here is how I played it.

image.png

1 hour ago, billchao said:

how would you play it if you could reach the green, keeping in mind the severe wind?

There is serious junk to the right of the green. The bunker is not dead, so I felt comfortable with my driver in that wind. I wouldn't play any club that could reach the the front of the green.

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This hole suits my game well. My natural ball flight, as some here know, is a slight fade, which would be absolutely perfect for this hole. I would just close my stance and swing extra hard. I’m just not the layup type, under two conditions: 1) I can get to the green, and 2) There’s no really terrible miss.

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12 minutes ago, David in FL said:

The only way I can carry a driver 265 into a severe headwind is in my bag!   :8)

How would you play it if the tees were up where you could reach?

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265 would be a sightly short drive for me in no wind but you had plenty, and there is not much punishment for going too long anyway.  I like my odds of NOT hitting the ball in Bill's black zone on the right since I do not really fade my drives.  My miss is a pull or if it's really bad, a pull hook. The giant sand trap is made to catch fools like myself, but I am fine with that too.  Still, there is no way I am counting on hitting a landing zone the size of that green.

I do not know if this is the smartest play, but I would split the difference in a scenario like this...

Driver pointed between the last bunker and the left edge of the green every time until I learn my lesson.

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36 minutes ago, CarlSpackler said:

How would you play it if the tees were up where you could reach?

Like you.

Bang it down the left side and hit a little pitch in.  No eagles, but a bunch of very good looks at birdie.

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1 hour ago, billchao said:

I added it. That look about right?

I don't even know how to answer my own poll... how I should play it and how I did play it are two different things. :-P

Yeah, not too bad.

1 hour ago, dagolfer18 said:

and 2) There’s no really terrible miss.

There is some terrible stuff around the green. Your Shot Zone with the driver is going to be significantly larger than the green itself.

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I hit a low knockdown/punch 3 iron aimed in between the two bunkers on the left. Playing it again in those conditions, I would do the same thing. Since I'm taking a bit off of the 3 iron and it was pretty into the wind, the back bunker wasn't reachable, and I almost never draw or hook with the 3 iron so not worried about the left bunker either.

It had a bit more fade than I wanted but I hit it fairly solid and it ended up roughly around the red dot below, which left me with a 40 yd pitch for my second shot. 

I think it landed roughly between the yellow line and the right rough and had some fade spin and caught the downslope that starts just up and to the right of the yellow line, you can kinda see where the mowing pattern changes.

image.png

1 hour ago, dagolfer18 said:

This hole suits my game well. My natural ball flight, as some here know, is a slight fade, which would be absolutely perfect for this hole. I would just close my stance and swing extra hard. I’m just not the layup type, under two conditions: 1) I can get to the green, and 2) There’s no really terrible miss.

Can you consistently carry your driver at least 260+ ?

Just a month ago in your blog you said you were working on eliminating the slice but it still haunts you every so often, seems like a lot of risk for you to take on considering the area just a couple steps right of the green is most likely going to be a lost ball, two weeks ago you said you only hit 2 out of every 10 bunker shots well, and the fact that the wind was into and off the left which would make any fade/slice move even further right.

Why not just hit a long iron/hybrid or 3 wood out there in the 220-240 range and have a short wedge/pitch shot left? 

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I'd hit a knockdown with a 5W off the tee and pitch it up with a wedge. Good looks at birdie. At worst a par. Going for it might net an occasional eagle but also could end up in bogeyville. 

But let's be real. I have no idea what my carry with clubs with a 265 carry would be. Using my current distances, I'd hit a low 3W off the tee and a wedge shot or depending upon where my tee shot ended up I might run it up given the wind and all.

Edited by DrvFrShow

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From those tees, a driver is a layup for me. If I were playing more forward tees, I would probably still layup. No need to bring big numbers into the picture on this one.

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