Thursday, January 04, 2007

The Hole Series - The reachable par five – #18 at Pebble Beach

I opened this series with this statement, “All courses should have at least one – all players look forward to playing them – the biggest difference is what is now defined as reachable.” It was for a reason, and that is that technology has taken a few holes that were originally designed as three shot par fives and made them reachable –and much more interesting than they once were.

Pebble Beach has arguably the best finishing hole in golf, but the advancements in technology have made this an even better finish, now that players can try take on the hole in two mighty shots. So let’s look at what makes this hole great – other than the ocean.

The tee shot begins on a peninsula jutting out into the Pacific Ocean. The player is given a simple and enticing choice from the tee. How much are you going to try and cut off to shorten the hole. The way the tee shot works; the player can’t help but try and take to aggressive a route - often to find his shot in the ocean now having to hit three. The player who can cut the corner can be rewarded with a shot at the green.

Two architects notes before I continue on the approach. First the “stupid” tree (and second tree planted behind it) in the fairway is ridiculous and completely unnecessary to the hole. It only publishes a shot to centre of the fairway – huh? Second I must comment that the approach shot going for the green is very low percentage because of the size and the slight cant of the green – but that has never stopped anyone from chasing glory before has it?

The approach shot is made by the massive pine (recently replaced with one from the 1st hole) that knocks down players bailing right. The green is open from the second shot but players have to skirt the tree on he approach shot from the lay-up area. The left side approach of the green is bunkered and the ocean is hard up against the left side of the green. Finally to place a premium on the approach a deep bunker covers the right front of the green – the bails side! - meaning a rolling approach must flirt with the ocean on the left. A tough approach for those long enough to give it a go.

The green site is tiny and precise – even for the lay-up approach - but there are plenty of recovery options from the bunkers and the expansive rough right of the green site. The 18th at Pebble Beach was one of the best 18 holes in golf, now it is also one of the best “reachable” par fives too.

The other one that would have profiled was the 13th at Cruden Bay

Some other ones I considered:

11th at TPC
11th at Tobacco Road
1st at Royal County Down

I can't pick a great Canadian short five off the top of my head, so I'm open to suggestions.


Anonymous said...

11 at Kawartha
16 at Highlands
15 at Highlands
11 at Blackhawk
3 at Lookout Point
2 at Redtail
12 at Mt. Bruno
3 at Weston
9 at Burlington
12 at Brantford
11 at Wildfire

Anonymous said...

4 and 9 at St. Georges
12 at the National

Anonymous said...

I agree with 12 at National
15 at Beacon

Anonymous said...

13th at Toronto Golf because of the angle and pitch of the green

Anonymous said...

13 at Toronto Golf would be pretty damn tough to hit in two...I don't think it qualifies as a short 5.

T.N. said...

Mr. Andrews, thanks for the trip down memory lane. Yes, I was there that day last spring when we were forced to stand on the 1st tee at Tobacco Road (you should have mentioned that you're not allowed to hit driver on the range) with the newly retired golf committee dynamic dual - better known as Charleton & Huntly. HAving also jouneyed down from the frigid northlands (better known as Chicago) I wish I had gone back and played there again after warming up for a week. It was quite the course. Thanks again for that picture of #11 - I still have nightmares over that one. Too bad you didn't go with me to Dan Maples course - The Pit. It was interesting to see where it (the madness???) began.
Now that I've spent the better part of two days reading this blog from beginning to end, I'll be sure to offer up some friendly rebuttals and concurrences.
PS. you wonder about the ASGCA and it's worth to you. After reading this, it is evident that you need to get out more and experience a wider array of venues. Trust me, it's like having a timeshare - it forces you to put work aside for a week and play some of the finest courses around. (And your clients won't feel like your giving them the short-shift because anyone else they could have hired will also be AWOL that week.)

Jeff Mingay said...


Do you really consider 18 at Pebble Beach reachable with two strokes?

Anonymous said...

12th @ kanata.

Anonymous said...

Is a tree a Hazard if it's in the middle of the fairway? If it is, then what about MacKensie's and Behr's premise about the line of charm? (Didn't I see a tree in the 17th at Cypress Point? Or one or two at Sawgrass? As a righty, one has to fade the ball (after starting it up the beach to be able to cut off as much as possible and stay safe. (A draw risks running over the edge. Its the tree(s) and not the "stupid" new fairway bunker that you don't want to get behind. In order to have any chance at on in 2, another fade is required (due to the slope of the green, the frontal bunker and the big tree on the right that together eliminate anything coming in from the right side of the fairway. PS. isn't that wall the ugliest thing ever? Just think how good it would look if they carried the faux rock conrete all the way.

Artful Golfer said...

hope I get the opportunity to play Pebble's 18th someday - and reach it in 3. I added your blog to to my 100+ golf blogroll at

Anonymous said...

Not bad article, but I really miss that you didn't express your opinion, but ok you just have different approach

Anonymous said...

Hi Iam Prabhu from chennai,joined today in this forum... :)

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