Number 1 – A short par 4 emulating #3 (Flowering Peach) at Augusta National. More challenging than you might think. From the tee, you must avoid the picturesque fairway bunker complex, which crowds the fairway from the left. But the farther you place your shot to the right, the more difficult your approach to the left-tilting green.
Number 2 – The challenge here is length and the uphill grade. Most will be able to fly the fairway bunker complex on the right. Careful, as the left fairway bunker is in play from the tee.
Number 3 – One of the most entertaining holes on the course, this roller coaster par 5 is reachable in two by big hitters. Birdies are fairly common here, but so are double bogies. From the tee, avoid the fairway bunker complex on the left, but realize that the fairway tilts right beyond the complex. Your second shot requires a decision as the fairway ahead is split by more fairway bunkers. Your shot to the green should be a short one, but missing the green to the right will prove disastrous. The green is uphill all the way, and there is plenty of right tilt as you near the back.
Number 4 – Your first par 3 is relatively short, but the uphill approach requires an extra club to avoid the hungry bunkers that guard the front. Once on the green, and depending on pin placement, putts from above the hole can prove quite entertaining.
Number 5 – Our number one handicap hole comes by the distinction honestly. Your drive must allow for the fact that the fairway runs to the right, all the way to the green. Woe be unto right handed slicers. Try to keep your approach shot below the pin to avoid a scary downhill putt.
Number 6 – Sure looks easy, and it’s certainly short enough, but don’t get tangled up with those insidious fairway bunkers. A good shot up the middle will leave an easy chip (or even putt), but long right is disaster.
Number 7 – Our second replica hole (#11 at Pinehurst #2), a straightaway par 4 with some length, provides lots of room for your tee shot. The green is well protected and features a tier in the back for the most challenging pin placement.
Number 8 – The final par 3 on the front is the flattest par 3 on the course. Depending on your tee selection, you’re either hitting to a deep and narrow green (forward tees), or a wide and shallow green (back tees). Three putts are typical if you don’t get close on your approach.
Number 9 – Another replica hole (#14 St. Andrews), and another up and down par 5. Off the tee, respect the black and white aiming post, as a shot to the left will probably end up in thick native grasses. The second hill also disguises trouble to the left and right, so be alert. Getting home in two is generally out of the question, so plan for a soft-landing third shot to a wide but shallow green.
Number 10 – A relatively short and visually-stimulating hole with a decidedly left inclination. Don’t miss the green left or right as you will not get a friendly bounce.
Number 11 – Shades of #10 at Riviera Country Club … this appealingly short par 4 emulation asks only for a well-placed tee shot (maybe with an iron) and a soft approach to a small green. A good chance for a par.
Number 12 – A real par 5, and the longest hole on the course, this one gives a lot of golfers fits. Trouble is unrelenting down the right side, which fortunately is a lateral hazard. You’re likely to require three good whacks to tame this monster. And getting on the extensive hump-back green is no guarantee of a two putt. Par is a very good result on this one.
Number 13 – This hole defines an uphill par 3. Many overly-optimistic shots fall short here, so use enough club. The bunkers fronting the wide and shallow green catch more balls than Jerry Rice ever did.
Number 14 – No tricks on this straightaway par 4. Just hit it down the generous fairway, and go for the green with a short to mid iron.
Number 15 – From the back tees, you might mistake this for a par 4. Nope. This wickedly picturesque and infamous par 3, is the highest handicap hole on the back. Those playing from the forward tees will be spared the drama which the back tees provide. The green is large enough; it just doesn’t look like it from the tee. Rejoice in a par.
Number 16 – A very well designed par 4. A tee shot over the fairway bunker complex will put you in good position for your downhill approach. Approach shots that land short left usually receive a good bounce and roll toward the green.
Number 17 – A longish par four, the drive is all downhill, and the approach is all uphill. Careful off the tee as waste areas guard both sides of the blind valley, hence the aiming post.
Number 18 – As pretty a finishing hole as you will find. The stunning panoramic view affords a preview of your journey. Play your drive down the middle or somewhat left (slicers, say a prayer). Your second shot can be up the safe left fairway or to a high-risk landing area to the right of the bunker complex. Your approach must clear unseen water which intrudes across the front of the peninsula green. A too-short approach will be devoured by bunkers, and an overshoot may require you to exchange your putter for a ball retriever. Par should be relatively easy, but so is a double.