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Monday, May 2, 2011

Course Tour - Hole #6

Hole #6 description on the Kingsley Club web site is here.


The view from the left side of the fairway on the 6th is one that will become familiar to many golfers at Kingsley Club
Here is my commentary from A Fan's Photo Tribute on Golfclubatlas.com:


The 6th hole is a par 4
396 from the Gold tee
373 from the Blue tee


Another hole that can leave the golfer confused on the tee.  No good place to hit the ball.  Unlike some of the other holes that come before this one, I actually found this tee shot more intimidating the 2nd time around.  In our morning match, the group was 0 for 4 on finding the fairway.  In our afternoon match, the group was 0 for 5.  The morning shots were hit from close to the back tees.  The afternoon shots were hit closer to the 373 marker.  


Only one part of the fairway is really visible from the tee, and that part is of no use to the golfer.  Land your ball in front of that first giant mound and I can only imagine the difficulty of the approach from there!  To have a chance to keep your ball in the fairway, I think you need to hit your tee shot dangerously close to the row of bunkers on the right edge of the fairway, or be very long off the tee (the closer you get to the green, the less extreme the right to left sloping becomes.)  I aimed at the bunkers, figuring to fade the ball a little left, and hit a dead pull right into the trash.  Mike DeVries graciously volunteered to hit his ball that way as well, and off we went to look for our balls together.


If you aim at the middle of the fairway, your ball will surely roll hard left.  The ball will almost certainly be completely out of the fairway and the slope is extreme enough that balls landing in the middle or left of the fairway could roll far enough left to be in some pretty tough long grass.  The best tee shot, for those with the ability to play it, would probably be a shot struck with left-to-right movement that lands into the banked part of the fairway.  From the tips, the tee shot is even more intimidating than the blue tees as the carry over the bunkers begins to look questionable to the one-time player.


The hole also provides a very different option and feel from a tee that plays around 300 yards.  I suspect the green is drivable from this tee in the right wind for the longer hitter, which wuld be an interesting variation for a match.  Not only is the hole shorter, but it plays from a different angle.  The fairway is much more visible and looks to be much more receptive from this tee.  I wouldn't recommend sacrificing your one shot to play the hole from the back tees to run up and play from the front, but with repeated plays I could see the allure of playing from the front tee from time to time. 


Following punchbowl green, the crowned 6th green feels even smaller than it looks.  Bunker await in the right, and a steep chipping area falls off to the left.  Like many others on the site, I could see this green complex giving someone fits.


This is a fun hole to play, and yet another good par 4 on the front nine.  While this was one of the holes I was better prepared for prior to the round (I had seen more photos of this hole than probably any other on the course) it was even more confounding and demanding off the tee than I expected.


View from the back tee


View from the middle tee
A very different look from the front tee
Closer look at the wild humps in the fairway and the bunkers from the angle of the back and middle tees
View of the approach.  The right to left slope of the fairway is evident here.
View slightly closer to the green as the fairway begins to level off
The front of the green showing the slope
View from behind looking back at the green and fairway
Another angle from behind showing how the green plays smaller than its size
The green as seen from the 4th tee.  The fall off left of the green can be seen from this angle.
One more view of the green and bunkering from above and to the right of the green
Comments on hole #6 from Mike DeVries:


"I find this the most difficult drive on the course, as the comfortable carry distance from the back tee is 220+ to carry the second hump and use the big R to L slope to feed the ball down into the flat for a short iron in.  The newer blue tee in front of the back tees makes this quite a bit more doable, as it is 30-35 yards shorter.  The original blue tee was set with the tee boxes on #2, which is a much different look, more inviting and just slightly shorter at 350 yards than the current 360 blue tee.  For events, it is much easier to move people around with the new blue tee and it has been well-received.  I really like the open feel and clear look at the banked fairway from #2 or the forward tees on #6 for a change and the shorter hitters or less confident strikers of the ball -- just another fun way to play it.

A consideration (and in the original drawing) for the green was near the big rock that is on the hillside behind the green, making the hole play about 465 (this is also a possible location for an alternate tee on #4 that was mentioned earlier in the thread).  This was a brutally difficult hole, as the narrow approach gap restricted a view of the faraway green to a very small area in the fairway, and that was a really big strike to have any chance of getting home in two, as the valley behind the current green made it all carry to the far green.  I pulled the green back to its current position and am glad I did -- much more diverse and reasonable to play, but still causing food for thought on recovery shots around the green or from a bad lie.

The optical illusion of the approach shot gets a lot of players, as the slight crown 25-35 yards short and in the narrow gap between the bunkers makes the green appear to be right behind it.  Even knowing the yardage doesn't guarantee you can commit to it.  The kicker at the right front is not visible but can be used to advantage, particularly if you are coming in from the left, where your approach will be softened a bit versus from the right which can propel it over the side.

The mass of bunkers in the 2 dunescapes just kind of evolved and I kept building them until it looked right.  I never intended to build 26 bunkers on one hole (that is really pretty ridiculous!), but that is what it came out to be and it looks right for the hole.

The green has some subtleness to it, with some of the breaks very difficult to read --remember that the back right slopes away!

One of my favorite views of the hole is looking at it from #4 tees and often a first-time player will ask what the yardage is to the par 3!  It's a great way to check out where the pin is for later in the round.  There is a great par 3 of about 195 yards from #4 tee to a green site left of the back tee on #7 that I have always liked, but it didn't fit in with other holes . . . maybe someday we could build it as an alternate . . ."

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