Friday, April 29, 2011

Course Tour - Hole #2

Hole #2 description on the Kingsley Club web site is here.

The always dangerous 2nd hole from behind the green

Here is my commentary from A Fan's Photo Tribute on

Hole #2 is a par 3
161 from the Gold tee
140 from the Blue tee

As one walks off the first green still astounded at the width of the first hole, the 2nd hits you like a ton of bricks for a couple of reasons.  

The first reason is sensory overload.  You step up to the tee and most of the front nine unfolds before you.   The fifth green is in plain view (and pay sttention because it won't be when you play the 5th!)  The third and fourth fairways lay just beyond the 2nd.  Turn to your right and you can see the knee-knocking 6th tee shot in all its glory.  The entire 1st is sprawled out behind you.  The front nine comes together right here, and yet there's probably a fair chance you won't see another group when standing here.

The second reason is that the 2nd tee shot is terrifying for one of such little distance.  After playing a couple loose shots up the fairway of the first, all of the room to miss is suddenly taken away from you.  Yes, you will be hitting a mid or short iron, but that is no consolation standing on the tee.  You see more long grass and bunkering than you do green.  This is a hole where all but the most adept golfers should aim for the middle and hope for the best.  I can't imagine the shot with the wind howling.  We played in a fairly mild breeze both rounds.

As long as you don't miss short, long, or to either side of this green, you have a good shot to make par.

View from the tee
Also from the tee, but zoomed closer on the green
Front of the green
From behind the green
Another shot looking back on the hole
A skyline view of the 2nd green from the 4th green provides and example of the intimacy of the front nine
Looking at the 6th fairway (on the right) and the 4th fairway (on the left) from the 2nd tee
A view of the 4th fairway (foreground) and the 3rd fairway (background) from the 2nd tee

Comments on hole #2 from Mike DeVries:

"Kingsley was always meant to be a private club with players having the opportunity learn the nuances of the course over multiple playings.  That way the course is always interesting and players get to try new shots based on their abilities that day in combination with the existing elements.  It is also more about match play and not making a score -- that is the standard that most of us play every round, not medal.  Therefore, there are certain ways to approach the game and trying a certain shot may depend on the current match and / or position of your opponent.

The second is an exacting hole but with a short club in your hand.  There are multiple angles of play and I prefer the left side at 138 yards for the back tee -- that is a full wedge or 9-iron for better players -- but it is less visual due to the short donut bunker's lip.  The alignment with the centerline of the green is more direct from the left, whereas the right hand tee (up to 155-162 yards) offers a better view of the approach and green but is on a diagonal to the green centerline, making some of the pins more difficult to hit.  The smart play, no matter where the pin is located, is to the back half of the green, which is 2-2.5 times wider than the front half of the green.  This "safe" concept is applicable to the tee shot as well as recovery plays, but we are often tempted to make the heroic shot to a very tight pin.

One of the things that was hard with the routing of the course was how to get out to the "South 40" which is what I call the land from 2 tee to 7 tee (about 40 acres in size).  This is an amazing section of ground with a lot of natural features that were usable in a number of different ways (there are great holes that were never able to be used due to conflicts with other great holes and were thus eliminated).  The general location of the clubhouse became somewhat evident due to entrance and transfer to front and back nines, so one of the problems was "What is the best way to get to the South 40?"  That is really how #1 became a big-scale par 5 to open and then the small hike up to the 2nd tee, where the South 40 and most of the front nine was visible before you.  So the 2nd tee has a big impact on the overall feeling of the golf course and intimacy of the routing right at the start."

Mike in response to a fun back and forth with Tom Doak on the merits of the 2nd:
"So, how many options does a hole have to have to make it great?  I think one of the strong points of Kingsley in general is the plethora of options on most shots.  The second is a demanding short par three that requires a precise shot with a short iron -- I don't think that makes it bad but maybe doesn't make it great.  In comparison with the 7th at Barnbougle, which I like a great deal and think is wonderful, the safe option there into the hollow is no bargain with the severe upslope to the green (I pitched it up and two-putted for 4 but was close to going over into the bunker left -- and this was in a very mild wind) but the green itself is smaller than KC #2's and the bunker left is more severe.  My guess would be that the wind at Barnbougle is regularly stronger than at Kingsley, but I still think the hole works and is great -- it's straightforward appearance from the tee presents the entire hole quite well, whereas Kingsley's is semi-blind to portions -- maybe that is the problem with the (dis)liking of it from some?

One thing that we have adjusted is the regular rough mowing line, which is now higher up on both the 2nd and 9th holes, therefore not everyone rolls to the same general area, improving recovery lies and often giving players a fluffier lie that allows a wedge to slide under and get the ball up softly -- that has been a small change that improves the chance at recovery"


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