Take it over the top of the bunkers and go for the green - or play it safe left?
This happens to be my favourite hole type and I will look for one in every routing.
It creates an opportunity for the average player to make a par regardless of their skills or their limited ability to hit the ball long. This is also a hole where smart play and control is often better rewarded than aggressive play and length. The average player plans for a par whereas the strong player tends to set his aim on a birdie. Often the player becomes over aggressive on these holes – producing a foolish bogie or worse through bad judgment.
The joy of the short four is its one of the few holes with multiple options from the tee. It is one of the only opportunities to consider a positional shot as an option knowing that the second shot is from a tougher angle but still with a shorter iron.
The great short fours offer the alternative to attack the hole, usually with the risk increasing as the play becomes more aggressive. The best short fours cloud the judgment of the player, make the green seem so easily attainable and encourage excessive risk taking.
The ideal short par four tempts us even though there is such obvious and smart option right before our eyes. I love a hole where the better player succumbs to their ego and thinks that they can make that shot and reaches for the driver. The key to making a great short four is to properly punish the missed shot on the aggressive line and make recovery a challenge. The hole must also reward the player who plays an exceptional shot with the ideal approach or a line right onto the green surface itself. I believe that if you choose the passive line, you should receive a more difficult approach to justify the reason to pursue the aggressive line. Anything less removes the balance of risk and reward that creates the tough decision on the tee. If you’ve built them right, the players will clearly understand the difficulty, see the safe option but be enticed to want to take the risk.