Archives for the ‘Featured Holes’ Category

New Category — GTF Featured Holes!

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Every week or two, I’d like to put focus on a specific hole that may be giving some of us lesser players some difficulty.  For most of these, I’ll pose the question to the pros in the GT community to see how they are attacking the specific hole, and then I’ll bring the results to you!  Whether it be a new landing spot on a par 5 or an approach into a par 4 that you hadn’t considered before, I’m hoping that discovering more about these featured holes will help shave some strokes off our games!

Click here to go to the Featured Holes category, which you can also find in the normal Categories section on the right.  We’ll start with Bella Toscana Hole #5, a par 5 that had been very difficult for me to eagle until I learned of a great new layup spot off the drive that makes it much easier to eagle!

Check back here every week or two for a new featured hole, or sign up for our newsletter by entering your name and email on the home page — you’ll get notified every time important new information is added!

Southern Oaks — Hole #16: Par 3

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This is a really tough par 3 that most of us aren’t going to be able to birdie on a regular basis.  You have to have a low-lofted club, and you usually have to cut into the slope of the green, or else you’re going to be wet.  In fact, if it weren’t for this hole, a lot more people would be playing the club set with a 7-wood and 9-wood!  Most of the time, you’ll want a small A1-type cut shot with backspin, so that the backspin helps the ball up away from the water.  Here’s a great shot from the middle box following this lead.

There are exceptions, depending on wind, rain, and pin placement, so study the setup.  For example, here’s a great hole-out from the back box with backspin, shot right at the hole, that settles perfectly in the hole because of how the rain kills the roll in 2010.  And here’s a hole-out from the front box that worked with the pin on the back left, where the ball worked its way towards the flag.  Finally, here’s a hole-out from the middle box, where the wind blowing to the right helped keep the ball on the right side of the green.

If you’re stucking playing a 7-wood into this green because you don’t have low-lofted clubs, then you might have to get creative.  Clubbing up to a 5-wood and playing a 3/4 cut shot into the green is one option.  Another is to try to settle in the bunker closest to the pin with the intent of chipping on and putting for par.  Neither of these options is easy, and it’s still hard to keep a chip shot from rolling into the water.  This hole is most devastating with a big right-to-left wind, which makes it incredibly difficult to hold the green either off the tee or with your chip!

Here’s another tip offered up by Hotrod:  “If you have a strong wind blowing left and the distance has you at a wood, turn right one from the pin. Pull straight back to B, maybe a little left, then throw it out to the 1 with backspin. It will talke a few tries to figure out the distance but it will work great. The way you are throwing it with backspin will make the ball spin up the break of the green.”

Bella Toscana — Hole #5: Par 5

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Most guys are always laying up in the same spot, every time, on this hole.  It’s towards the end of the fairway, just left of the orange bush straight ahead.  From here, you can hit either a 3-wood or 4-wood over the hill and under the tree on top of that hill right at the green!  Here’s an example hole-out with a 4-wood from that spot.  You can carry more distance on this approach because it plays slightly downhill, so your 3-wood can usually carry 300 yards without issue.  Just make sure you don’t go too far and end up in the rough — it’s better to be back just a bit in the fairway than too long!  Or, if you get just a bit too far left for your liking, you can still go the traditional route around the left — here’s a nice 3-wood.

If the pin is in the back left, or if there’s a strong headwind, you might consider laying up in the rough to the right just over the water.  You can either hit a straight shot or an A1-type shot into this area off the tee.  The approach shot is not as tough as you might think from here, because the rough seems to be “thinner”, allowing you still to shape a shot without losing much distance.  Still, be careful of the elevation and the hill guarding your approach, because short or right can mean water!  This tee shot got far enough to have an unimpeded shot under the tree!  And this one was way out there but almost had trouble with the elevated green.  Finally, check out this unbelievable roll up and over the hill!

The conventional route is to the left edge of the fairway, but this leaves the most difficult approach shot, because you have to shape the shot and also avoid the thin trees guarding the green.  Here’s a great 5-wood from there!

Finally, if you’re fortunate enough to get a tee box that allows you to carry the water to the second fairway, you can end up with a very easy approach shot for eagle!  From the tee box on the left, you can sometimes carry the water — here’s a 5-wood hole-out after clearing the river.  Don’t expect an A1 driver to clear the river easily though — that wall can certainly block a low-lofter.  Also, there’s another much closer tee box up and left from here (normally only available in casual play, but it can come up in live play!).  Here’s a hole-out from there after the drive. This tee box may also make this hole driveable!

Bella Toscana — Hole #14: Par 4

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Believe it or not, this hole is driveable from almost any setup.  Read on!

If you’re on the far right box, a 5-wood can get over the corner of the house to the green with a minor C3-type shot — here’s an example. Better yet, if you’re towards the back of this box, the 5-wood goes straight over.

If you’re on the middle-left box, you can take a 5-wood, or even a 4-wood, pretty much straight over towards the green, or with a small curve around the corner.

From the back box is where you get creative.  The most common way of attacking the green from here is to rotate left and play an A1 driver with roll around the corner, skipping across the water if needed!  Or you can still try the traditional route, where a driver can get under that last tree and skip onto the green, like this amazing shot!

Even if you don’t think you can reach the green, try to get your drive on the hill towards the back-right of the green.  You can sometimes get lucky and kick towards the green, but even if you stick up on the hill, you can often times putt from up there!  Check out how this shot rolled back down the hill into the hole!

Monument Valley — Hole #5: Par 5

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This is a tough eagle, especially being a par 5 on the front 9!  You’ll want to get your tee shot out far and left towards the end of the fairway, but that’s not so easy to do.  The best way is to play a C3 shot so that you’re heading to your landing area from the proper angle.  Blasting a straight B2 doesn’t always work, because being short or long puts you in the gully, and you may not be able to get it as far left as you like.  Practice the C3 shot off the tee here to see how much angle you need to apply in each unique situation.  Even roll, backspin, or nothing will vary depending on your tee box and the wind.  It’s okay to be a bit aggressive, because if you don’t get far enough left, it will be much harder to cut a shot into the green.

From there, you’ll be cutting an A1-type driver shot through the rocky gate towards the green.  Other shots will have to be smoothly shaped through the gap.  For best results, picture the shot in your head.  First apply the cut that’s needed on your backswing, and then determine how much towards A you need to shoot to safely clear the gap.  Remember that full A1s add distance to your shot, so use your thumbs to control that.  Finally, picture whether or not you need backspin to hold the green from that angle.  This is a tough shot, so keep practicing!  Check out this ridiculous dunk.

I bet you never considered going through this gap on the top of the gate!

Another more difficult option is to lay up to the right and come around the right side of the mountain.  You’ll have another hill to deal with by the right side of the green, but check out the awesome kick that this ball got! Here’s a clean, sick look from there, giving you something to consider if the tee box and wind make the normal route tough!

There’s also a tee box out left (only available in casual play) that allows you to carry into the second fairway for an unimpeded approach shot into the green in 2 — here’s a hole-out from there.

Monument Valley — Hole #9: Par 4

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From the front box, you’ll want to cut a driver or a 2-iron underneath the rocky gate towards the green.  Use backspin, and you will often be skimming over the the hill in front of the green, but it won’t stop you from making the green.  Just try to control your distance, especially when using driver.  Here’s one that deflects perfectly towards the pin!  Another option is to go to the left of the gate if the pin is on the left side of the green — here’s evidence that a 5-wood can go under and around, still getting back to the pin!  If you’re any farther back in this tee box, though, don’t try the 5-wood — it won’t get under.

Here’s a driver underneath from the front of the back box.  Another note — those coyotes can be in the way if you’re skimming along the top of that rock, and you can get unlucky by hitting one and having your ball shoot off in another direction.  That sucks, but don’t go out of your way just to try to avoid them, because hitting one is rare.  This one actually went right through two of them and after a couple skips dunks in a back cup!

From the middle or back of the back box, you can pound a 5-wood right over the top — here’s an example! If you’re worried about clearing the top, you can still cut a driver through the gap.  Backspin or not depends on the wind and the pin placement.

Finally, there’s a tee box way out left (only available in casual play) that offers you a straight shot at the green — here’s a hole-out with a driver from there.

Monument Valley — Hole #16: Par 4

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From the front box, you may just have a small curve around the mountain into the green.  Here’s a perfect hole-out with a 5-wood. And here’s another one that needed more hook because of the left pin.

From the back boxes, you see a tee shot similar to #7 and #14.  This one is much more difficult because the wall extends farther down the fairway, and the penalty for a miss is usually water!  Sometimes it will just seem impossible to hit the green off the tee, so there may be situations where you just want to lay up.

Another idea that will take some experimentation is the bank shot off the wall of the canyon that envelops this green.  It’s risky, but the reward could be an eagle putt!  Here’s a perfect bank-shot driver from the middle-right box!  And here’s another amazing cut-shot backspin driver that skips off the water into the hole!  Finally, this bank shot works perfectly with the pin placement.

Here’s a perfect 3-wood from the back-left box — look how close it comes to skimming the wall!

Finally, if the wind is blowing towards the green, you can get a nice little skip off the wall, like this amazing shot!

Get creative and you might think up bank shots off the back wall to bounce back towards front pins.

Here’s a crazy one for fun, but it’d be more fun if the player changed the camera angle!  And this one is even better — amazing!  How about another double-banker — crazy.  Oh what fortuitous bounces.  And just WOW on this one.

I can’t believe this 4-banker — one of the best yet!

Another one for fun from the fairway — ha!

The Great Wall — Hole #4: Par 5

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The square landing spot is not where you should be aiming.  If you’ve got the red distance balls, just pound your driver straight ahead into the rough — you’ll still be able to get on in 2 easily.

Otherwise, you can play an A1 or C3 into other parts of the rough.  The rough in front of the square patch is a good place to be, but there are a couple obstacles that could give you an unlucky break.

Perhaps a more consistent place to be is to the right of the big tower you see ahead of you.  Pounding a drive out here leaves no obstacles but a slightly longer approach — still, this is probably the safest play.

Here’s an example holeout from the square patch if you insist!