RENEW YOUR LOVE OF THE GAME
A GOLFER’S DREAM COURSE
This fairway is a good introduction to the golf course, big and sloping. High handicappers will find relief in the massive amounts of room to the right off the tee. This same space will have more accomplished players kicking themselves for trying to cut too much off the corner. For those with the inclination and ability, it is tempting to bomb it over everything down the left side, but a word to the wise: left of the fairways will result in a very disappointing start to the round.
Keep the tee shot left here, and let the slope take it back to the right. Long hitters particularly should avoid cutting it too far around the corner of the trees. A hard first bounce to the right and you'll quickly run out off room. A line just left of the second bunker will allow you well over 300 yards to the end of the fairway. From there, note the crown in the fairway for your next shot. It will determine the angle for your third into this difficult green. A shot just right of center will kick down around the bunker nicely, leaving a short pitch straight into the green.
This green slopes from left to right and is pretty severe. It is big, but shots left of the hold will require a more delicate touch putting downhill. Do your best to keep the ball below the hole here, the right third of the green being the flattest. Missing the green short may not be as bad as it looks, while recovering from hole-high left, whether in the bunker or not, is a very dicey up and down.
With a ridge running from front to back through the left third of the green, placement of tee shot is key to being able to attack the flag. Approach shots coming across the ridge from either direction will have to be meticulously played. Down wind, this hole will be tricky. Try a low runner toward the heart of the green and watch it drift to a flag tucked behind the bunker.
Take note of the hole location here and utilize this wide fairway. If the hole is cut left, go right off the tee. If it's behind the right bunker, favor the left side of the fairway. Following this game plan will allow the best access to extreme hole locations. A play to the middle of the green will leave you an uphill putt to a hole cut behind either bunker.
When the wind is up, this hole can be brutal. It plays a little longer than it looks as the green is deceptively deep. Keep this in mind because a tee shot that rolls beyond the green will leave you with a simple uphill chip to save par.
Mid to high handicappers should give the fairway bunkers a wide berth and let the slope carry the ball back to the middle of the fairway. Long hitters have at it, but be warned; a mistake into the left corner of the second bunker will cost you. The green sits at a right to left angle in a bowl behind the greenside bunker. A running approach just inside the bunker can be worked all the way around to a back left pin. Hole high in the fairway to the right is worse than it looks.
Don't let the ridge full of bunkers scare you. It's not a difficult carry if you so choose and there's a lot of fairway short and right of it. Many miss-hits will wind up in a great spot; just tell your friends you played it that way. The bunker in the fairway keeps long hitters honest, making them choose a left or right line. The green is what you need to worry about. It's Staley Farms' largest and probably most severe. The hole is short, you'll often have less than 100 yds for approach. If your wedge game has gone south, you might find this short pitch with no water, bunkers or rough in the front one of the most disturbing in golf. On the flip side, this shot can be played with any club in the bag. Try them all, you'll be amazed at how much fun a 60 yard two-putt can be!
Long hitters will have a good chance of reaching the green in two, but will have to challenge the first bunker on the left for a good angle in. Those playing it as a three-shotter needn't flirt with this bunker off the tee, but try to get your second as far left as you dare. Even if that means laying up short of the second bunker. The further right your second is, the less your chances of holding this small, right to left-sloping green.
Ten is the start of a tough stretch of holes. All the more reason for an average player to steer clear of the severely bunkered slope, and give your short game a chance to bail you out. Miss left and you could pile up a large number. The right half of the green sits in a bowl, and threes should be common when the hole is cut there. The left half slopes to the back left, and low handicappers can use this slope to get to left hole locations, mitigating the risk of carrying over the bunkers. Should you lose your nerve at the last second, and leak it a little right, you'll be down in the bowl facing a troublesome 2 putt.
Playing from ridge to ridge, this is the most severe fairway at Staley Farms. The fairway widens going into the landing area so focus on hitting this tee shot solid. A short right tee shot leaves the most difficult second. Better players should try to position their tee shots in the left half of the fairway leaving a reasonable chance of making 3. The green is perched on a ledge that brings added meaning to the word hazard. The long bunker on this hole is a good 5 yds from the green, but with the whole area sloping left, any approach shot between it and the green will do nicely.
The last and maybe most difficult of the par 3's, a deep swale running in the front of this green demands those choosing an aerial attack to be precise with their yardage and stop the ball on this green with a long iron, or fairway wood. A low running shot played at the right corner of the green is an excellent alternative. Land it 20-45 yds from the front edge and you'll catch the down slope of the swale. Accelerating and working its way left, your ball will vanish momentarily only to reappear as it climbs on the green. The steep back corner of the green will take the heat off of well struck running shots and return them towards the middle of the green. Successfully negotiate this difficult green and move on with a hard earned 3.
While advances in equipment technology take their toll on many of the great par 5's in golf, 13 is a true three-shotter. A stand of hackberry trees divide this fairway, and those playing from the back trees must decide whether or not to take the aggressive line to the right. For the young lions, this is their only chance to have a go at the green in 2, and should they succeed, become a member of what will be a very elite club. Clip the trees on the right and they may not get home in 3. Uphill into a strong southwest wind the right side may be everyone's only hope to reach the green in regulation. Take the long way around most days and you will not only have more room in the fairway, but the longer journey along the small creek will make clear just how dramatic and memorable the subtleties of nature can be.
This short par 4 could be your chance to get one back. But if you get sloppy this hole will sting you. In favorable conditions, long hitters may drive this green with a laser shot between the bunker and the creek or a heroic carry over the corner of the bunker. The more prudent play, short of the cross bunker, can also offer a couple of different options. A mid or long iron can be carried over the corner of the creek, or banked off the slope in the middle of the fairway, both resulting in a short pitch into the heart of the green. Being on the green in two is the easy part. Negotiating the contours throughout this huge green will put not only putting, but your navigational skills to the test.
Dropping some 65 feet from tee to green, this hole plays shorter than the yardage might indicate. The size of the fairway bunker also makes the tee shot deceptive. The carry is not as easy as it looks. A well struck drive that skirts the left corner of the bunker, will catch a down slope and tumble down to a spot from which the temptation to go for the green will be too much to resist, water be damned. But consider yourself warned. This carry too, is not as easy as it looks.
Even though this hole doglegs left, the further right your tee shot is in the fairway, the better. You will have more depth to work with to a front or right pin, and the bunker front left will be less imposing. Along with being uphill, a substantial false front makes hitting enough club crucial. The green is very deep when approached from the right side, but missing short or short right is trouble.
A tee shot in the left half of this fairway is ideal. Getting there should not be too tall of an order. There is ample room between the right bunker and the left edge, but be careful, at the base of the slope from the left edge of the fairway a small creek establishes itself and meanders down past the right side of the green. The bunker in the right side of the fairway, despite it's size, is a near impossible place from which to reach the green. A long hitter can carry this bunker downhill and down wind, essentially widening the fairway with the possibility of an enormous drive, but allow enough room for your ball to drift left once it hits the ground. From the fairway, those who wish not to flirt with the creek or when playing to the upper left hole location, should consider a running approach played into the slope in the left corner of the green.
The premise here is simple, the closer the tee shot is to the fairway bunker, the better. Playing short of it is a particularly good idea, if sacrificing a little yardage isn't too objectionable. Power hitters seem to find this notion hard to swallow. Particularly when there is tons of room to the left. Many of today's finest players employ this strategy and rely on outstanding wedge play to bail them out. However, for less skilled players with power, this mentality is often exposed as an Achilles Heel. In this case it may often result in impressive display of that power as they mightily rid the deep greenside bunker of sand while attempting to do the same with their ball.
*Special thanks to Bench Craft Company for the course maps
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