Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Course Tour - Hole #7

Hole #7 description on the Kingsley Club web site is here.

A look at the 7th green site from across the course
Here is my commentary from A Fan's Photo Tribute on

#7 is a par 5
569 from the gold tee
512 from the blue tee

We haven't had any partially blind or somewhat confusing tee shots on the front nine yet, have we?  Chalk up one more, and then repeat exercise on #8.

This is a wild hole, starting with the view on the tee.  Visually, the hole appears to be even longer than it really is thanks to the way that #8 fairway appears to be part of the playing surface unless you really focus.  The hole winds back and forth, both left and right as well as up and down, on its way from the tee to the green.

For my game, this is nothing but a pure 3-shotter and each shot should be played with anticipation for the next.  I suppose this could be a 2-shotter for the big hitters, but I'll let them chime in because I'm not even sure where you'd position your tee shot to have a good go at the green in two.

For me, the play was left off the tee and then right with the second shot.  I didn't want to hang my drive out to the right in the scrubby rough and from the back tees didn't feel like going a little left would cut me off.  In the afternoon round, when we played the blue tees, you had to watch going left a little closer as you could definitely bunch yourself behind some trees cutting off your angle of attack for the second shot.  

The first time you walk down to the landing area in the fairway, this hole gets even more confusing.  The second shot is likely blind, and both distance and left/right are important.  Hit it too far and you might land down in the valley with yet another blind shot up to the green.  Lay back just enough and you should have a wedge or short iron in hand with a nice view of the putting surface.

The front left of the green is a bowl, and this is the pin we faced.  As long as your distance control is good on the approach, the ball should funnel in to this position.  Hit it long and you are faced with a nasty downhill putt.  Leave it just a little short and left and the bunker is your reward.  Miss short and right and you will likely tumble back further short and right.  There are additional bunkers guarding the right and rear of the green.

I walked off this hole feeling like it might be one of the more criticized holes on the front nine, but I rather enjoyed it.  It's a par 5 that may result in three consecutive blind shots, which is a bit quirky, but there is enough room for error out there that I think it works, especially for repeated play.

Another adventurous tee shot on the front nine
View from the slightly more forward tee
A look at the fairway walking off the tee.  Here you can also really see the 8th hole and the visual deception.  The 7th green is on the far right of the photo.  Everything toward the top left of the picture is part of the 8th.
View from the fairway near the landing area
Approach from the left side
Approaching from the middle - a couple more peaks and valleys to go before the green
One more view from the fairway with only one valley left
View of the bunker guarding the front of the green
A ground level view of the green from the front - you can really see the contour that divides the front bowl from the back 
Another shot of the green
Looking back on the hole from behind the green
View of the green from up on the 8th tee
A view of the 7th green (with the 8th fairway and green behind) taken from the 6th tee
Comments on hole #7 from Mike DeVries:

"The thing about the seventh is the change in the view of the golf course and feeling with each shot on the hole.  From the back tee, you get a view of part of every hole on the front nine and your last look at the “South 40.”  Then you focus on the drive and get a view of the 7th, 8th, and some of the 9th in the distance.  It certainly looks longer than 545 yards, but is just the continuation of holes beyond the 7th.

The drive is restricted visually but has quite a bit more room to the left than appears from the tee.  The big hitter is restricted by the pine trees in the distance – this presents a very distinct choice for them: do you try to take a driver at the right edge of the rough line and use the hill to kick the ball past the trees for a go at the green in two (but blind) from about 220-230 yards, play as tight to the trees as possible for a second of 250-270 yards to the green, or play very safe short of the trees without a chance at getting home in two?  The tough part is deciding how to play the hole before hitting the drive and I think that is the detraction for some players, but it is good course management that wins the hole in the end.

I like the extreme openness of the tee shot from on high, where much of the front nine is visible, and its contrast with the second shot, where the golfer is secluded in a bowl below the rest of the front and with a blind shot (although there is much information to know where to hit your second, once you have played the course).  The flow of the golf course is pertinent and takes a different turn here, but one that is natural in the return to the clubhouse and finish of the outward nine.

The second shot represents more choices: go for the green, lay up to the plateau 100-130 yards from the green, or play into the bowl that would be 75-45 yards from the green.  The choice to go for the green is really only a reality for the biggest hitters.  I think the plateau represents the best chance at a controlled wedge or short iron into the pin location of the day but some prefer to be closer in the bowl but with less visibility to the green surface.

The putting green has three or four different zones, depending on how you look at it: the left bowl at the lowest elevation, the right side which bends around into the back center right at a medium elevation, and the back left pin at the highest elevation.  Each pin presents a different angle of attack versus safe play option and that is why I prefer the approach from the plateau for my third shot, but that is just my preference.

On a personal note, this green is the first time I four-jacked one of my own creations!  In the inaugural club championship, I hit my approach to the left bowl on the green, but the pin was on the back left, well above my position.  I didn’t hit my first putt hard enough and it came back to my feet.  The next one I got up on the plateau but I two-putted from there for the four-jack – the guys still remind me of it to this day – such is life!!!!"

"The transition from the high South 40 back to the start had to have an elevated tee shot with a big view and this was the natural transition, as the other way off the plateau was too long and had to deal with the wetland in the middle of the property, and I wanted to stay away from that for ecological reasons and there was a lack of width for much of that corner of the property.  There was also a great high point where the back tee rests, but with a ridge across the area where the forward tee no rests -- this needed to be cut to provide for a visual down to the 7th fairway and beyond and is about 25% of the dirtwork on the property.  What was nice about the big, open view up top was countered with the enclosed view below and I like the contrast of them right after each other to create a little change in the flow of the course -- it is definitely different and really worked out well and in conjunction with the 2 big sinkholes on the left and last one in the approach.  It provided for a nice change of pace and a different type of par 5 than the 1st, 14th, or 17th (probably the most similar, just because of the big downhill in the middle of the hole, but originally very tight and enclosed by trees)."

In response to a question that was prompted by Mike's comments about dirtwork on the property:
"Not much dirt was moved on the site period --  20,000 yards on the golf course + robbing 10,000 yards from another area on the property for green and tee mix, total.  I am not counting shaping a green or tee or cutting a bunker by pushing the dirt around in that localized area, so you could count more dirt for that, but that is minimal, as the soil structure was left intact and prepped for seeding -- we didn't strip topsoil, shape everything, and move the dirt back -- why mess up great material and Mother Nature's great handiwork?"


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