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!
4 thoughts on “What is Your Favourite Starting Hole?”
Jim, I’d prefer a par-5 because they are the easiest holes to birdie. Also prefer a tee shot to a wider fairway that sets up good for my eye. If I were to pick a favorite, I’d take #1 at Myrtle Beach National – Kings North. Arnold Palmer was a “man of the people,” and believed in getting folk’s rounds off to good starts which is why a lot of his designs start on par-5s. Kings North is no exception.
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Thanks Brian. We have an easier par 5 starting hole at Osprey Links, but for some reason I struggle as often as I score well. I consider a bogey on this hole a failure to start well.
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After reading your blog for a long time, I would venture to suggest that you might want to revisit risk/reward to lower your handicap. The impression I get is that you tend to take too little risk maybe. But of course, that’s just anecdotal since I’ve never seen you play. But we do have to go for the flag if we want to make more birdies. I know it’s an area I have to work on. Not so much with my approach shots. I tend to default to the pin and need a good reason not to go for it on those, but my medium distance chipping is still coming up short too often. A decided lack of faith that I need to fix.
As to what kind of hole I like to start out on I guess I can at least limit it to one where I get to hit my driver. Preferably from a raised position but at least with a nice wide fairway. At my new course, I start off with a 3 iron. And swinging that cold is a bit tougher. By the way, they closed our courses today. They had tape up across the entry to the first holes on both courses. But I still saw singles out there when I made a bank run.
I won’t do that. There are still courses in the area that are open. And walking the course is about as safe as I can be as long as I’m careful about what I touch and getting too close to others. Besides, I’ve played this one more times in a row since I’ve been here than I think I’ve ever done anywhere before. At least 5 days a week for the past 6 weeks. It’s time to go play somewhere I’ve played in the past often and see where I stand against a course I’ve played off and on for decades. One where I’ve scored some of my best rounds in the past. I think maybe tomorrow is a good day for that. There’s a shower blowing through sometime, but it won’t last long and will likely feel good since it’s already in the 80’s here. It’s also likely to chase others away which right now, may be best unless everyone else thinks the same way.
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Thanks for the advice about risk/reward. I would suggest that my approach to taking changes is on a sliding scale. It really depends on the day and how I am swinging the golf clubs. I do not think I am overly conservative with my approach, but it is possible.
It is funny you mentioned pin hunting to score well. My new Muzino irons were bought for that exact reason. Higher trajectory and steeper angle of attack so the the releases less on the green. Time will tell if it was a good idea.