There are many types of golf courses that requires a different skill set. Some courses we can just bang away without fear of missing the fairway. Others, we rely on the roll to shorten the distances between tee and green. And then there a shooters courses where accuracy and distance combine to add additional challenges when playing. I was fortunate to play such a course last Sunday with my friend Mike. It was all about club selection, hitting to distance, and being on the proper side of the pin from our approach shot. Windermere Golf and Country Club provided the challenges expect on a shooters course and more!
I love playing a shooter’s golf course. I find that this type of course stresses every aspect of my game. Yesterday’s article focused on putting, so it will not be on my list of topics today. I want to focus on three things: club distance, selecting proper aim points and maximizing approach shots. I realize that these topics are universal, but they are critical on a shooter’s course.
I noticed at Windermere, my club distance was one club short on every shot. There was zero roll on the fairway, within 10 yards of the green or on the green. My course management was taxed to the max and it was awesome to play a course that required me to think about every shot. The signature hole at Windermere is a perfect example.
Normally, I would hit a 7 iron or a 6 iron. Because the green is down hill, I thought about a 7 iron thinking that if I was short, it would bounce up close or onto the green. What folly that idea was. I actually had to carry the full 165 yards to hit the middle of the green. As such, this would be six iron normally. Nope again! It actually ended up being a 3/4 – 5 iron. The carry and zero roll showed a bit of a weakness in my game because I thought I had my distances zeroed in when actually Windermere proved that I need to do a bit more work on my club distances.
Selecting the proper aim points off the tee and fairway was very important. Windermere was cut out of a forest and the Great Canadian Shield and as such being on the proper side of the fairway for your second shot was critical. Because I was hitting the ball 10 to 20 yards shorter than normal, choosing the proper aim point to avoid trees and sand traps proved to be very taxing. Because I had zero course knowledge, I decided to hit my driver off most tees which at the time was a good idea. Now that I have played this shooter’s course, I would choose completely different clubs off the tee on several holes. I would hit to distance better and hopefully this would lead to better scores.
Maximizing approach shots is my last point of the day. I only hit 11 greens out of 27 during our round at Windermere. On this shooter’s course, not hitting the green was catastrophic to my score. My short game was off and it took 12 holes for me to figure out how chip onto the greens and even this was suspect at best. But that is a story for another day. Of the 18 holes where I missed the green short 17 times, I will revert back to my paragraph above about know my club distances. However, I want to focus on the 9 greens that I did hit in regulation.
Every green I hit was in the wrong spot. I was on the wrong side of the pin for every shot. Not knowing the lay of each green made it impossible for me to really know where to aim, so I aimed for the center each time. This logic was folly. I would like chalk up my poor approach shot location to lack of knowledge, but in reality I struggled hitting the greens period. There was zero chance of me maximizing my approach shots because I just struggled all day.
I do have give a shout out to my friend Mike. He adjusted to the conditions very well. And as a result, he won our side bet. The amount of cash is not the real prize, it is the bragging rights. Mike won fair and square and I am all ready plotting what will happen on our next round. Be ready Mike, I am coming for you. 😉
A shooter’s course is a challenge to most golfers. Personally, I love these types of courses as it usually fits my game very well. Regardless, I had a fantastic time last Sunday and look forward to play another shooter’s course soon.
I am a grateful golfer! See you on the links!