Tuesday, November 28, 2006

The 7th at Scarboro

This is probably my favorite short four in Canada. The fascinating part of Tillinghast's hole is that you stand on the tee and almost always think “I can hit that green from here.” It looks close, the bunkers frame the route into the green, and the green appears wide open in front just beckoning you to “give it a go.” It looks too easy to be a great hole, and therein lays its greatest secret, it lulls you into trouble.

There are series of subtleties in play that all add up to make this a very cunning and difficult hole to play well. The first is the hole is a slight dogleg left but appears straight from the tee. There is an ever so subtle angle with the green angling to the left, making the right side the best side to approach from. That was the location of the creek (that was relocated by flooding and creek repair) and is now defined by the out of bounds.

The second factor is the land. The fairway is part of a valley bottom and is full of lot of subtle rolls and pitches that provide for numerous uneven stances. The fairway also has a large roll in the centre (and the hole is so short) that it seems to leave almost all shots inside the 100 yard mark leaving a half or three quarter swing often from an uneven lie.

the great green site

The green is magic. The fact that the green is all of 3,000 sq.ft begins to make this a small target, but the fact that the green is all of 8 paces wide makes for an extremely difficult green to hit. The dimensions are remarkably similar to the postage stamp; size may make it tough, but width is the key since the green is fully flanked on both sides by two deep bunkers. The recovery shot from either bunker is extremely intimidating since it’s so easy to go back and forth.

The back of the green may be the widest point, but even that is a bad choice since the green pitches hard from back to front. No putts are made from above the hole or beside the hole for that matter either. That leaves the front of the green as the ideal spot to play to. Here’s the biggest obstacle of all. The green is 8 feet above the valley bottom with an aggressive false front leading down onto the fairway slope which runs anything short all the way back down the slope for one tough pitch shot.

Width and trouble on the side id the key

This hole is very short and players hit driver most of the time. They knock it in the rough on either side and try to hit into this narrow green from bad angles and wonder why they can’t make par. The green is a perfect template on how to defend par with a green site alone. This is a green site I will use in both my renovation work and my new projects.

My intent is to do a series of short four to illustrate some different ideas. Tomorrow is another reachable hole before I go on to the drive and pitch variety.

The greatest designed hole in golf: http://thecaddyshack.blogspot.com/2006/11/10th-at-riviera-revisited.html


Patrick said...

In the second sentence, you mean "I *can* hit the green from here", right?

Ian Andrew said...


Thanks, I meant to say "can".

ed said...

This hole is very similar to another Tillinghast gem at Fenway in Westchester County, NY where I had the pleasure of playing this past summer. The 15th hole is about 300 yards with a very narrow green that needs to be approached head on. If you end up in the rough with your tee shot, it is really best to lay up in front of the green and try to make par from there. But it is really tough to lay up from under 100 yards and the player is almost forced into making a reckless shot.

The 1st hole is also another great short par 4 with OB close behind the small undulating green. Fenway flies under the radar because there are so many other great courses in the area, but it is really an amazing layout in its own right.

One of the things that I love about short par 4s is that they bring in a wide range of scores. I think that this is one of the traits of many great holes in general and makes for exciting matches.

Anonymous said...

Hi Ian

Another great short par four is the 12th at Riverside Golf Club in Saskatoon. It is 311yds with three bunkers guarding the front and trees (bushes) surronding the approach.

This hole offers a great risk reward. the only thing that could make it better is if the green was a little bit smaller.