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Sunday, May 8, 2011

Course Tour - Hole #17

Hole #17 description on the Kingsley Club web site is here.

Looking back on the 17th from the rough behind the hole


Here is my commentary from A Fan's Photo Tribute on Golfclubatlas.com:



Hole #17 is a par 5
522 from the gold tee
476 from the blue tee


I can only imagine playing this course, not knowing anything about this hole, and walking up the fairway for the first time.  It must be shocking for those that don't know what looms ahead.  Even having seen pictures and having a decent sense for what awaited, I was blown away by the scale of the hole.  We've talked about scale and proportion quite a bit throughout this thread, but this one must be seen in order to believe it.  The immense 1st hole feels "small" in scale when compared to the 17th.


I'll leave it to Mike to comment on the actual dimensions, but I'll speculate with the following estimates - the fairway must be over 100 yards wide with the new clearing, the elevation change must be at least 50 - 75 feet, and the % grade at which the decline occurs is quite likely more severe than anything you've seen in a par 5 fairway.  Think roller coaster - not like we casually throw the term around, but in the sense of a real roller coaster.


The tee shot encourages the golfer to swing free, but there is trouble to be found in the form of bunkers short and right on the fairway and also in the form of bunkers that guard what used to be the left side of the fairway but now sit squarely in the center of the widened fairway.  From the tee, all the golfer can see is the end of elevated portion of the fairway and then some trees much further in the distance.   The fairway appears to end in mid-air.  For the big hitter, the drop-off is reachable from the blue tees, and for the bomber I am sure the cliff comes into play from the tips as well.  For me, the mega-boost is out of play from the tips, and MIGHT come into play on my best drive out of 10 from the blue tees.


The fairway then drops rather quickly into a valley.  I suspect many course designers would have used this elevation change to create the obligatory drop-shot par 3.  As you run down the fairway (or roll down like a child if you so choose) and then look back up to the top of thse hill, you can't help but be pleased to find something so different spread across this glorious terrain.  The fairway then swings back uphill (though not to the same elevation) to the green site.


The path to the green bottlenecks around 50 yards out.  A bunker awaits on the left side well short of the green to capture stray attempts at making a run for the green in two.  For those laying just short of this bunker, the half-wedge approach becomes a severely uphill shot to somewhat of a skyline green depending upon the position of your approach.  There is also a series of greenside bunkers on the right and one in the back right requiring precision from any location.  The green, like so many others on the course is interesting with plenty of good pin locations available.


From the tee
Zoomed in from the tee.  The fairway in view here is the "original" fairway.  The new fairway now extends almost and equal amount left of the bunkers pictured at the left edge of this photo.
View of the fairway from the top of the hill.  In 2008, the new left side of the fairway was still growing in.
View of the green and the surrounds from above.
Looking back up the fairway from down below.
A closer view of the bunkers and green complex
From this point the green nearly transforms to a skyline (except for a few trees).  The half-wedge approach is mostly blind.
Looking back at this massive hole from the green

An updated photo of the 17th from 2010 with the split fairway fully functional.  The blind "tongue" of thick rough in the middle of the fairway (seen at the top center here) is perhaps the only maintenance decision I'd disagree with on the entire course.  I think the golfer should be rewarded for directly carrying the bunkers from the tee.
Comments on #17 from Mike DeVries:


"Thanks for this great thread -- what a great discussion of the course and I really appreciate hearing all the comments.

As to the width of the fairway, I believe the new expanded 17th is about 65-70 yards wide at its widest, whereas the first's maintained cut is 110 yards wide with the bunkers in the middle of the drive.  Maybe the 17th "feels" wider due to the relative narrowness of holes 15 and 16?  The fairway on the 14th is 80 yards wide at the landing area over the bunkers and the maintained turf on hole 13 is 80 yards wide, with the fairway cut about 65 yards.

I think the drop in elevation from the landing area ridge down to the bottom of the valley is about 65 feet.  (I am on the road and don't have a topo to check the data.)"



In response to my surprise at his comment that the fairway was only 65-70 yards wide:
"I was out at Kingsley with Dan Lucas today, looking at the fairway cut and bunker finishing for the left side of the fairway . . . and a correction is in order.  From right to left, the right fairway is 40 yards wide at the landing area just short of the ridge, in line with the middle bunkers, then 20 yards of bunkers and rough, then 25 yards to the left bunker.  If you go back a little closer to the tee, it is 38 yards of fairway, 20 yards of bunker/rough, then 40-45 yards of fairway, with a complete width of about 105-110 yards between the outer native rough areas.  Short of the middle bunkers it is probably 85-90 yards of fairway -- I didn't pace that section.

Down the hill, it is 80-85 yards wide at the bottom and pinching in tighter as you get closer to the bunker short of the approach.  I didn't pace the section just short of the bunker, probably about 50 yards wide."

 

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