Thursday, May 5, 2011

Course Tour - Hole #12

Hole #12 description on the Kingsley Club web site is here.

Looking back on the 12th
Here is my commentary from A Fan's Photo Tribute on

#12 is a par 4
455 from the gold tee
425 from the blue tee

The tee shot can be tough here.  The yardage can be intimidating on this par 4, though it doesn't play as long as the distance suggests since the tees are elevated well above the fairway.  The fairway has adequate width, but there is some serious trouble awaiting misses on either side.  The left side is wooded.  The right side has some of the longest, most dense rough in play on the course dividing the 12th from the 13th.  I'm painfully aware of how tall and thick the junk is in this area.  I walked directly through it when I sent a tee shot wild right on the 13th hole (coming back toward the 12th.)  I then got to experience this journey again after the round ended when I realized that one of my head covers fell off in this area.  My golf towel still had some seeds, thorns, and clingy things from the trip a year after the trip.

The fairway has some nice rolls and turbo boost areas to further help the distance challenge on the hole.  For me, the real joy of this hole is the approach and green site.  The green site appears to be naturally nestled in the surroundings.  The scene is visually appealing to me, particularly from behind the green looking back on the hole.  

The green feels tiny in comparison to what will follow on the 13th, but it has interesting movement.  It is a great "ground game green" and as we've discussed on the front nine this is a ground game course.  The course is set up fast and firm, so running the ball up to the target is often the preferred approach.  To the right of the green is some mowed grass that will funnel the hot runner back toward the green, yet the front right and middle right of the green will spill the ball back off the green, so the ball must have enough momentum to run to the back in order to take advantage of this "spill it toward the green" feature.   Likewise, the left side of the green appears receptive to shots that just miss the putting surface as there is a slope on that side.  While I'm probably not describing this accurately, the green feels like it is crowned, yet in a bowl.  Many of the surrounds seem to filter the ball toward the green, but the edges of the green appear inclined to filter shots away.  I walked away with the impression that it was very possible for many approaches that landed on the edges of the green to finish off the green while approaches that use the surrounds appropriately may come to rest on the green.

This is one of my favorite par 4s on the course, which is really saying something.  12 and 13 is probably my favorite back-to-back combo on the course.    

View from the tee
Closer view from the same tee box
From the middle of the fairway but still a long way from the green

From the fairway a little closer to the green
Looking back on one of my favorite green complexes on the course.
A better view of the entire green site

One more picture taken from the walkway on the way to the 13th tee
Comments on hole #12 from Mike DeVries:

"The twelfth’s setting in its own valley certainly garners many accolades from golfers for its scenic beauty, particularly in autumn with the colors out.  Of course, the elevated tee also wins points, as most golfers like that, and it flows down into the valley with a gentle curve and culminates in a green saddled by hillsides – it is a very inviting look.  The fairway is narrower than all at Kingsley except for the pinch on the 10th but the valley nature of the land makes it very forgiving for a slight misdirection.  

The heavy rough on the right sees a lot of play, due to it being on the inside of the small dogleg the hole possesses and the preferred shot into the green is easier from the right side of the hole.  The right hillside is very steep and not mowable with riding mowers (it is dangerous even for a dozer) so mowing it down to allow a ball to release to the fairway is not going to be an option, nor do I think it should, as a decent accurate drive will bound down the fairway and leave a mid-iron approach to the bunkerless green.  I have found it rare to not find a ball on the hillside, as it is long enough to hold balls but not too thick to make it impossible to find and play down to the fairway.

The left hillside at the green is difficult to gauge for balls to release from and stay on the green, hence the running draw at the front center is a great approach shot.  Balls played through the “valley of sin” on the right can be effectively run up and drift onto the green for a back right pin.  The green itself is long and narrow, with lots of subtle pin locations and often players will read a break going one way when it goes opposite  – not sure if that is an optical illusion or a tendency due to the valley nature of the hole and what is perceived as the logical break.  A very fun hole!"

Comments on the ground game at Kingsley, in response to comments from others:
"I like to bounce the shot into #1 off the right hillside, either on the approach or for recovery shots around the green, and often play it long and running to come back down to a pin due the steepness in the back.  I also use the running approach on holes 3, 4, and 5 (almost exclusively here).  #6 looks like a running approach is good but it is difficult to pull off, although you can bounce a soft cut approach off the right front to settle on the green, but not the preferred shot to get close there.  7, 8, and 9 have recovery shots that can all benefit from a creative ground game, but don't lend themselves as much on the approach shots.

I agree the back has more ground game approaches: 10, 11 for the left side safe play, 12, 13 depending on what you are trying to do and where you put your drive, 14, 15 although it is very difficult no matter what play you are attempting, 16 - a great one to watch from 17T, and 18 off the front left shoulder if you are in a bad position or facing a stiff wind (I love a punch 5-iron into the front approach and watch it curl into the middle bowl).

When I also think about the ground game, I don't only think in terms of the approach shot, but the drive, second shot, recovery shots, etc. that can utilize the firm, fast turf that Dan Lucas has perfected at Kingsley -- it gives every play an opportunity to use the ground for good or bad results and set up the next play.  And because of this, the contour of the land at Kingsley has an impact on every shot and the best players take that into consideration with each stroke."



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