Every golfer loves to start their round on a hole of a specific par. Some prefer a wide open tee shot or a short approach into the green. Regardless of your preference, there is a course out there that suits your desires. I have two stories about wonderful courses that offer unique challenges to my game. I loved playing both the courses, but to score well, I had get past the first hole in order to have a chance at shooting a low golf score.
The first course is Roundel Glen in Trenton. I loved playing there for three years, but the starting holes on both nines were tough par 3 holes. I hated starting on either nine because both par 3s were long and challenging. I always knew that if I started with par or less (which happened only half the time) I would have a great chance at scoring low.
What made 200 yard par 3 even more challenging than the two tiered green, was the sand trap protecting three quarters of the left side of the green. And this was the easier of the two par 3 starting holes.
The first hole was modified over the 3 years that I played at Roundel Glen. It started out as 205 par 3 hole that was really nothing special, to a 150 yard terror. The green was elevated, postage stamp sized and hard as rock. It was protected on both sides of front by pot bunkers. If you missed left or right you were in the cabbage and long was worse. If you did not hit the middle of the green on your tee shot, life became very challenging.
I am not a fan of par 3 starting holes. I find them too challenging for my game and it sets my mental attitude on the defensive right out the gate. Regardless of the length, par 3 holes are not a good fit for my game!
The next is Opsrey Links Golf Course. I love playing there, but both holes start with par 5s. I do not mind the 10th hole par 5 because it sets up well for my game; however the first hole is a struggle. For some reason, I bogey this easy par 5, 40% of the time. I am not sure why, but this hole seems to have my number.
On the first tee, I do not have a challenge getting off the tee or my second shot. It seems that at 90 yards, for some reason, I cannot hit an easy approach shot. I am not sure if it is because it is only the third shot of my round, but for some reason, most of the time, I am either left or short. I am not sure what the challenge is, but this year I plan on fixing my third shot woes at the start of my round.
Bottom line to this diatribe is that I do not like par 5 starting holes either. It does not fit my game and would prefer to start my round with a par 4. Preferably at 400 yards or a bit shorter. It seems that this distance on a par 4 is perfect for my game. I have not shot my lowest rounds starting with a par 4, but I have shot the most lower scores. It seems par 4s help me to mentally be ready to play well. And it seems I am not the only one:
Regardless of the par, starting each round requires a bit of mental fortitude that needs to be transferred from round to round. It is something I continuously work on and for the most part I am successful. However, if I want to lower my handicap in 2020, I will need to the solution that works more often than not.
I am a grateful golfer! See you on the links!