Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Course Tour - Hole #9

Hole #9 description on Kingsley Club web site is here.

Looking back at the green, with most of the teeing options in view
Here is my commentary from A Fan's Photo Tribute on

#9 is a par 3
There are two sets of tees, the southern set and the western set.
The scorecard lists the gold tee as 171 and the blue tee as 128.
The web site lists the gold as 157 and the blue as 133. 
I am not sure from which set of tees those yardages are taken.
My recollection is that the yardage on the hole played shorter from the western tee.

The green is a bit of a boomerang, with a wing branching out toward each tee.  The tee shot is mostly carry from either tee, though the carry sholdn't really be an issue.  The unfortunate player who fails to make the carry - likely due to nerves - is left with an extremely difficult recovery.  Much of the inside of the boomerang is protected by bunkers.  The outside of the boomerang needs no such defense due to the shape of the land.  

The day we played the course, the pin was set out on the wing of the green nearest to the south tee.  We played the south tee in the morning and the west tee in the afternoon.  The tee shot to this pin location was sufficiently terrifying from both tee sets in my opinion.

From the south tee, the south portion of the green looks like a tiny sliver.  There is no margin for error right or left, though the best miss may well be left in the bunker.  Missing right will kick the bal away from the green.  Missing long and right will leave a nearly impossible up and down, as I discovered the hard way.

From the west tee, the south portion of the green still looks like a sliver.  The green is built so that landing on the west portion of the green will still allow a putt to go around the corner.  Landing here is is probably the safest best, unless you choose to opt for the previously mentioned bunker.  There is an additional option from the west tee, and that is missing slightly left where the hill should send the ball back down to the green.  

While the overall green size feels sizeable, the shape makes it play much smaller.  This is one of the most demanding holes of this length I've played.  It requires nothing but precision on the tee shot and all shots that follow.  A blow-up 'X' is definitely a possibility here.  A real match-swinger at the turn.

The divine back nine awaits!

Author's edit - On my second trip to Kingsley in 2010, we played a variety of pin positions and tees on this hole.  The hole can play anywhere from 100 to 170 yards.  I can also confirm that the "west wing" of the green is a bit more receptive to scoring that the south side of the green, at least from my limited experiences.
The intimidating view from the South tee
It is not a good idea to miss short from the South tee.  Check the wind and make sure you've got enough club.  Oh, and don't forget to execute the shot!
The less intimidating (??) view from the West tee
A closer look from the West tee
Another look from the west - at green level
A look at the green from the west edge
A look from behind shows the difficult angle that awaits one (me) that misses the green long and right when playing from the South tee
Comments on hole #9 from Mike DeVries:

"Well, what to say after all that?  I apologize to Chuck and all those that really dislike the hole and appreciate your candor in your explanations as to why – that helps me understand better and improves my abilities.  Thanks for all the responses, thoughts, and suggestions!

I think we need to clarify a couple things: the hole plays 162 yards max (142 from the regular tee) from the south tees and about 134 max (128 from the regular tee) from the west tees.  There are other shorter tees down to about 100 and 75 from the west and about 85 from the “top of the mountain tee” on the south.  The predominant wind is from the SW 60-70% of the time, helping the longer shot from the south tees (of course, the other “general” direction is from the N-NW, thus making it play longer, but with the ability to hang the ball up in the air more).  The hole DOES NOT play 170-180 yards from any tee – only a fierce, cold north wind would add enough additional yardage to make it play that long.

The mow line of the regular rough cut around the greens was changed two years ago on both the 2nd and 9th holes to reduce the tendency of a ball to run so far away from the green surface on a short miss and to prevent too many balls from finding the same area and leading to “divot-filled areas with white paint for GUR” most of the time – the ball is meant to be played down all the time – it’s GAWF, isn’t it?!?  This change in the mow pattern has been well-received and reduced much of the crazy stuff that was described by some.  It doesn’t take away from the demands of the tee shot and keeps the intention of the hole but does allow for fair recoveries with a number of options.

Is some of the controversy based on stroke play versus medal play and our tendency to feel we need to finish every hole and post a score?  If so, what is the purpose of Equitable Stroke Control for handicapping?  About 5 years ago, I had a family outing (3 foursomes) with a wide range of golfing ability – myself and a couple others were 10-12 handicaps at the time and the best players in the group.  My foursome had 2 of those players, a 16-18, and a generous 24 (athletic, but not a regular golfer).  We played from 134 on the west tees to a far right lobed pin on the peninsula – the only one to hit and hold the green (on the right part of the green, also) was the 24, while 2 of us (don’t remember who) hit the green but didn’t hold it.  The 24 definitely didn’t have spin or ball flight control, yet made a par.  I still find it interesting that many of the biggest detractors are the best players, when they have the most skill and opportunity to make the tee shot as well as the best recovery play.

In my opinion, the south tees offer the best orientation in the course layout composition.  It is the only par 3 that plays S-to-N (unless you count hitting from the circle drive or 10th tee to the pitching green!) and the distance is different than the other holes when you play the 2nd as a 138 yard hole.  I like the W orientation also and frequently will have first-timers play a ball from the 106 yard tee just behind the 8th green before going over to the S tees and playing another shot there – then you can play a better ball, yeah?!?

The 9th is definitely the most controversial hole and members are often vehemently for or against changing it, but that hasn’t happened yet.  The setting and shots for the “playoffs” of the Invitational tournament never fails to satisfy and excite everyone playing or spectating.

If I was asked to alter the hole by Ed, I would keep the integrity of the putting surface and tee shot but lay back the slope behind the green to make it less severe.  In order to do that, though, would require moving a lot of dirt and finding a balance with how it would tie into the clubhouse complex, parking lot, and other facilities and needs of the club.  The amount of dirt needed to move in the original construction was certainly one of the reasons we didn’t do it the first time, as the need to move all the dirt around would require not just removal but the tying in of an area much larger than the main area of contention next to the green.  We’ll see what the future holds!"

"I think the area on the inside of the elbow, whether in a bunker or the rough, is the preferred place to miss the tee shot -- you always have an uphill shot into the bank and green, thus allowing you to recover much easier by using the slope to stop or move your ball where you want it to go.  

I guess my point about the HUGE difference is that it isn't, unless you are expecting to be really close and make a birdie, which is certainly very doable if you are on the right portion of the green.  Maybe that is one of the things that makes this a good hole -- it is short enough that you should have the control to get it on the green and have a go at it, but when you don't and make a mess of it, it really throws off your game for quite a while after that?"


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