Navigating A Tough Golf Hole

On every golf course there are a few holes that require a special tee shot. Sometimes we are required to hit to a spot in the fairway and other times we need to hit to a distance. The second hole at my home course is like that; hitting to distance key to setting up a birdie putt. The challenge I have depends on the wind and wetness of the area around the green. This 165 yard par 3 challenges my shot making ability, but you know that I always love a challenge.

The third hole is set up such that the tee box is about 20 feet higher than the green. The green is slightly raised and offers little chance to roll the ball onto the green. The area short of the green is always wet and prevents any roll if we happen to hit our ball short. Basically, this postage stamp green requires every golfer to hit to distance with some accuracy.

To add additional challenges, the wind swirls around the area and it is difficult to know how it will affect our ball once it is airborne. At 165 yards, I generally play a six iron. It is a stock distance for me and should be the right club. Over the past three rounds, however, I have hit a 6, 5, and 4 hybrid in order to make it to the green. The 4 hybrid was hit during very windy conditions and rolled off the back when I hit the green. It was still the proper club, but I could have hit it just a bit easier to be successful.

The proper ball flight for this shot is a baby draw. Aiming at the right edge of the green, a draw would move my ball back to the center of the green. This position is perfect because the green is very small. To add some anxiety to the shot, the trees left of the green are about 15 yards away and it is marked out of bounds. Hitting a draw is a good shot, but if I overcook it, hitting OB is a real concern.

You can see from the picture above that we can see half the green. For my game, that is my aim point. If I hit the ball straight, then I am putting. If I have a baby draw, I am putting. Anything else I am either chipping or teeing up again. The bail out area for this tee shot is right, so aiming at the right edge of the green is the safe play.

The second hole at Mattawa Golf and Ski Resort is fun. It is very challenging because we have to hit to distance. In my case, when I do not hit the green, I am just short. This is not necessarily a bad thing, but who wants to be chipping for birdie on a par 3……right? Lastly, as the course dries out over the summer, hitting the ball left of the green almost guarantees our ball bouncing out of bounds. Now I have to figure out the safe play with enough aggressiveness to hit the green. It should be fun!

What club do you think you would hit on this challenging par 3

I am a grateful golfer! See you on the links!


4 thoughts on “Navigating A Tough Golf Hole

  1. A baby draw sounds great. I think for me I’d have the best luck getting both the draw and the distance with the 5 hybrid. To get a tiny bit a draw out of it, I just need to add a touch more bend to my knees. and a 3/4 swing would get me there distance wise so it’s something I think I might come to rely on there.

    Well, I managed my first under 80 round in a few weeks today. At an away course I mean. We went back for our 3rd attempt at Chi Chi and I shot 78. Only managed one birdie, and had one double along the way on 17 with that same murderously unfair pin position. No lucky chip in for me today. 😂 I needed 4 putts to find the hole. Actually it was a shot to the green. One putt to the rough. One chip to the rough. One chip to the green and my second putt, a knee knocker of a downhill 5 footer, finally dropped to end my misery. I was sweating that hole the second I saw that pin position was facing us. I had some cushion to reach my goal, but I know that’s a pin that will eat you alive.

    The new swing felt very good today. All day for the first time. It came easy. And my accuracy with it was as good as I can ask at this point. I flew a couple too long, and I sent a couple too short, but directionally, I was basically in pin hunting form with the only exception being a pull on of course 17. And I used that to my advantage with my course management too. I aimed to miss a few greens today. I gave myself simpler shots to get close while reducing the chances of ending up with really long or hairy first putts.

    Some holes get set up to find suckers. That one of yours might be best played not going for the green. A chip and a putt, or a chip in for birdie might be the optimal solution. Not being on it I can’t say. But Chi Chi’s is a course that reminds me we sometimes have to think that way.

    Anyway, happy to hear you’re getting back in the swing. Pun intended.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Kevin,

      I am not sure I will ever aim away from a green on a reachable par 3. I think your advice has merit, but my ego will not let me play that safe. As the season unfolds, I am sure I will crack the nut and find the best way to play this challenging hole. I am happy to hear you broke 80 at Chi Chi’s course. It is always rewarding to play well that results in a good score. Congrats.

      Cheers Jim


      • Ego? Actually, I think you would find you’ve made similar decisions in the past already. I mean I’m sure you’ve chosen to lay up on a par 5 over going for a green because of danger. It’s no different to hit to a spot in the rough near a pin rather than take a risk you’re ball won’t stay where you need to hit it on the green to get close. You may lose a GIR but you might be protecting a big number and getting a chance at 0 putts to boot. We can’t allow ego to steal strokes from us.

        I practice that 70-80 yard gap wedge a few times a week. I warm up with that on the range out back. Finding a 5 pace deep section of green and holding it is something I would say I’m more likely than not to manage. But how much damage a miss might cause is going to play into the equation every time. How much room do I need to be pretty sure I can land and hold it where I need it? And what are the chances I can manage it this time? From this lie?

        It’s not a decision we should allow ego to interfere with.

        Liked by 1 person

      • Kevin,

        You points are well taken. I understand your view and would suggest the my ego on par 3s is definitely a known challenge. Regardless, it is my cross to bear. I agree that course management about when to lay up or go for the gold is something that I have worked on over the many years of playing. I would suggest that much of my decision is situationally driven. During a tournament I am slightly more conservative until it gets closer to the finish. Then my competitive spirit kicks in and I will try slightly more challenging shots in order to gain a stroke. Not sure if that is ego or not, but I guess it does not really matter what we label it.

        Cheers Jim


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