Many of us have different opinions when it comes to crowning the ultimate Jim Zielinski creations in the latest installment. With the game out for more than six weeks, however, we’ve all had ample time to establish our own opinions regarding the holes that make us say things are mothers would be appalled to hear.
There’s also something clarification required when it comes to defining “toughest.” To me—and for the sake of our top five we will be revealing over the next few weeks—these are the designs that are the most difficult to reach the desired score. Well, duh.
The drivable par-4s where eagle is most difficult to come by, the par-5s that are the most difficult to reach and the par-3s that can be downright mean when it comes to birdie seeking—these are what make a design both fair and challenging. Playing for birdie can make these more than manageable, but as we all know that’s not what the game is all about.
Let’s kick things off and get right to it. No. 5 in our Toughest in 2013 series is none other than the Sequoia Grove 16th, a drivable par-4 that will require creativity, perhaps some luck, and a perfect tee shot to give you an eagle putt.
You know this design well, a moment of truth deep in your round where you begin to question whether or not you should roll the dice or play for birdie.
The green is situated behind a group of large trees not incredibly far from the tee boxes and a large body of water that you’ve likely found before. This hazard is what makes this design so dangerous and coming up both short and long will end up in a penalty stroke.
There’s no room to run your ball up onto the green—unless you skip your ball on, which is very possible—but that presents a unique challenge in itself, and sticking the green after skipping off the water is quite the feat.
With that said, it can be done.
On the topic of challenge, which way do you go? You can get to the green by going around the right and left sides of the trees, both of which are far different shots.
In a lot of ways this is what makes this design so tough. Your approach will change drastically each time through and the wind, pin, and tee box will drastically alter how you approach it each time.
Not only is landing on the green tough, but you’ll likely end up with a lengthy eagle putt even when you do. And then there is that whole hazard thing, which makes the “blow up” on this hole—or at the very least, a par—a distinct possibility.
Because of this the 16th has a spot in out top five. As for the rest of the countdown, this is not the last we’ve heard of Sequoia, and we’ll be visiting there soon enough.
Before we head out, I leave you with these. Some impressive aces from this hole that showcase the level of difficulty required.
There's the ol' fashion way...
There's the ol' fashion other way...
There's the skip...
And finally, nothing but cup...
The rest of the top five is coming soon. In the meantime, does this hole belong? Should it be higher? Share your thoughts.