Sunday, May 8, 2011

Course Tour - Hole #18

Hole #18 description on the Kingsley Club web site is here.

Nothing beats an early morning walk to the 1st tee from the cabins via the "warm-up hole" also known as the 18th. 
Here is my commentary from A Fan's Photo Tribute on

#18 is a par four
422 from the gold tee
386 from the blue tee

The 18th hole is somewhat of a transition hole back from the woods to the open ground.  The left side is tree-lined though the woods shouldn't really come into play.  The right side has the wild rough that is found throughout the course, but no trees (I believe it was originally tree-lined on the right side as well.)  As you get closer to the hole, it begins to clear up on the left side as well, bringing the golfer full circle on this excellent journey.

The fairway is extremely lumpy with plenty of rolls from tee to green.  There are a number of spots where the difference between a blind shot to the green vs. a visible one is only a matter of yards.  As one approaches the hole, the fairway begins to funnel in with a few bunkers tightening the approach.  

The green is well protected, both by bunkers, grass, and movement in the green itself.  There are bunkers guarding the front right and also the middle-to-back left section of the green.  Given the length of the hole, the surrounding native grasses must certainly snag a wayward shot or two throughout the course of the day.  Finally, the green begins with an upslope and goes up and over to somewhat of a bowl in the middle section.  There is another up and over near the back.  My impression was that the front and back both play a bit like a domed green, while the middle pin locations would likely be more accessible as some of the contours will funnel the ball toward the hole.

If this hole didn't happen on the tail end of the one of the wildest rides in golf, then it would probably be jaw-dropping.  As it stands, it is a fitting finish to a wonderful day of golf - and a world class back nine in particular.

The golf course at Kingsley Club has it all.  This is a must-play, and once you play the course it quickly becomes a must-return.  I've been hinting to my wife about family vacations in Traverse City since my trip last September.  [Author's Edit: Truly prophetic words since I will be returning frequently for golf trips AND my 2011 family vacation is planned for Traverse City!]

The view from the final tee
From the right side of the fairway
Another view from the fairway, this one from the center
Standing at the front of the green
View of the green with the middle left bunker looming.  The first fairway is in the distance.
Looking back on the green makes the approach appear even tighter than it feels
Looking back on the hole with the entire green surrounds in view.
Standing on the 1st tee provides a nice preview of where the day's magnificent journey will end - the 18th green.
Comments on #18 from Mike DeVries:

"The 18th plays down an undulating valley and across to or back up to a green set in an open amphitheater below the first tees and clubhouse setting.  The landing area rolls dramatically in big waves and then sweeps down to the left valley but many balls stay on the upper part / right side.  Choosing the high road on the right gets you above the green for the left front pins or to carry the big front bunker for pins in the bowl in the back.  I think the valley on the left is a better angle to attack the back right pin positions, and you are looking up at the bowled landform more directly, taking the left bunker more out of play unless you pull it to that side.  A big hitter who takes it down the middle / right middle will usually go over the last big roll and find a flat spot 90-100 yards from the green, but a slight push or fade may find the bunkers or gunch on the right while a pull may end up in an awkward lie in a mowed rough bowl on the left.

The left hillside is very tall and covered with trees, blocking any wind from a southerly direction, and it can be difficult to judge the effect on your ball as it gets past the trees and hill for the last 80-100 yards.  The right hillside between 10 and 18 was originally treed and this really created a tunnel-like effect and re-emergence into the openness of the front nine but the fescue certainly didn’t like it and the transition and blending of the two nines is much better without them.

One of my favorite shots on the course is a low punched iron shot from the high right hillside into the approach, watching it catch the slope off the front left bank and turn into the green– truly a high feeling of satisfaction when pulled off at the end of a round!

The green is a true punchbowl, the third on the course along with the 4th and 5th holes, and relatively small in size at less than 4500 square feet and skinny, angled into the landform from front left to back right.  The front section is domed with a kicker bank off the side of the bowl that goes up to the first tee.  Then the surface sweeps down into a middle bowl with a shelf at the back center of the green.  The right and back right sweeps up into the amphitheater that goes up to the clubhouse and there are frequently chairs or benches there with observers commenting on your play or match as it finishes up – great fun!

PS  I missed your thread before sending mine, George.  You and Ed mentioned that most drives end up down in the valley on the left and that is not my experience.  I would say that at most 50% of the drives are there in a foursome -- in fact, I can't remember 3 out of 4 down there, although I do recall 1 on the right, 1 on the left hill before going over, and 2 in the valley.  The pin position makes a big difference for me where to place the drive and I talked about the advantages above -- George and Tim are correct in that the view from the right (if you are on a crest and not in a trough) is down upon the green, although the back right of the bowl will be blocked by the front bunker and curve of the amphitheater. 

PPS  Many thanks to all for the great comments and discussion!"


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