Playing in a golf tournament offers many opportunities to gain strokes on the field. These scoring opportunities can happen at any time on the golf course, but there are certain holes where shooting a good (or poor) score makes more of a difference to the leaderboard. Over the years, I benefited from great shots and gained up to 2 strokes on the field on one hole; it was all a matter of timing.
On every golf course, there are holes that afford every golfer the opportunity to gain strokes; these are usually difficult holes where most players struggle to make a par. On these holes, the drive is generally the critical factor to a low golf score. I realize we try to hit the perfect shot every time, but every now and again, our intent pokes through and we actually hit a perfect shot.
At my home course of Osprey Links, there are several holes that offer every player the chance to move up the leaderboard. Of these, I believe that number 17 is the most difficult (especially from the tips) and a par or birdie gains strokes on 3/4 of the field.
From the blues, this hole plays 200 yards over the water. There is usually a strong breeze from left to right. It is OB over the back and bunkers on the left and right of the green. As you can see the water and false front add to the difficulty of this hole. The green is narrowish from front to back with a mound at the crest of the two tiered green.
During normal conditions, this a natural 4-iron to the front section of the green and a 3 hybrid to the back. The blue tees are elevated about 50 feet above the surface of the green no matter what you think, this is a very difficult shot. The number of variables on each tee shot are uncountable. The 17th hole from the blue tees is the most difficult shot at Osprey Links.
Having described this shot, I can say that it is also one of my favorites. I enjoy the challenge of trying to gain strokes on the field and although I do not birdie this hole often, a par is relatively routine. I do not get fancy; I play to the center of the front or back of the green depending on pin location. Once on the green, I let my putter go to work.
During one tournament a few years back, the scores on this hole ranged from 2 (birdie) to an 11 (an other). The 11 resulted in 3 balls in the water (after going to the drop area), 2 bunker shots, and a 4 putt. The person could not hit a good shot and became flustered after each attempt. This hole is very intimidating and can lose you the golf tournament if not careful.
Conversely, Osprey Links has holes that if you do not shoot par or birdie, you lose strokes to the field; I would suggest all the par 5s and several of the par 4s. These, in my opinion, are considered easy holes and shooting greater than a par is bad for your score. One point of caution I learned over the years, I need to concentrate as much on the easy holes and the difficult ones; if I don’t bad things can happen.
Paying attention on the golf course is very important. There are opportunities to gain strokes on the field during every tournament. The trick is to be patient and take advantage of the rare chances as they arise. Have you ever gained strokes on the field in a golf tournament?
I am a grateful golfer! See you on the links!