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Cross Country Golf

Coming Soon - You can stand on almost every tee and play to multiple greens on the front nine. Find out which hole is featured this trip!

My Favorite Hole

Coming Soon - One thing you can count on for sure is that this will change every time I visit!

Saturday, June 25, 2011

Tee Variety - Holes #7 through #9

Hole #7 - The 7th hole is a wicked tee shot no matter which teeing ground is chosen.  The gold tee (569 yards) is one of the least comfortable for me on the front nine.  The fairway, which is partially hidden from view no matter which tee is selected, seems very distant due to the blindness.  Also, from this tee box, my weak left-handed fade swing brings a lot more trouble into play.  I really need to strike it solidly from this tee in order to put the ball in play.  

The intimidating view from the 7th tee box
The blue tee plays 512 yards.  From this tee many longer hitters will be opting for less than driver in order to take the long rough through right side of the fairway out of play.  This is a perfect tee box for me to swing a full driver unless there is a strong helping wing.  The white and red tees share a tee box and play about 490 yards.  From this tee, the long hitter is tempted to cut the fairway corner with a driver.  The landing area and the penalty for a miss is rather severe, but I don’t think this tee box holds much interest for the stronger player unless they plan to make a run at this carry.  For me, the white tee plays as a hybrid off the tee to the same target as the blue tee.  

The red and white tee boxes.  The big hitter will be tempted into all kinds of disasters from here!
There is a REALLY forward tee that is in the process of growing in on the 7th hole.  I’m not sure if this is a future location for a red tee, but it looks like great fun to me as it is far enough forward that even I’d be tempted to try and blast it over the corner with the driver.

The best part about playing aggressively and missing right is the view of the 7th and 8th holes from above.
Hole #8 - There’s not too much difference between the gold tee and the blue tee on the 8th hole.  Fortunately, the fairway, approach, and green offer plenty enough variety to keep the 8th full of interest.  The gold tee plays 365 yards and the blue tee plays 349 yards.  

This photo was taken from the blue tee box.  The white tee can be seen to the left.  The red tee is also visible in the distance. 
The white tee is only slightly forward, at 321 yards, though this tee box is slightly less elevated.  The white adds the interest of bringing the center fairway bunker even more into play, making club selection a tough choice.  From the red tee, the 8th hole can be played at 251 yards, making this the fourth hole on the front nine that can be played as an extremely short par 4.   As one that enjoys a good, challenging short par 4, I really enjoy this flexibility.  Each of the four holes offers enough challenge that even from inside 300 yards, birdie or par is not a certainty.  While I probably wouldn’t want to play all four of these holes from this short distance in the same round, if I happened upon any of the four on another course playing this distance from the normal men’s tee, I’d probably be elated at the exciting short par 4 option.  The fact that you can mix and match here and choose your own is a real bonus!
Hole #9 - The front nine is rounded out with the ultimate hole for teeing options.  

Looking back on the 9th.  The West tees are to the far top right of this photo.  The South tees are to the far left of the photo.
I’ll probably botch the distance and the directions here, but I believe the tee boxes are known as the “South” and the “West” tee boxes.  

The gold and the blue tee boxes from the South gives this hole more teeth than any other options.
The South set of tee boxes are off to the right of the 8th green and put the 9th green directly in line between the 9th tee box and the club house.  The West set of tee boxes are located up and behind the 8th green and put the 9th green in a line between the 9th tee box and the 1st tee.  The gold tee from the South set of tees is more than enough for just about anyone on this hole.  The card says 171 yards, but I think the marker on the box is more like 160.  It is a long, all carry, uphill battle to the green from here.  There’s no real ideal pin position from this tee  from my perspective.  The gold tee from the West set plays somewhere in the neighborhood of 135.  This is an elevated view down to the green.  The pin on the West wing is very accessible, though a miss slightly left of this pin position could results in the ball running fully off the right side of the green.  The pin on the South wing demands extreme distance control to a sliver of a green that is only one club deep from this tee position.  The blue tees play from similar angles as the gold tees.   From the South set the blue tee plays about 130 yards.  This tee is a bit more elevated providing a slightly better view.  From the West set the blue tee plays 120 to 125.  

The view from the West set of tees.  Standing on the blue tee box, with the white and red tee boxes visible in the foreground.
The white tee plays around 100 yards or so from both sets of tees.  From the West set, the red tee box is probably only 75 and it makes for a fun pitch shot that tests your distance control with a partial wedge.  From the South set, the red tee sits high upon a “mountain.”  The tee is perched well above the green and plays probably 95 to 100 yards from here.  As with some of the other short tees on the course, this tee box is a must play, even if it is in the late evening while playing a few bonus holes.

The red tee is the most elevated tee option on the 9th hole.   This is probably the easiest location to tee it up on the hole.  Still, it is a fun shot and no bargain from here.

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Tee Variety - Holes #4 through #6

Hole #4 - When playing from the green tees, the 3rd and the 4th play from almost the same distance (412 yards and 411 yards).  While the holes are very different, and play in opposite directions, the 4th tee selection is maybe one of the few that I’d change for the green tees.  The blue tee plays 385 and I think would add a little more variety to the green tees.  The gold tee, blue tee, and white tee (376 yards) all have fairly similar angles on this hole, though the white tee will sometimes play up near the red tee.  From each of these tee boxes, a good portion of the fairway will be blind.  The portion of the fairway that is visible is the left side, and this is the angle that presents the most complicated approach to the green. 

This is the view most golfers will enjoy from the tee on the 4th.  The red tee option eliminates the carry and is located just beyond the long grass visible on the far right side of the photo.
The red tee is another big time fun, short par 4 option.  Again similar to the 3rd hole in distance, the 4th hole plays 281 from the red tee.   From this tee, most of the fairway is in view and the carry from the tee is removed.  Big hitters can have a swing directly at the green, and may even need to scale back from a driver.  For me, the red tee gives me the option to hit driver and leave a short pitch to the green or to scale back to a hybrid and play a full wedge to the giant green.
Hole #5 - There are two primary locations for the gold tee.  Both have similar distances of 215 to 225 yards.  This hole is an extremely demanding one from the back tee.  The green is partially blind from every tee on this hole.  One gold tee option is located directly behind the primary blue tee box.  The other gold option is on a “wing” of the back tee which is further right.  This location leaves the 5th green even more blind to the golfer and really makes the golfer uncomfortable.  

The frightful view from the "monster" gold tee box.  Just left of the trees, you can see one of the alternating blue tee boxes.
There are also two different locations for the blue tee on this hole.  One is directly in front of the primary gold tee box.  The other is a little less elevated and off to the right on an “island”, more in line with the far right gold tee option.  The white tee plays from 178 yards, and creates a bit more blindness by being slightly less elevated.  

This is the look from the more elevated blue tee box.  You can also see the shorter white tee box to the left in this photo.
Finally, the red tee is a blast as well.  From only 125, it is down in the valley enough that the hump in front of the green completely obscures the view of the green.  The player has only a wedge in hand, but must wait until the walk to the green to find out where the shot comes to rest.  Given that balls landing left tend to roll right and balls landing short and right tend to roll left, there is plenty of surprise in store for the golfer.  

While not exactly taken from the red tee box, this photo provides a good sense of the view and blindness from the most forward tee box.  The result is a surprise that is revealed as you walk up the hill!
Hidden Gem: Just as the 3rd can be played from the 5th tee, I suppose the 5th could be played from some of the 3rd tees.  The white and red tee boxes would be a bit extreme, but the blue and gold tees on the 5th hole would be somewhat realistic options, though I’m not sure most will find the need to make this hole more difficult than the standard teeing options!
Hole #6 - On a course loaded with tee box variety, the 6th really stands out (well, ok, maybe the 9th too but only because there are two completely separate sets of tee boxes for that hole).  The gold tee (396 yards) is all the distance I need and then some.  This tee really stretches the hole out with some carry, and for someone with not too much distance getting over the first giant hump in the fairway can be a real challenge.  If you hit into the front hump, the problem is compounded with about negative 20 yards roll and a blind shot to the green.  

Back it up all the way to the golds on #6 for a real challenge
The blue tee (373 yards) is just far enough forward to alleviate the above challenges for the average hitter.  The blue tee presents a similar angle as the gold tee (offset to the right, making the fairway a bit diagonal from the tee).  

The blue tee provides a similar angle to the gold tee with enough distance reduction to provide substantial relief
The white and red tees completely transform this hole.  The white tee is only 306 yards and the red tee is a mere 270  Both of the tee boxes are looking straight down the 6th fairway.  Despite the fact that these distances are short enough to give the longer hitter a shot at the green, the narrow neck just short of the green is more likely to lead the stronger player to take less club.  Still, the risk/reward options exists if you want to load up and go for the green.  While I absolutely love the blue tee angle, it would be a real mistake not to play the hole from this alternative angle at least once during your visit to Kingsley.  

The white and red tee options at the 6th present different challenges than the longer tee boxes.  These tees are equally fun to play over the course of numerous rounds.
Hidden Gem:  The blue or white tee from the 2nd hole is a special treat on the 6th.  For those that are intrigued by the alternative angle (from the white / red 6th tee) but don’t want to cut the hole down to 300 yards, these 2nd tee boxes provide the same angle but with more teeth.  I’d guess that you are playing the hole around 350 or 360 from these #2 tee boxes.

Monday, June 20, 2011

Tee Box Variety - Holes #1 through #3

Hole #1 - There are two sets of gold tees on this hole.  One is by the club house and not  too far from the practice green. The other is across the 18th green by the blue tees. The gold tee by the club house is a beast. The hole stretches over 600 yards here. The angle from the tee is looking straight down the right side of the fairway. 

The view from the #1 gold tee near the practice putting green is an imposing one
The left side of the fairway is not really an option here because you'd have to eat up so much distance to go left. The angle from this gold tee is similar to the angle from the white tee which plays much shorter (542 yards). The alternative gold tee, across the 18th green, is probably my favorite look on the hole. The hole plays long, but the angle makes the fairway play a little more diagonally and both left and right are in play. Only the big hitters are going to clear the fairway bunkers from either set of gold tees. The blue tee (568 yards) plays from a somewhat similar, though less extreme, angle as the gold tee across the 18th green.   Finally, the red tee (480 yards) actually plays from down in the valley, so the tee shot is very uphill. This tee box cuts off a lot of distance but it is fun for a one-club or alternate shot event. 

The #1 blue tee, which doubles as the green tees, provides a very different look at the first fairway

The white tee is just ahead.   The red tee can be seen on the far left corner of this photo
Hole #2 - The gold tee is played from a pretty straight on angle to the green.  The scorecard lists the distance from this tee as 161, though the actual yardage has probably been more like 140 to 150 each time I’ve visited.  The sliver front portion of the green is in view here. The challenge is the extra distance. Though still a short hole, adding one or two clubs makes precision that much more difficult. 

This photo was taken from the angle of the gold tee.  The landing area short of the green looks more receptive from this angle, but precision is essential here.

The white (115 yards) and the blue tees (140 yards on the card, though again this tee typically plays a bit shorter) move around but are typically found over to the left side of the tee box. The dastardly green plays to an angle from here where landing on the front isn't much of an option. Aim to the back center from this location no matter where the pin resides.  

The already small 2nd green looks even smaller from the blue/white tee angle
The red tee plays less than 100 yards on this hole.  Hidden Gem: Play the 2nd from either the white or red tee on the 6th hole. These tees bring a wonderful new angle into the mix. The play is from the right side of the hole back up to the green and it adds some nice variety to the other options. 
Hole #3 - There isn't a huge difference between gold and blue on this hole (426 and 412 yards). Both are great choices and will require driver for most players. The angle from these two spots is pretty similar as well. 

Seen here is the view from the blue tee.  The gold tee is back about 15 yards.  The white and red tees are just out of view on the far left of the photo - looking straight down the fairway.  The "hidden gem" tee forces this fairway to play at even more of an angle than seen here.
The white (374 yards) and red tees (287 yards) are well forward and provide the option to play this hole as a very short par 4, which can be great fun given the exciting green here. We played the hole from the 287 red tee and the guys in my group were having a go at the green from the tee.  While this tee brings the green into play, it also brings a lot of trouble into play with a miss left.  Alan lost his first ball by playing aggressively. He teed up a provisional ball and we all watched with delight as the ball rolled onto the green and cozied up to within a foot of the hole. A non-traditional par not possible from some of the other tees.  The large green with wild contours makes this hole a challenging par even from the shorter tees, particularly when the pin is tucked in the far right position of the monstrous green.  Hidden Gem:  Because the 3rd and 5th tee boxes are located in the same area, there are numerous options for the 3rd tee.  We enjoyed playing from a spot on the 5th tee near the 190 marker where the 5th blue tee is normally located (on the most elevated 5th tee box).  This option moved the tee farther right than it is normally played.  In addition to stretching the hole out and making it a bit more of a beast, it makes the fairway play at a challenging diagonal angle from the tee.

Saturday, June 18, 2011

My First Trip - Thoughts on Tee Box Variety

The first trip as a member to my "home” course (more than 500 miles from home) came with quite a bit of pressure.  Sure, I had been to Kingsley Club twice before and I knew exactly what I was getting when I signed up.  Still, I must admit the trip was accompanied with a lingering doubt that gets a little bigger every time you try to explain to a friend or co-worker exactly why being part of a club that you may only get to see three or four times a year is a good idea.  Fortunately, my first trip was a blast, the course was in wonderful shape, and the staff was friendly and attentive throughout the trip, which helped confirm for me once again what a great decision I made to be a part of Kingsley Club.  The only glitch was some extremely unhelpful employees at American Airlines, resulting in a missed flight.  American Airlines now comfortably resides at the top of my "worst customer service and least respected companies" list.  If only I could be so lucky to have Southwest gain access to TVC.  

The fourth green with a look at some of the seasonal wild flowers in bloom in early June.
One of the highlights of this trip for me was digging into the variety presented by the the choice of tee boxes at Kingsley.  There are three core tee boxes I can see myself playing at Kingsley.  The green (which is a members combination of the tips and the blue tees), the blue tees, and on occasion the whites when I am looking for something short and sporty.  The gold tees (the tips) are a bit too long for me though I could see myself playing them once a year just for a nice, humbling experience. The reds are too short for me to enjoy a full variety of shots, but I could see myself playing from the reds on a regular basis when my distance fades.  The reds will also be a great place to start for my kids when they are a bit older.  
One of my favorite views on the course.  High above with the 7th in the foreground and the 8th in the background.  Unfortunately, one only gets this particular view when searching for stray shots.  Still, the view from the 7th tee is equally rewarding.
Even though the golds may be too long and the reds may be too short in total, they each present some compelling choices on individual holes.  The real beauty at Kingsley comes when one ignores the constraint to play one color tee box for the entire round.   Over the course of 7 rounds, our group only played from a set tee box 3 times.  We played the blue tees twice and the green tees once.  The other rounds were a mix and match of everything from gold to red.  Rather than long runway tees where only the distance changes from tee to tee, Kingsley reigns supreme in creating different angles and options from each tee box.  For me, only Ballyneal can match this variety.  I mention Ballyneal because without their "no tee markers" setup, I might not have ever looked within and found the creativity to mix and match.  I hope readers will take the opportunity to play at least one mixed round on their next visit to Kingsley Club.  The two formats that we've found to work for us is a match play format where the winner of the previous hole picks the tee for the next hole or else a pre-determined draw of tees the night before the round. Both work well, and it is fun to play a 36 (or more) hole day with one round from a set color tee and one round mixed up.  

My next few blog entries will serve as a brief guide to tee boxes in order to help you make your decisions. 

Looking back at the tiny and always dangerous 2nd green.


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