Friday, April 29, 2011

Course Tour - Hole #1

Hole #1 description on Kingsley Club web site is here.

The view from the first tee never grows old.  Shown here on a day when the sun and clouds were cooperating.

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

Hole #1 is a par 5
589 from the Gold tee
568 from the Black tee

Your day at Kingsley is jump-started with this power-packed par 5.  From the first view of the hole from the clubhouse to the trek across the 18th green to the tee... from the options on the tee to the magnificent green... this is a great start.

I was fortunate enough to play the morning round with Mike DeVries.  The first official gca question of the day was "This is really cool looking.  Is the lower left fairway really a reasonable option?"  Standing on the tee it looked like a no brainer to play to the right side of the bunkers.  It seemed like there was plenty of width and the view and approach to the green would certainly be superior from the high ground.  Not to mention that if you really plugged one from the right tee it looked reasonable to expect that you might get over the hill and enjoy a splendid turbo boost.  I'll tell you that no matter what Mike responded there was no way I was going to be aimed anywhere but right.  I got off the tee reasonably well in the right side of the fairway, confirming (based on a sample size of one) that the right side was the right play.  

Well, that afternoon I got a second crack at the hole.  The wind was blowing a little harder our way.  I'm a lefty that generally hits a fade (on a good day) off the tee.  I faded my second effort right into the nasty bunker pits from Hell.  After a couple shots extracting myself from the bunkers, proceeding to make a triple bogey eight to open the round, and determining that there was no way I was ever going to reach that green in two anyhow, I was sold on the fact that the left side was a reasonable option for me.  It's a safer play for someone that hits the ball right to left.  If you don't hit the ball far enough to roll over the mountain or to reach the green in two, then consider the left side a valid option.  Just accept that when you stand on that tee for the first time, you too will take the right side option whether or not it is the correct play for you.  Given a third shot at this hole, I'd probably still hit to the right side even though it doesn't make the most sense.

While the bunkers get all the attention from the tee, the entire fairway serves as a great preview of what the course has in store for the golfer.  The movement is wonderful throughout, and the golfer would obviously benefit from multiple plays here.  It's a fantastic members course, but playable and enjoyable for the guest as well.

The first green holds plenty of interest as well, though the golfer has no idea what's in store for him on the green complexes to come.  The first is a memorable starting hole that in my opinion must be considered alongside great opening par 5s like those found at Sand Hills and Spyglass.

Thanks in advance to John Mayhugh for supplementing my photo collection.  The tour I will present is a combined effort. 

The view from the clubhouse
A view from the tee
Widescreen view from the tee

If your tee shot creeps back down the fairway you may be left with this intimidating second shot over the mini-mountain
Looking down from the right side of the fairway
The approach - with a long way left to get home
The approach from closer to the hole
One more view of the approach from a similar angle
A look from the side of the green reveals the severe contours
One more angle that shows off the movement in the green
Widescreen look back on the 1st hole from the 2nd tee
Comments on hole #1 from Mike DeVries:
"The fairway and bunkers in total for the first landing area is 110 yards wide -- it gets aggressively narrower the longer you hit it, but with the firm conditioning and slot off the right hill, it offers the really big hitter a great opportunity to get it close enough to hit the green in two.  The left side is a very good options for shorter hitters, particularly those who are playing off the forward tees, as it stays below the wind more and can help those who slice into the hill.  The trees at the end actually improve the risk/reward option of the left side by demanding a harder second shot (and subsequently longer third) for someone who overcooks their drive and ends up left and close to the trees.  I definitely think the right side is the preferred line, but the left is a viable option for many reasons."

When asked why there were no bunkers on the left side where the fairway cuts in for the 2nd shot approach:
"There are lots of bunkers on the hole and course -- the ridge doesn't really need bunkers to enhance it and I think the long rough is enough of a hazard."

When asked about the difficulty of the long grass surrounding the center bunkers that challenge the tee shot:
"That [losing a ball] is certainly an irregular occurrence -- it is not easy but it is unusual to lose a ball in there.  The intention throughout the golf course is for the bunkers to tie in ruggedly with the surrounding landscape, so having long grass is not against the design.  In some instances, the turf can get a bit too thick but, for the most part, the ball is findable and playable.  There is plenty of open play space on the hole and having a hazard severe is okay in my mind."


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