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.
No. 3 in our Toughest in 2013 lineup sends up back to Sequoia Grove for the most intriguing hole in Golden Tee 2013. In fact, it’s not even close.
This is the hole you talk about with your friends at the water cooler—because GT is so popular at the water cooler—and this is where you hope your YouTube moment of glory will finally come.
Why is it so special, you ask? It’s quite simple and can be summed up in three words.
Drivable. Par. Five.
The 17th hole on Sequoia holds down this spot and is the ultimate example of risk versus rewards in Golden Tee. Go for the rare Super Albatross or try and play it safe? That’s the major question you’ll ask yourself on the tee box, although both choices come with certain challenges that make this a potential scorecard landmine.
For providing such interesting outcomes, the hole is rather simple. The trees guarding the green give you a few small openings to hit your ball through if you dare. These openings are small, however, which makes this a risky proposition.
Get past the massive trees guarding it? You’re not home yet. Sticking the green is still not a given, and the wrong bounce in front of the green can send you ball sailing into the water. Also, you will be so worried about hitting these small gaps that your distance will suffer because of it.
Oh, I’ve been there.
But, laying up comes with its own set of dangers. Hitting it out in the fairway to the left and trying to hit the green in two can be very difficult. With a difficult wind pushing the ball away from the green and a challenging tee box, you may not be able to reach the green in two. And even then, sticking the green is far from a guarantee—especially with a strong wind against.
The green slopes hard towards the water, which will require you to club up and be very careful if/when you use spin. Even when you’re trying to play safe, the room for error is small.
So… what do you do?
I think a lot of this depends on the round you have going, your comfort level with the hole, and most importantly, the wind.
A relatively straight wind for or against you can give you manageable shot through the trees, although it’s still a low percentage attempt. It’s up to you if you’re willing to risk it.
Either way, you’ll have your work cut out for you. It can be done, even if it came on the second attempt at it.
The top two holes are still to come, but, what do you think? Does the Sequoia 17th belong in our top 5?