Preparing for a golf tournament takes effort and planning. I am registered in a 2-person best ball this weekend with my friend Blair. In preparation for this two day event, we played our practice round yesterday with the intent of learning as much about the course as possible before we tee it up on Saturday. Blair and I have played this fun course in the past, but yesterday was an eye opener as the course has changed in the past 10 years. Blair took the lead on the strategy of our round because he played Clear Springs more, hence he shared his experience for the entire round. I learned a fair bit and I think we are ready for our tee time early Saturday morning.
Blair and I had three goals in our preparation for the tournament. Because we are playing a best ball, I will be reacting to Blair’s game. Specifically whether to play aggressive or conservative. With this strategy in mind, we focused on which clubs to hit off the tee, how the course was playing, and the roll of the greens. We both felt that it was important to have a plan for our practice round and the results met and exceeded our expectations.
As you can see from the pictures, most greens are elevated, have hazards guarding them, and offer no easy approach shots. Clear Springs Golf Course plays 6000 yards of very few holes that offer bash away shots. It is definitely a shooters course and being in the proper position for approach shots is only one key to shooting low golf scores. I found Clear Springs to be fun course to play because it forced me to think (or listen to Blair’s advice) on each shot.
Our first task was to choose which club to use off the tee. Many of the holes did not require a driver and others where we thought a hybrid or iron off the tee did require the big stick. We discussed our options on each tee box and most holes I hit multiple clubs. For the most part, our first choice was best. However, some required more club than we thought because the ball course was playing much longer than the 6000 yards. We succeeded in developing a great strategy for our tee shots, but it really depends on how we are both playing on Saturday. Regardless, we have a plan.
Clear Springs is playing long. There is very little roll on the course and hitting to distance on the greens is one of the very important aspects of shooting low scores. I found that all the greens were protected to one degree or another by either wet conditions in the fringe or water/sand hazards. The course was cut out of dense bush and it had many water features that were strategically spaced. Choosing the proper club was a challenge; I am grateful Blair was there steering the ship because it made our practice round fruitful. Interestingly, it was better to have a longer shot into the greens than trying to bang the ball as close as possible for every shot.
The last challenge we faced was the greens. The postage stamp size and undulations made approach shots and putting the greatest challenge of all. We learned that finishing on the proper section of the green was critical. Clear Spring’s greens were full of minor undulations with large swales. The greens were very interesting because being out of position cost strokes. I laughed when Blair and I putted off the green twice each. After playing our practice round, I think we are ready to hit our approach shots to the proper position and to understand that putting uphill or downhill makes a huge difference in our short game. The greens at Clear Springs make the golf course. They are small, but fair. How we play them will make our break our score.
Our practice round at Clear Springs was fun and educational. Our intent of figuring out how best to maximize our games was successful. Of course having a great strategy going into Saturday is a bonus, but now Blair and I need to perform. I am looking forward to playing in this two person best ball tournament for two reasons: first, Blair and I have been friends for 40 years and I enjoy playing any golf event with him and the best ball format will challenge my game (and this is always fun). I will update you on our success on the weekend.
I am a grateful golfer! See you on the links!