Wednesday, January 17, 2007

5th at Baltray

Image is courtesy of Aiden Bradley, another ofhis fantastic images - what a green!

Baltray has one of the greatest short threes I have ever played. The key to the hole is the fact that you have to work the ball into the slope if you want to stick it on the green surface for a birdie putt. Anything else is thrown aside by the natural slope of the green and the surrounds of the land.

The tee shot is over a small valley to a green cut into the left side of a prominent knoll and gives no clues to what lies ahead. The golfer is further confused by the bunkers cut into the right hand side in front of the green almost suggesting to flirt with that side. The area in front of the green is kept short and plenty steep enough that the ball will find either the bunkers on the way by or the bottom of the bowl. It doesn’t matter which because the player is dead either way.

The green surface has not only a severe right to left fall, but is punctuated by a nice drop in the centre to speed up any ball that is thinking of stopping in the middle of the green. To leave it on the upper tier, you must hit a cut shot that stops dead. The problem is most don’t and once the ball begins retreating down the tier is it will have enough speed to cross the green and find the droop on the left, and this leads all the way off into a chipping area well below the green. You can get up and down from here, but don’t get aggressive because you may return to where you started from.

The tee shot is courtesy on a lousy photographer on a cloudy day (ha).

Did I mention you can’t miss long because the ball will roll off and away at the back and the recovery shot is downhill too? The worst spot is right of the green; Simpson in all his glory added a bunker above where there is no possible recovery from. The only miss possible is left which is where most balls hitting the green will eventually go once they begin running anyway. By the way it never matters where the pin is cut because the only goal off the tee is anywhere on the green. Once there, the next trick is to try and two putt, even from in close, because this little devil has an amazing amount of contour. Shear fun.

Next example:


Anonymous said...

Because of the putting surface complexity, this may be more interesting than #12 Augusta. There, it's all about the tee shot. You're either on or not. On is pretty much par (or better). Here, once on you still have some meat left on the bone for par.

Peter Maguire said...


Perhaps "sheer fun" would be a more appropriate ending to the piece. What is the distance or club requirement to qualify as a "short" par 3? I agree we need more short holes... much more entertaining.

Anonymous said...

I've not seen the hole, but from your desciption I think the term "sheer misery" would be more appropriate, especially to anyone not a scratch golfer.

What's so much fun about a green that even a well-struck shot is not going to hold? What's so much fun about watching a ball trickle and trickle and then gather speed and end up well off the green? I don't mind when things are hard, but this sounds a bit much. Might as well just aim left to make sure you get down there in one stroke, instead of missing right and getting there in two.

I'm all for a challenge, and I love courses/holes that make you think, but this just sounds sadistic.

Peter Gagarin, 12 handicap

Ian Andrew said...

Peter G,

You can get the ball to stick on the green, you can't play a draw and should play a cut. The left side has places that will hold the ball where they hit.

I may be guilty of over-presenting the complications of the hole.