You’ve probably had a few long pauses on the tee box of the Sequoia Grove 17th, wondering how you should handle your next shot.
Do you play it safe? Do you go for the green? Is your shot into the green going to be manageable if you play it safe? How is your current round shaping up, and what do you need on this hole? Is it so far gone that you’re going for it regardless of how difficult the look might be?
There’s so much to consider when you approach this rare drivable par-5 and so much at stake with this first shot. For those unfamiliar with the outlook of the hole, perhaps this image will refresh your memory.
Yeah, that one.
The scenario is quite simple. Go for the one of the small openings—especially the largest of the gaps—and you could be looking at a double eagle or perhaps even the rare super albatross. We have yet to see an ace on this hole but that won’t be the case much longer.
Bash your drive into one of the trees guarding the green and you’ll likely be looking at a re-tee and perhaps your Tin Cup moment.
It’s pretty much all or nothing, and while “all” is rather wonderful, “nothing” pretty much sucks.
You can play it safe and hit the fairway to the left although there are no guarantees from there. Hitting the green in two is far from a given, and a wind blowing against you can create a rather challenging shot from any distance.
From a timing standpoint, the hole is in the perfect spot. If you’re playing against your buddy and you need to pick up a few strokes with very few holes to play, this is the perfect place to (potentially) do just that. If you’re playing in a LIVE tournament and you’re up comfortably a stroke or two, perhaps you won’t be as daring.
I suppose you could also dust off your pinball roots and try something like this. Although it didn’t go in, it cam awfully close to being one of the great YouTube moments we’ve ever seen.
So… what’s your strategy on this hole? Laying up? Going for it all? What works and what doesn’t? Do tell…