This year’s breakdowns now include video of each hole being played, although your feedback is most appreciated on these designs. How do you play? Share your strategy or Golden Tee Great Shots in the comments below.
All holes will then be available for reference on the Course Caddies page—a bookmark must for the entire encyclopedia! Enjoy, and stay tuned for plenty more.
Desert Valley No. 4
What a great par-5. I work at the company and they basically pay me to say things like this, but this praise comes from my passionate Golden Tee heart.
Hole 4 on Desert Valley is brilliantly constructed. It can be conquered with brute force and finesse. Sometimes, you may not have an option to go one way or another; other times, you’ll have a choice to make.
However you decide to play this hole, here’s one thing to keep in mind: Some setups will make walking away with an eagle extremely difficult, and while you never want to settle for birdie, you also don’t want to risk blowin’ up the scorecard this early.
With various ways to attack it, much of your approach will depend on your tee box. With a close tee box and a favorable wind, you can actually play this hole rather straight forward. Blast your tee shot straight ahead—taking a shortcut over the water, if you can—and you’ll be left with a shot looking directly at the hole.
That doesn’t mean you’ll be able to hit it straight ahead, though. The trees in the fairway need to be accounted for, and you can account for them by cutting the ball and allowing spin to do the work. This is where finesse comes into play, as distance and spin management will be required in order to provide a legitimate eagle putt.
Or maybe, ya know, something better.
That’s one way to go about it. The other comes into play with a back tee box, when hitting it to the other part of the fairway is not an option. When that’s the case, you’ll want to play for the small cutout on the right side of the fairway, which is typically a 3 or 5-wood.
DO NOT—and I repeat, do not—end up in the rough. Why you want to inch as close as possible to the farthest, rightest portion of the fairway, ending up in the rough will dismantle all hopes of reaching the green in two.
From here, you (again) have options. While you can hit a large cut from left to right around the trees blocking the green—and you’ll have to on certain setups, you can also take advantage of all those gym hours here.
With a semi-favorable wind and a reasonable distance (280-305 yards), you can actually take a 3-wood up and over everything. Behold the power of power.
This shot won’t be there every time. When it is, however, take advantage. It’s easier than managing a massive cut around trees and over water while hoping to land with controlled spin. It’s also easier (and safer) than trying to hit the opening between trees on the right side. This shot usually doesn’t lead to good things; trust me.
You have options here—lots and lots of options—and you’ll undoubtedly test out all sorts of methods to reach the green. You’re going to lose golf balls trying them (and that’s OK). Find your comfort zone and, eventually, eagles will follow.
How do you play?