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How Would You Play It (16 at Saddleback Golf Course in Firestone)


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And, more importantly, and for some perspective, consider this: The target is 35 yards wide, and it appears to be about 35 yards long as well (including the bunkers).  Number 17 at TPC Sawgrass has a target that is 30 yards wide by 30 yards long.  So you guys are confident that you can hit a target from 215-220 yards that is only 15 feet bigger in each direction than a target that the pros struggle with occasionally from 130 yards?? Just something to think about ...

The problem is I'm not particularly confident I can hit a layup and then an approach shot safely either.

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-I would hit tee shot to the fairway with hybrid. -Second shot with iron or wedge (hopefully course allows rangefinder lol) -I will aim for birdie. Failing that either par or bogey. -in my second shot with iron or wedge from fairway - aim for back of the green. -if ball rolls to back bunker no problem at lest it wont roll into water...
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I've played 17 at Sawgrass several times.   It's a HUGE target, but regardless, the overall target here is much bigger than that with the bunkers front to back.  Maybe I'd feel differently seeing it in person, but yeah, this is just a relatively long, tough par 3.  Not even horribly long at that elevation.  Dumping it in the front bunker shouldn't be too tough.  Even dunking the first shot, you'd be hard pressed to make worse than double and might still save par.

Match play vs stroke play might make a difference too depending on the specific circumstances.

Not really, I was including the bunkers in that estimation.  Consider that anything that misses the green and bunkers is in the water due to the slopes, according to the OP.  Of course, I have to stipulate that hitting the slopes counts towards my idea that you can still make par because you can likely drop all the way up by the green.

And I get that Sawgrass is a big target, but it's 90 yards closer than this one yet still has several pros missing it every year.  That means something.

The problem is I'm not particularly confident I can hit a layup and then an approach shot safely either.

True, but with a layup, assuming you choose something that will clear that hazard on the right, you have a bailout area.  You don't have an "unmissable" target.  And the OP said the rough is pretty much non-existent, so there is a good chance you'll have a decent lie anywhere over there.  (Unless you get behind one of those silly little trees. ;))

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To answer the drop zone question, this hole does have a drop zone right where the fairway starts, should you hit it into the hazard on the way to the green. The slopes on the left side of the hole are more severe than those on the right, since if you miss on the right you still have a chance of catching the bunker or going past the little finger of water if the ball has enough momentum (it flattens out as soon as you're to the right side of the bunker). The main issue isn't that a ball will roll into the water on those slopes, but that they will kick into the lake if it lands on them (with the right side giving you a chance of being lucky). Sorry for not making that more clear. As an interesting aside, I did once see someone hook it onto the island green (cut off in my picture) to the left of the green there. It's the green for hole number four (which is very similar to 17 at sawgrass minus the sheer faces and being 185 yards from the back tees, not fun) and he had to go past the 16th green, walk across a footbridge that crosses a creek, then go up to the green with his wedge to hit it onto the other green. Everyone in his group was laughing the whole time he was walking since it took a while.
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True, but with a layup, assuming you choose something that will clear that hazard on the right, you have a bailout area.  You don't have an "unmissable" target.  And the OP said the rough is pretty much non-existent, so there is a good chance you'll have a decent lie anywhere over there.  (Unless you get behind one of those silly little trees. ;))

Sure, but then you still have another shot over water without much of a margin for error. I think I would be going for the green. At that altitude it's probably a long iron, which is the same club I would be hitting for a layup (to a target that's barely any bigger) anyway.

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Depending on wind, 5W to Driver for me with this elevation.  I want enough club to clear the water to the right of the green and go long.  If my long game is off, aim long and right.

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Honestly, I think I have become more of a risky player. That being said I would probably whip out my 4 iron and just go for gold towards the green..or use my 5 iron and aim dead on at the bike path to get an easier lay-up shot. If I get a bunker with the 4, I think that would be fine... its straight water for 200+ yards, so the bunker really becomes the least of my worries.

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If going for the green in 2 then I see no real advantage to taking a long iron of the tee. It only introduces more trouble. It'd seems like only a 9i if you play to the start of the fairway (or short) for tee shot and then maybe a wedge over water to the green. As long as you've got the distance correct both shots offer plenty of margin for error right & left. But I'd be taking out the hybrid I'm afraid :)
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Using a long iron aiming to the right doesn't seem like that bad of an idea. It takes most of the water and bunkers out of the equation. The red hazard shouldn't be a problem either.

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Go for it, both of you. I'd be very interested in seeing those holes, and I suppose this thread could be similar to what you described since the title is non-specific. I might be able to edit the original post to make it clear that this thread could be used that way.

As to the hole I posted, the two most successful strategies I've seen are hitting it past the hazard on the right, where the fairway widens up, or going for the green while attempting to at least hit a bunker. The back left bunker though is tougher than it looks, since a good portion of that bunker slopes towards to the green, while the green slopes from back to front. My personal strategy is to always take enough club to get to the front of the green, the go for it. If I hit it well it lands on the front and stays on the green, if I mis-hit it slightly I'm left with an easy bunker shot to a green that slopes towards me.


OK here's one that takes a similar shot. 215 to 220 yards depending on the tee markers. Room to miss left but a lot of slope to deal with both on the green and surrounding it. Green slopes pretty severely both to the right toward the water and toward the back toward the water. Green is 11 yards deep. Most misses are short water (from people that think they hit irons farther than they do) and long water (many times after hitting the green but bouncing over).

P.S. We all go for it and sometimes we win and sometimes we lose big time. Should be a par 3 but the green is just too shallow and sloping to be a legitimate par 3.

(But you better make at least a 3 or you will lose a stroke or 2 to whoever is leading after that hole).

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OK here's one that takes a similar shot. 215 to 220 yards depending on the tee markers. Room to miss left but a lot of slope to deal with both on the green and surrounding it. Green slopes pretty severely both to the right toward the water and toward the back toward the water. Green is 11 yards deep. Most misses are short water (from people that think they hit irons farther than they do) and long water (many times after hitting the green but bouncing over).

P.S. We all go for it and sometimes we win and sometimes we lose big time. Should be a par 3 but the green is just too shallow and sloping to be a legitimate par 3.

(But you better make at least a 3 or you will lose a stroke or 2 to whoever is leading after that hole).

Sure, all you need is a 210 yard PW, easy. :-$

Seriously, this hole looks hard. Do most people hit a high hybrid and hope it doesn't hop into the water?

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Sure, all you need is a 210 yard PW, easy.

Seriously, this hole looks hard. Do most people hit a high hybrid and hope it doesn't hop into the water?


I see everything from drivers to 5 irons. Just whatever people think is their 215 to 220 club. Like a lot of holes at that course it's too easy for the best of players and too hard for the worst of players.

The safe play is to aim just right of where the cart path circles back, and hope you have pretty good short game skills because it's no easy pitch shot with the green 40 feet below you and sloping away to the water.

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I see everything from drivers to 5 irons. Just whatever people think is their 215 to 220 club. Like a lot of holes at that course it's too easy for the best of players and too hard for the worst of players.

I think you need to hit left and end up in the hilly terraced area to which you were referring.

BTW, you should make another thread with more holes of this type. It would be fun to see more holes like this.

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Sure, but then you still have another shot over water without much of a margin for error.

I think I would be going for the green. At that altitude it's probably a long iron, which is the same club I would be hitting for a layup (to a target that's barely any bigger) anyway.

All true.  And since ...

... this hole does have a drop zone right where the fairway starts...

and that looks like it would leave about a 90-100 yard wedge shot (and a successful layup will leave anything from 60-90 or so), I'm going to go ahead and go for the green as well.

If it wasn't for that stupid little isthmus between the green and fairway this hole would be so easy. ;)

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If it wasn't for that stupid little isthmus between the green and fairway this hole would be so easy. ;)

Isthmuses are land. I think you mean the little bit of water right?

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I have played it a few times, Saddleback is just down the road from me. What he didn't mention is it is almost always breezy there. My current home course and former home course are in the same relative area north of Denver and even on nice summer days there will be a little wind. I've gone for it and never stuck it on the green even if the ball lands on it. Miss the bunkers and it's gone. This hole plays slow on weekends because of guys trying to go for it and failing and when I am there most miss it short. Thing is IMO it's a good birdie hole if you don't go for it. The rest of the course is somewhat benign so a lot of guys do go for it thinking they won't blow up their round if they fail.

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