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Grand Savannah Breakdown — Golden Tee 2009

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This section breaks down how to play each hole at Golden Tee’s Grand Savannah.  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 Grand Savannah

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

The most votes went to the new Big Bertha set available in 2009.  Players like the combination of the 310-yard driver and the loft that the woods offer, since this course is a lot about carry!  Players also like the Attack Wedge in this set for hole #17, which is already being deemed one of the most difficult holes ever created (and I concur).

Coming in second is the old hybrids, still a favorite among amateurs and pros on any course.

There were also votes for four other sets of clubs, but these 2 seem like the best bet for scoring well on Grand Savannah!  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 Grand Savannah

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

AMJ — GT Par is -26.

Jeff S — MUD, MUD, MUD!! The ball does not travel well out of the mud…enough said.

AMJ — Played the new woods (310,3W,5W,7W,9W) the first round and old school low loft the second round. I think I’ll stick with the low lofts for now. Not many obstacles you need to go over and not enough elevation change to justify the new woods. Like Whodat said, it’s tough to tell what is water and what is land on a few holes. The front is fairly plain, and if I remember right, the back has some brutal par 5s. Looking at my two rounds, it’s at least -25 GT par (14 was an eagle hole for sure), but it’s probably -26 and maybe -27.

kevinb77 — not a bad course at all… just dont like a nearly 800 yard hole…

bpharri1 — i was doing ok thru 6 (pretty easy first few holes), then missed like a 12 yard chip (that i would’ve made on 2008, but for some reason that same chip on 2009 went about 54% as far)…and then another hole apparently plays about 1 club short (like a few of those on 2008–you know who you are!), i miss a putt, etc….. then i par everything, it seems, but then i still think i can shoot a 20 on my first round, which was my goal (that i only acheived tonight on bonnie moor, which is cake) and then…..
……17——–ouch!!!
basically impossible.
there was like a 16mph wind going at about 4:39 and the pin was on the left of the green that is about 25 feet deep, with water short, and junk everywhere else. Oh yeah, and it’s up 10. up 10 and 2 right or something. the distance was the club right between a 9i and pw (a 10i, i’ll call it?). i attempt to hit-cut the ball with a 9i into the tree that is just left of the green so i’d drop down right next to and maybe on the green (the only shot i could really think of). it goes through the leaves, and ends up about 20 yards long in the shit. oh, ok, not bad, i’ll just chip it on…NOPE!! there is a big speedbump right before the green, that is down 10 from me now, and again, the green is like 20-25 feet deep! I lw bs it up, it hits the very front edge of the green, tries to check, doesn’t, and gets wet–and it would’ve been wet if the green was 40 yards deep. drops me in the same place. i then use sw bs it and chip it off the top of the upslope of the speedbump, takes a few bounces on the speedbump top and downslope, tries to check up on the green for like 20 feet, doesn’t, and then again is wet. they drop me in a really tough place with a severe breaking chip and of course i miss.

just ridiculous



Grand Savannah — Hole #1: Par 4

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Just try to place your drive out there where the wind and sand traps will least inhibit your approach.

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Grand Savannah — Hole #2: Par 4

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This is about as easy as par 4s get.  It’s always driveable, but you’ll have an “offset” look, meaning you won’t be lined up directly at the flag.  So, you’ll get more practice with your aim!  Do NOT be short, though…if you land in that dirt stuff short of the green, the ball will not bounce out of there, and you’ll have to chip!

EXAMPLE HOLE-OUT



Grand Savannah — Hole #3: Par 3

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A couple things to consider here — you’re shooting downhill, so the wind will affect the ball a bit more.  Once again though, do NOT be short, or else you’ll stick in that dirt and have to chip again!  Try to carry the green and stick it, because rolling it up onto the green won’t work.

EXAMPLE HOLE-OUT



Grand Savannah — Hole #4: Par 5

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You might be enticed by the mud on the left that leads towards the pin, but don’t do it — you won’t be able to get your approach shot there in 2.  Moreover, you’ll need a couple more shots just to get back out of the mud to the fairway!

Instead, try to carry or curve your tee shot into the fairway peninsula stretching out to the left if you are looking down the middle of the fairway.  From here, you can reach the green in two.  Ideally, you’ll be hitting a 5-wood, because you’ll want the loft! It’s becoming a common theme, but you can’t be short here on your approach either!  Not only will that dirt kill the shot, but the green is elevated up from this area, so it will have to carry on and stick!

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Grand Savannah — Hole #5: Par 3

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A par 3 with several different looks and a couple different greens — you may have to play a slight curve into the flag if it’s on the high side of the green.

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Grand Savannah — Hole #6: Par 5

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First, take a look at the pin placement. If it’s on the left, especially far left, the ideal placement of your tee shot is as far left as you can get it — the small peninsula of fairway stretching out left.  This will leave you with anywhere from a straight B2 to a small A1 into the green.  Try to picture the path of this shot in your head, though — if it looks like you might have to try to skip through dirt to get to the green, consider using roll to help out.  If you can stay above this area, or if you have a fairly straight shot, it’s ideal — then use backspin to hold the green, or else just bounce it up to the pin.

Depending on the wind and pin placement, you might be better off driving down the right side of the fairway.  You can also hit a C3 around the trees into the green this way.  So, again, before you tee off, size up your best option!

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Grand Savannah — Hole #7: Par 3

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If you’re using the Big Bertha clubs, the 7-wood is a great club here.  It clears the trees easily and is usually the right distance for you to float the shot into the green.

However, the 3-hybrid and 4-iron have enough loft to carry the trees too! You still might have to play a mini-C3 into the green if the trees or wind are obstructing your path to the pin, but you can usually take an iron right over the top of these trees still, even though it doesn’t look like you can!

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Grand Savannah — Hole #8: Par 5

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Here you want to put your tee shot on the right edge of the fairway, about 80% of the way to the end of it.  Here, you’ll have a clear shot into the green in two with a 5-wood most times.  If you are too short or too far, you may have a tree obstructing your path to the green, but it’s a big window of area still.  The approach shot is not easy — you have to clear a mound in front of the green that slopes down into water.  A 3-wood can stick it too, but the extra loft of the 5-wood makes this shot manageable with backspin!

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Grand Savannah — Hole #9: Par 4

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No tricks here — find a distance and approach direction you’re most comfortable with, and bring it in for birdie!  Make sure to account for the upslope on the green with the approach.

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Grand Savannah — Hole #10: Par 4

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You’ll need to find the best way to get as far down the fairway as possible, because you don’t want the trees blocking your approach shot.  Your approach is uphill and upslope, so make sure you club up and/or use roll!

If you can’t clear the water very easily and/or can’t get past the tree line, there’s another option — you can lay back to the left behind the trees and leave yourself about 250 yards into the green.  From there, a 5-wood will clear the trees and provide you some nice loft into the elevated green!

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Grand Savannah — Hole #11: Par 4

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Don’t get too cute with your drive — just make sure you keep it in the fairway.  You’ve got an uphill, upslope approach shot again, but sometimes the pin placement can be tough here.  If in doubt, find the middle of the green!

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Grand Savannah — Hole #12: Par 5

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Your first step here is to check the pin placement and wind, because this should determine where you put your drive.

With a front tee box and a wind blowing towards the green, you actually have a chance to drive this green!  Play a big C3 with roll and you might actually get it there.  At worst, you should clear the mud and have a chip and a putt for eagle.

That setup is rare, so there are two equally good options left for you.  One involves rotating left and hitting a driver or 3-wood to the grassy landing area out there.  Try to place your drive as close to the right/front of that patch as you can (closest to the green).  Also take note of the pin and wind, because it’s a long patch of grassy stuff and you should position yourself as best you can for your approach.  You still might have to bounce through sand and rough on the way to the pin, so this approach is sometimes challenging.

The other option, sometimes overlooked since you’re usually looking for a shortcut on a par 5, is to play the fairway!  Straight ahead, the fairway juts towards the green, and the best layup spot is as close to the mud and the flag as you can get.  Again, wind and pin placement is a key here, and this shot is easier when the wind and pin cooperate with this angle into the green.  You can still get a driver, sometimes less, to the green from here with a well-positioned drive!

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HERE IT IS — SUPER ALBATROSS!



Grand Savannah — Hole #13: Par 3

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This par 3 has three totally different tee boxes and a brutally-shaped green.  The pin placement here can be horrendous.  Do your best not to trap yourself without a clear putt at the pin!  Birdie is a great score here.

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Grand Savannah — Hole #14: Par 5

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This par 5 has a couple shortcuts — one is fairly easy, and one is very tough.  If you’re on one of the left tee boxes, look across the river and you’ll see a circular landing area to the back and left of a tree there.  If it’s reachable, this is your best option.  The approach is tough, but hey, it’s a par 5 and you’re shooting into it in 2!

If you can’t reach that spot, there’s a strip of land separating the pond in the middle from the big river dividing the hole.  If you’re feeling daring, you can try to stick this spot, where you will also be rewarded a shot into the green in 2.  Don’t miss left, because that’s wet!  If you miss right, it’s mud and that’s okay — you can just lay up out to the right and bring your approach in for 3, as you’d be doing anyway if you didn’t try the shortcut!

This is a great risk/reward hole that can really impact your score!

EXAMPLE HOLE-OUT



Grand Savannah — Hole #15: Par 3

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There are at least 4 tee boxes into this tough, elevated island green.  If you have to use a low-lofted club, it’s really hard to carry the green and stick it — you may have to club up to a wood and try to finesse it.  Just as important is neutralizing a side-wind if possible, and remember, if you’re playing a small cut shot, that will also decrease your distance a bit!

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Grand Savannah — Hole #16: Par 5

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You will be tempted to pound your drive out into the grassy pothole dirt area straight ahead, but it’s usually not necessary.  If you get as close to the end of the fairway as you can, you’ll have anywhere from a driver to a 5-wood into the green without too much problem.  If you do have to approach with a driver, anticipate anything coming up short being slowed by the tall grass guarding the front of the green.  Ideally, you want to clear this grass and stick the green, but if you’re coming in low and short, you’ll need a bit more power to fight through that grass!

If you have a closer tee box and a headwind, don’t be too scared of the pothole dirt area past the fairway — it’s usually not bad.  Your best chance at reaching this par 5 in two may be to play a big A1 or C3 shot with roll and hope for at least one good bounce.  Yes, at times, you’ll land right in one of those killer dirt areas and your ball will just die, but go for it!  If you can get just a ways out there before your ball stops, you’ll be long enough to bring in your approach shot to the green without too much hassle.

Again, be careful of coming up short on your approach.  There’s tall grass guarding the front of the green, and if you land there, you’ll have to guess on the power of your chip shot.  I’ve also heard some people are getting “unplayable lie” penalties in this area! Out of tall grass, your ball seems to only go about 2/3 of your distance marker, so use that as a guide to apply anywhere on this course where you get in trouble!

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SLAM DUNK!



Grand Savannah — Hole #17: Par 3

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Death has a new face in Golden Tee 2009, and it comes in the form of a dinky little par 3 on Grand Savannah’s 17th hole.  This is already being called the toughest hole ever created, and with good reason — most people can’t escape without a bogey or much, much worse.  It’s the ultimate round-killer.

So how do you attack this hole then?  Let’s talk through each of the possible setups:
1) Wind at your back — congratulations!  You have a legit chance at birdie, especially if the pin is on the right (which is rare).  A strong wind blows a lofty club quite a ways, so pick a club and a shot that would normally end up short in the water and watch it carry up onto the green.  It’s still crucial to LAND on the green, but with a tailwind, it should hold, giving you a birdie putt!  Don’t use spin.

2) Side wind — awfully difficult, but you have a chance.  A wedge should still hold the green here, so it’s just a matter of nailing the distance.  Remember that a side wind cuts distance quite a bit for loft clubs, so take a shot that would normally hit the hill in the back, and you might be okay!

3) Wind in your face — here’s the round killer.  There aren’t many options.  If you hit a wedge, a few things might happen, and they are all bad.  First, you could go over the hill, leaving you an impossible chip over the hill where the wind will push it right in the water.  Secondly, you end up on the side somewhere and still have to deal with a chip where the wind and slope push the ball into the water.  Third, and most likely, you’ll land short of the top of the hill, where the ball will immediately be sucked into the water.

So what do you do in case 3?  Normally, you stroke limit.  But since you have nothing to lose, you try to learn a new shot.  Take something like a 5-iron and try this — pull it back about halfway, and shoot forward about half-strength with backspin.  The idea is to land on the front of the green and pray that the ball holds.  I have not accomplished this yet, but I’ll let you know when I do.  This shot is so tough because you have to carry water AND not be long because of the hill in the back, which will shoot the ball back down the hill.

However, if you want to protect a good round, play for par using these steps.  First, club way up and aim for the grass/dirt behind the green on the right side.  Landing it here is step one.  Step two is making a small chip with backspin that lands on or just before this fat part of the green, where it will roll down a ways but not all the way to the water.  Step three is making your big-breaking putt!  Even if you two-putt for bogey here, you can bet you’ve done better than most guys playing the hole in this condition, and that should hold your rank in the competition!

Of all holes, this is probably the one where people would like to see YouTube holeouts the most.  But, because of the distance requirements in order to save a holeout on YouTube, no hole-in-ones on this hole will ever qualify! Still, our pal Skipper took a video of his hole-in-one on this hole to help us out — the quality is lacking, but it’s the best we’ve got for now — thanks Skipper!

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Grand Savannah — Hole #18: Par 4

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Did you escape 17 without killing your round completely?  No?  Keep at it — it’s going to take a lot of practice.  You’ll welcome anything after that, and hole 18 should be a birdie to finish your round on a positive note.

The ideal setup is one where you don’t have to use driver off the tee.  The shot has to carry water into an elevated green, and normally a driver won’t have enough loft to clear the river.  If you do have to use driver, try to be long rather than short!  Unfortunately, you’re probably going to have to use roll off the tee, which does two things — first, it will prevent you from being wet because a C3 with roll will skip off the water and onto the green, but secondly, you’re probably going to end up long since your ball will still be sailing along too fast!  Hey, at least you have a chip and a putt for birdie though!

In most cases, you can work a 3-wood backspin with a C3 around the trees.  Be careful on the green too, which is tough!  Eagle is very challenging, so make sure you get that birdie at worst!

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FANTASTIC SHOT
ANOTHER INCREDIBLE SHOT
THANK GOODNESS FOR THE PIN!
CRAZY GOOD SPIN ON THIS ONE