Great finishing holes to begin the season
By JERRY SLASKE
KeyMilwaukee.com Golf Editor
WHETHER I’M PLAYING WELL or poorly, there are finishing holes I always look forward to because they lift the spirit. For the most part, I’m partial to par 5s. Probably because the longer I’m on the course, the better I feel or probably because they take greater focus and strategy.
If I play the following holes well on a day that could be described as a “death march,” it’s verification that my game is intact and golf is still the best and most challenging game around. If I don’t play them well, I’ll be back again.
Some of my favorite 18th holes in the region (distances are from the back tees):
Brown Deer, 557 yards (414-352-8080)
A solid tee shot is imperative on this uphill, relatively narrow par 5. A creek bisects the fairway about 220 yards from the tee so a weak drive probably will cost you. Avoid the traps on the right with your second shot. And hit to a yardage to give yourself a full swing on your third, probably the hole’s most challenging shot, particularly when the pin is on the right side over a bunker.
Morningstar, 525 yards (262-662-1600)
The view from the elevated tee (and several others on this course carved out of an old quarry) is worth the price of admission. Favor the left side of the fairway all the way to the elevated green on this par 5 which doglegs slightly right about 140 yards from the green.
The Bull at Pinehurst Farms, 485 yards, par 4 (920-467-1500)
A double dogleg par 4 requiring a long drive that must be in the fairway and must slice off as much of the pond as possible for even an outside chance of hitting this wide and shallow green. Reasonable golfers should play their second shot to the left of the water and marsh in front of the relatively tame green, leaving a chip and hopefully one putt. Going at this green in two demands a perfect second shot, assuming you had a perfect drive. And who among us hits two perfect shots in a row?
Whispering Springs, 529 yards (920-921-8053)
Keep your drive in the fairway off the tee of this beautiful tree-lined (on both sides) hole that doglegs to the left about 120 yards from the green. Your second shot needs to be center or right to put yourself in position for a short iron over water and a deep trap guarding the front of a shallow green that slopes back to front.
Rock River Hills, 543 yards (920-485-4990)
Go left off the tee on this double dogleg and you could be stymied by large willow trees standing sentinel along a pond. Go right and you also could be thwarted by trees. Your second shot can’t go too far left because there is another pond that can’t be seen. Your third shot is uphill to a severely undulating green protected on the right front by a large, deep bunker.
Kettle Hills (#9 Woods), 551 yards (262-628-0200)
Gimmicky…maybe, but it’s still challenging and fun. Another double dogleg that demands a long straight drive uphill to position yourself for a comfortable – and very accurate – second shot to the top of a ridge. Make sure you have the right club for that second shot and stay right. Your third is severely downhill to a green sloping from right to left with a hill on the right and a drop to a marsh on the left.
Dretzka, 490 yards, par 5 (414-354-7300)
Correct club selection off the tee is critical on this slight dogleg right. A creek angles across the fairway about 185 yards out on the left and 220 yards out on the right. Forget about trying to clear the creek with your drive, unless you can keep it in the air for about 300 yards. Your second shot is across the creek and then severely uphill. A huge tree stands guard along the fairway’s right side and trees line the left side.
Washington County, 405 yards (262-670-6616)
An uphill dogleg left hole that always seems to be into the wind. Two large, deep traps are located on the fairway’s left side just where it doglegs. Get in those traps and you have little or no chance of reaching a long narrow green guarded by traps.
Blackwolf Run (River), 510 yards, par 4 (855-444-2838)
This history-making hole from the 1998 US Women’s Open requires a long drive down the right center to give you at least a chance…albeit a small one…at getting to the green in regulation. The entire left side from tee to green is a sunken waste area, which was filled with water for the 1998 and 2012 US Women’s Opens. The double green (shared with the 9th hole) will accept a less than perfect approach shot because it’s level with the fairway.
Ironwood (#9 Meath), 411 yards (262-538-9900)
Avoid the traps on both sides of the fairway with your drive which needs to be long to have a medium iron (or long iron if the wind is against you) to a large green that slopes from back to front and is guarded on the right by traps.
Grand Geneva (The Brute), 464 yards (800-558-3417) www.grandgeneva.com
This hole gives the course its name. A lake guards the entire right side. In addition, three huge bunkers are located near the tee shot’s landing area. If you go right with your drive, it’s either the bunkers or water for you. The green is huge at 12,000 sq. ft., but still looks small compared to the lake and bunkers on the green’s right side.
Brighton Dale (Blue Spruce), 355 yards (262-878-1440)
A sharp dogleg (actually 90 degrees) left about 240 yards out and water all along the left side prevents going at the green from the tee. Go right off the tee and you could have some tree problems; go too far and through the fairway and you might not have a shot at all. A rather large undulating green is protected on the front, right, and left by bunkers.
Scenic View, 477 yards, par 5
Your tee shot is uphill through trees on both sides. The fairway’s left side sports a large trap in the tee shot’s landing area. A blind second shot – probably a mid-iron – should favor the right side of the fairway to leave you with a wedge to a small green that sits on an awkward pedestal guarded by a couple of traps.
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