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Black Hills Breakdown — Golden Tee 2009

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This section breaks down how to play each hole at Golden Tee’s Black Hills.  Check back soon to see how this course and specific holes rates difficulty-wise among all the 2009 courses!

Check back here and learn even more tips and tricks, and how to play from each of the tee boxes on the course!



Clubs and balls to use on Black Hills

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So what’s the best set of clubs to use when playing Golden Tee 2009’s Black Hills?  Well, I got feedback from 25 pros on their choices, and here’s what I found!

On this course, it was near unanimous — you’ve got to play the Big Berthas.  It seems as if this course was designed specifically for this club set, and you’ll find yourself using the 7-wood (and probably the 9-wood) several times to your benefit!  If you’re still learning the ropes and feel more comfortable playing a different set, then that’s more important — but you’ll only be able to maximize the shortcuts and scoring opportunities on this difficult course with the Big Bertha set.

Oh, and the D2 balls are the most popular choice, followed closely by the Gamers, and then the Freaks!



Early reviews for Golden Tee 2009’s Black Hills

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Here’s what the players are saying early on about Golden Tee’s new 2009 course Black Hills!

AMJ — GT Par is -28.

Jeff S — HOLY FACK!! Awesome course. Be precise where you land the ball for your next shot. Rocks….BIG ROCKS…..everywhere. A lot of elevation change here too…and the waterfall hole….cool!!

Black Hills is tough…Yes, that is an EVEN you see there. You have to hit some perfect shots. Of course, I was trying to find all of the shortcuts which usually result in balls in the water, balls behind mammoth rocks, out of bounds, balls that don’t get to the green because it’s 150 ft. uphill…..etc.

AMJ — Played the new woods both rounds. That’s gotta be the play for now, with the obstacles to go over and around. TONS of elevation change. My first impression was this is their best Live course so far…. But don’t hold me to that . Looking at my two rounds hasn’t helped my one bit with what par is. I’d guess -26, but that’s TOTAL guess.

kevinb77 — i dont like the walls of rock in front of nearly every box!



Black Hills — Hole #1: Par 4

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Because of the sharp drop in elevation, this is one of the very few first holes where you can’t take your approach shot for granted.  Keep in mind that the wind will affect you approach shot about twice as much as on flat ground, and a side wind can really cut distance, so club up on your approach with a cross wind!

EXAMPLE HOLE-OUT



Black Hills — Hole #2: Par 4

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This par 4 is usually drivable, but the difficulty varies quite a bit based on your tee box.  You could have a straight shot into the green, or you might have to play a big C3. At times you’ll have to lay up in the fairway if you’re on the far left of the tee box.  As with hole #1, put extra consideration into the drop in elevation, as the wind will push the ball a lot more as it’s dropping towards the green.  Don’t miss long and right where the water is…if anything, miss left and take a chip shot opportunity at eagle.

EXAMPLE HOLE-OUT
GIANT HOOK — WOW!



Black Hills — Hole #3: Par 3

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Here you’ve got water short and sand long, so you don’t have much choice but to carry the green.  Unless the wind is strongly in your face, you should carry the green and use backspin to hold it!  If the pin is in a tough spot, make sure you leave yourself a putt, because the green is flat!  Even if you’re just off the green, it’s a very manageable punch-shot because of the flat green, so make sure you come away with birdie here.

EXAMPLE HOLE-OUT 1
EXAMPLE HOLE-OUT 2



Black Hills — Hole #4: Par 5

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Here is your official introduction to the challenges of Black Hills!  So, you want to get there in two?  More than likely, you’ll have to take your chances on one of many “Easter Islands” featured within this course.  Line yourself up with the pin and take note of where all the huge stones are on the little peninsula landing area.  Now imagine playing anywhere from a pretty straight shot up to a big C3 into this area.  Tough, right?  Well, it’s time to get practice in!  If you can somehow land here and leave yourself an opening to the green, you’ve got a great chance at eagle.

Another spot you can sometimes take aim at is between the two pillars on the far right. With correct distance and accuracy, you can gently bounce off the right side of the rock on the left, leaving you in between those two rocks with an open look at the green.

If you’re not feeling so brave, you can take it along the fairway to the right, but you’re all but guaranteed to have to take 3 shots to get to the green this way.  And, your 3rd (approach) shot this way can still be really hard, because stones guard the right portion of the green!  Instead, consider laying your second shot short in the jutting peninsula, where you can gain a straight shot into the green.

There are also occasions where you may be able to skip or carry your drive out to cut the corner of the main fairway.  If you can pull this off, you’ll have a decent shot into the green in two this way also!

EXAMPLE HOLE-OUT 1
SICK HOLE-OUT 2!
ANOTHER SICK HOLE-OUT!



Black Hills — Hole #5: Par 4

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Here is a really, really tough par 4, and it’s only the 5th hole!  Sometimes, this can set up where you can line up towards the pin and carry a wood over the trees to the green.  But, you have to be dead on if you attempt this, because everywhere off the green is trouble. I’d warn against trying to cut the corner on this hole too, because the fairway slopes off on both sides, and the risk is much greater than the reward. More often, you should just be laying up, straight ahead, to the flat, fat part of the fairway.  From here, you’ll most often have a 3-wood into the green, which gives you enough loft but not too much for the wind to affect it a great deal.  The green is elevated on all sides, and thus is slopes off deeply everywhere too.  You may have to play a small cut shot against the wind/slope, with backspin, in order to hold the middle of the green.  Birdie is a great score here!

EXAMPLE HOLE-OUT 1
3-WOOD HOLED OUT FROM THE BANK — GREAT RECOVERY!



Black Hills — Hole #6: Par 4

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Ready for more?  Here’s another par 4 that offers a challenging chance at eagle.  You’ll always be playing some form of A1, down the hill and curving around into the green.  The issue here, again, is the elevation change — you’ll notice the wind affect the ball a LOT on its way down.

Most missed shots here end up long, and that’s bad because it’s water. And if you’re too short, you could actually end up behind the stones that guard the front of the green!  So, distance is crucial here.  If the wind is in your face, you may not want backspin, since the wind will be pushing the ball backwards anyway.  If you have a tailwind, you must use backspin to help pull the ball back away from the water once it lands.

There’s one more option if you have a left tee box and a left pin — you can actually line up with the pin and hit a straight shot between a gap in the tops of two trees!

Do you best to gauge the amount of hook and the distance you need, but above all else, practice will earn you your eagles here!

AROUND THE TREES
THROUGH THE TREES
SLAM DUNK!



Black Hills — Hole #7: Par 5

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Your drive is crucial here, and it will set up the difficulty of your approach shot and your chance at eagle.  First, notice where the pin stands in relation to the green.  If it’s in the middle, you’ll want your drive to be straight down the middle of the fairway.  If the pin is on the right, put your drive a bit more left, and vice versa.  And don’t crush it…you’ll want some distance between you and the stones so you can get some elevation and have more flexibility with your approach.

Now, after your drive, you should see a gap in the stones on your way to the green.  If you lucked out and are lined up, you can just hit a straight shot through the gap and down to the green, but more than often you’ll be playing a small cut shot through the gap to compensate for the wind anyway.  Sometimes you’ll even be able to carry a high-lofted wood right over the stones, if you have a tailwind and are back far enough!

Another option is sometimes playing a big A1 off the tee — there are situations where you can get the ball far enough down the fairway to the right to have an easier approach into the green than if you laid up!

I can’t say it enough, and it’s true more than ever with this hole — the wind will affect your approach shot a LOT on the way down.  I’d only use backspin if you have a tailwind, because otherwise, backspin can suck your ball right off the green into the water!

EXAMPLE HOLE-OUT



Black Hills — Hole #8: Par 4

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Most of the time here, you’ll be aiming just to the right of the “praying hands” rocks, which gives you a more forgivable gap into the green.  Hit as much loft as you can, because the more loft, the bigger the gap becomes as your ball descends towards the green.  But, even with a driver, you’ll be able to carry it through.

The good news is that even if you clip a rock on either side of this gap, you’ll most often still ricochet forward and have a clear chip into the green for a birdie putt!  So, you should always try going for the green on this par 4!

THROUGH THE GAP
UNDER THE GAP
THROUGH ANOTHER GAP!
PINBALL!



Black Hills — Hole #9: Par 3

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This hole has 3 different tee boxes shooting into 1 of 2 different greens, so you’ll see a lot of different looks here.  One green is an island, and one is guarded by sand.  Some shots are pretty flat, but you can also see a look into a significantly elevated green.

Just apply the principles you’re already learned up to this point…make sure you carry the green, use backspin unless you have a strong wind in your face, and play a small cut if you need to fight the slope or wind.  Club up if you’re unsure on the distance!

USING THE BACKSTOP
A FORTUITOUS BOUNCE!



Black Hills — Hole #10: Par 4

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Here you have 5 tee boxes but one common goal — leave yourself 240-250 yards into this enormously elevated green!  If you’re using the Big Bertha clubs, as you should be on this course, you have a lot more flexibility.  You won’t have to worry about hitting a longer drive because you’ll still have a 7-wood and/or a 9-wood at your disposal to do the trick from around 200 yards, if needed.  It becomes ever riskier with each degree of loft lost on your approach shot!

If you are short, however, you can usually still climb up the wall with any club having enough distance to get there.  Still, try not to miss short so you don’t have to deal with this type of recovery shot!

As I’ve played this hole more and more, I’ve found that you don’t have to play a ton of extra club because of the elevation…just a bit more.  But, you must err on the side of caution so as not to be short and put a damper in your round!

EXAMPLE HOLE-OUT 1
CLIMBING THE WALL!



Black Hills — Hole #11: Par 4

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This par 4 can really challenge your shot-shaping ability.  First, you’ve got a set of stones by the tee box blocking your way towards the green, and then you have another set of them to miss as your approach comes into the green!  The Kinz videos below are not for the faint of heart, but they show you just how good the pros are and how they can navigate seemingly impossible gaps to create incredible shots…both A1 and C3 cut shots can find gaps into the green if hit properly, as you see.

Don’t automatically give up going for the green here.  You’ll sometimes be given a look where you only have to hit a small cut shot (or a dead-straight shot!) through a very manageable gap towards the green — I aced this hole through that gap recently.  It may appear that two stones are right by one another, but you may see during a fly-by that one is close and one is quite far away, allowing a cut shot more room!

If you don’t see an angle into the green off the tee, pick a spot at least pin-high down the fairway, but ideally giving you the best approach shot in relation to the wind.

Finally, I think a 7-wood might sometimes clear the stones if you aim right at the green and have enough distance, but I still need to verify this!

STRAIGHT THROUGH
AROUND THE LEFT
AROUND THE RIGHT



Black Hills — Hole #12: Par 3

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This tough par 3 has 3 tee boxes, and all offer a difficult shot into the green since 3 sides of the green are OB down the cliff, with the other side being sand!  So, if you do miss to the “safe” side in the sand, you’ll still have to try to stop a downhill chip from going off the cliff as well!

Here is as good an example as any of needing to play a small cut shot, especially if the wind and the slope are the same direction.  Pray that the wind blows opposite the slope, because then you can play a pretty straight shot and let the wind push the ball up the slope instead.  Birdie is a great score here, because even if you stick the green, you’re going to have a very challenging putt!

EXAMPLE HOLE-OUT



Black Hills — Hole #13: Par 5

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The safe play is around the trees and hill, but you’ll almost certainly need 3 shots into the green this way, and what fun is that anyway?

I’ve found a couple options for getting there in two, and they require some luck.  If you have a closer tee box, aim at the elevated hill across the river, and hit your drive into the back-right portion of this hill.  Sure, it’s littered with trees, but if you can get back far enough on the hill, you’ll have a shot into the green in two!

From the middle or back tees, there’s another option.  Pan right and notice the fattest section of grass separating the tall cliff from the water.  That’s where you want to be!  But, you don’t want to have to shoot directly for that…there’s another way that can work out for you.  Aim your drive at the right side of the hill, above this landing area.  If you pull it off, your drive will bounce on the hill a couple times and then start plunging down the cliff.  Since it’s straight down, though, your ball will drop right onto this landing area, and then you have a great look into this green in two! Even if you get unlucky and get wet, you’ll get a good drop that still allows a shot into the green for a birdie putt.

If you get a good clean look straight at this grassy landing area, then you can aim right for it instead of depending on the roll down the hill!

Your work isn’t done — it’s another oddly shaped green protected by sand, so you’ll have to find a way to stick the green AND make sure you have a clear putt at the flag!

Play around with these options and soon you’ll get more comfortable hitting to areas that give you the best chance to earn an approach shot within distance of the green!

FROM THE BANK
ALL THE WAY AROUND — 400+ YARDS!



Black Hills — Hole #14: Par 4

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This hole was custom made for the Big Bertha clubs, and you’ll be losing a stroke to your opponents here if you aren’t losing them.  From the left tee box a 9-wood will clear all the stones and give you a straight shot at the green, and from the right box, a 7-wood does the trick.  Just worry about the distance and whether you want backspin or not!

If you have to curve around the rocks, get as far down the fairway as you can so that you don’t have to curve around stones on your approach shot too! Or, if you’re feeling daring and the wind is cooperating, a big A2-type shot around all the stones can cut its way into the green as well!  Below is a link containing an example of curving a 5-wood around and in!

STRAIGHT OVER
UP AND OVER
OFF THE TOP
PINBALL!
INCREDIBLE BACKWARDS BANK SHOT!
ANOTHER BACKWARDS BANK WITH A COUPLE BONUS BANKS!
DITTO!
FANTASTIC 5-WOOD!
MORE INCREDIBLE PINBALL



Black Hills — Hole #15: Par 4

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Welcome to The Falls!  I almost wish this hole hadn’t won the “Design a Hole” contest, because although it looks really cool, it’s really tough!  I’m still finding myself in the waterfall way too often, and that water is lethal — it sucks your ball right down into the river, and you get a penalty.

If you’re tucked into the back right box, you’ll have a hell of a time curving a shot into the green without hitting the waterfall — AND, if you hit the rock on the left too soon, you’ll shoot straight backwards.

From other boxes, it’s a bit easier, but it still won’t let you take aim at the flag.  Often times, if you play too safe and hit the green on the other side of the pin, you’ll have a 180+ foot putt that you can’t make anyway.

The ideal shot curves around the water and can even bounce off the back wall on its way back to the flag for an eagle putt. Take note of the flag and try to bounce off the wall towards the pin if that’s the best way to get close!

Keep in mind that the waterfall falls from left to right…so, you have to stay low and left if going around the left side, and high and right if going around the right side.  But above all else, play extra wide to miss the waterfall!  If you do, you should have birdie at worst.

EDIT — Thanks to Putz, who has revealed after several months of secrecy that you can sometimes blast a 3-wood straight through the water and still carry the green!  You need at least a 9mph tailwind to accomplish this feat.  If you’re blessed with this wind, hammer a B2 3-wood with roll right through the water!  The extra loft of the 3-wood coupled with the carry of the tailwind allows the ball to carry onto the rough, sometimes the green, where roll can add some extra yards too!  I’ve gotten word that a 5-wood can work too, with preferably more tailwind.  It also helps to be using the Freaks, which add distance.  Check out the hole-out below!

FAIRLY STRAIGHT HOLE-OUT
AROUND TO THE RIGHT
AROUND TO THE LEFT
THE SICKEST OF THEM ALL!
STRAIGHT THROUGH THE WATER!
CHECK OUT THE VIEW FROM UP HERE!



Black Hills — Hole #16: Par 4

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On easier courses, this hole might be a par 5, but this is Black Hills!  You can usually play a big C3 with roll to get some extra distance up the fairway, but just being in the fairway is the most important part.

Pin placement can be tough here, and you must leave yourself a line at the hole since this green is almost cut in half by sand and rock.  Keep your approach shot accurate here, because you’ll want the birdie setting up your run at the next two really tough finishing holes!

EXAMPLE HOLE-OUT



Black Hills — Hole #17: Par 3

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This hole can very easily kill your round, if it’s not dead already by this point.  What makes it so hard is that you have to hit a high-lofted club into a green surrounded by rock and cliffs while fighting a heavy wind!

If your ball lands on the rock, the results are almost never good, and you may very well be sucked off the cliff on the back end.  So, it’s important to land and stick the green, usually with backspin.  On the other hand, you might get a setup where landing on the rock and trickling down towards the pin is best, so size up all your options! Keep in mind that the wind is going to affect your high-lofted club much more, so you have to compensate more than normal.  Par is respectable here, since many a ball have fallen off the cliff here!

HOW IT SHOULD BE DONE
ALL THE WAY BACK UP THE HILL
UP, AROUND, DOWN, AND IN!
USING THE LEFT SIDE
FINDING THE FUNNEL!
WHAT EVEN HAPPENED HERE?
OVERSHOT IT 50 YARDS?  NO PROBLEM!
TAKING A DETOUR TO VISIT THE MOUNTAIN GOAT
THIS IS JUST A TERRIBLE SHOT GONE VERY LUCKY!



Black Hills — Hole #18: Par 4

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One of the coolest hole ever designed, and just about as tough!  You’ll learn pretty quickly that you can’t miss left, or you’re falling down the faces of Mt. Rushmore!  The tendency will be to aim long and right, but Golden Tee conveniently put a pond there too! Actually, with a bit of practice, this tee shot is not too bad and can offer you an eagle to close out with.  You’ll probably be hitting a driver, which will actually be a relief from the last hole since the wind won’t blow it as much.  Just aim for the back right side of the green with backspin.  If you can land here, your ball will settle nicely into the middle of the green.  If you don’t like pulling back on your shots, this hole’s great for you also!  You’re pretty much just shooting forward opposite the wind to try to hit the green!

One more note — if you find water and are place on the green patch to the right of the green, opposite the rock, take note of where you are, because sometimes you can PUTT across onto the green!  It seems impossible, but the putt can actually “skip” across the rocks, cutting the corner even though it seems it’d fall down the rock and never make it to the green!  Try it and you’ll learn to save a stroke or two over a much more risky chip!

A SLIDER ORIGINAL
USING THE WALL

HOW DID HE CONTROL THOSE HOPS?

MORE ROCK-PLAY

HELPS TO GET LUCKY!