Posts Tagged ‘Tough Holes’

Backyard Brawl

Such is the case when you step outside your backdoor and view on of the hardest par-4s in all of golf.

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The Big 3

The Big 3

Photo gives me nightmares; 15, 16 & 17 all in view. Good luck.

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My Bethpage Black spy, @JohnnyGCaddie, recently sent me the photo on the left.  Dead trees and brown grass represent an off-season ghost town. (Those large sand mounds will be implemented into the bunkers for The Barclays event coming in August.)

The Instagrammed photo on the right, courtesy of @CourtneyTincher, displays the 15th at full force during a summer round:  super lush surfaces,  crowns exploding with greenness, freshly trimmed rough.

I dare you to illustrate the contrasting NY golf seasons more appropriately than these two images.

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Editor’s Note: This article is dedicated to good friend Michael Catania, who grew up across the street from the Red Course and is quite possibly the only human in history who has played the course as much as I have.

The Eisenhower Park Red Course has been home to many significant events throughout its history.  First, there was the 1926 PGA Championship, which was won by the legendary Walter Hagen (5 & 3 over Leo Diegel).   In more recent years, its hosted the Commerce Bank Championship (Champion’s Tour) and the LI Lightpath Classic (which used to be played at the illustrious Meadow Brook Club in Jericho).

But aside from the championship aspect of the course, perhaps the Red is best known for its most unique feature; it houses arguably the most useless water hazard in Nassau County.  And probably all of Long Island.

Yes, the 13th hole, a 211 yard uphill par-3 dons this underwhelming excuse for a one stroke penalty.  The pond in question, sits approximately 100-120 yards from the back tees and hardly comes into view during a golfer’s pre-shot routine.

It’s in fact so difficult to hit, that you should be able to subtract a shot if your ball finds it.  I honestly believe they built it exclusively for the geese and ducks.  It works out quite well for them.  They have a quiet haven for which to relax and swim and quack.  Then, with little effort,  they gather on dry-land and choose among a plethora of fairways and greens for which to relieve themselves.

So how does one get their Top Flite to find this hazard?  I’ve come up with the only possible scenarios:

1.  Using a 3.5 inch tee, the golfer strikes the ball so high on the face with a utility club that, not only does it leave a devastating idiot mark, but soars so high toward the heavens that it drops 100 yards short of the green and into the water.

2.  The golfer digs up so much turf behind their golf ball that it travels slightly past the ladies’ tee.  Then repeats this retched motion six more times till the ball thuds the water’s surface.

3.  The player thins their tee shot so scarily that it skips twice before the hazard, then twice in the hazard, ultimately hitting the lip and rolling back in.

4.  The golfer hits an exquisitely solid shot with a slight draw that starts just to the right of the green.  In fact, it could be the most well struck shot of the said golfer’s career.  However, at the same time, a flock of geese and ducks are traveling from the west to their favorite resting place.  The ball narrowly grazes the largest goose in the middle of the pack, causing a break in their tight formation.  The ball ricochets straight down, bounces on the cart path just to the right of the pond with enough left spin to kick into the hazard.

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I should probably rephrase the headline.  Perhaps it should pose the question, “Most Demanding Starting Hole in the Northeast?”  Or even the East Coast?

Because if you’re familiar with the hole, you know that it requires a drive in the low cut grass, and then a mid to long iron to a mystery pin on a green the size of the parking lot.

During mid summers, when the fescue bordering the fairway is at its tallest, I imagine that the stroke average for the public is well above a double bogey.  Although not proven, I’ve played too many rounds having witnessed too many lost balls, wayward second-shot hooks and mishit chips from the greenside rough to count.

And similar to Black, you’ll have to camp overnight (or arrive around 1 a.m.) to get a semi-early tee time.  So that entails limited hours minutes of sleep, a runny egg sandwich that’s nearly doing just that out of your rear end and a peeved back that restricts a full hip turn.

A birdie you say?

Gracefully pluck your ball from the cup, graze the bill of your cap and strut back to your car.  A muni golfer’s bliss.

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This photo was taken in August 2010 during the Met Open.  Few holes generate such a state of trepidation and awe as No. 15.  Just looking at this photo is making my pant leg wet.  And look at what the bastardly setup guy did;  he placed the pin all the way on the top-tier, right side of the green.

Everything about this hole is unfair, unhealthy and undisputed.  Or as Matt Ginella of Golf Digest told me via Twitter, “round-wrecker!”

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