Behind the Design: Sparkling Waters
We’re Playing Golden Tee in the Great Outdoors; Exploring Course No. 3 in 2015!

A boat, a cooler of beer, a couple of fishing rods that will undoubtedly be tangled within minutes and perhaps a friend or two—these are all you need to enjoy the great outdoors. Well, that and a portable air-conditioning unit for your cabin, and we are totally bringing that.

Our next stop on the Golden Tee 2015 tour takes us to Ely, Minnesota, a place of great beauty. Although there will be more extravagant stops along the way—we’re still licking our wounds from Vegas, after all—Sparkling Waters presents a different kind of challenge.

Nature is everywhere, and the elements of this course will both impress and challenge. As for what you can expect on our third course stop, here are some items to keep an eye on.

Trees That Act Like, Well, Trees

This change is much bigger than just Sparkling Waters, although you’ll undoubtedly notice it most in this tree-packed environment.

Dead are the days where you could simply club of once, twice or more and blast through a wooded area with relative confidence. The limbs, branches and leaves will present much more of an obstacle than they ever had in Golden Tee 2015.

Instead of slicing right through, your ball will be impacted much more—falling straight down without moving forward much at all. It makes sense, although the obstacle reboot will require a little getting used to.

In the instance of Sparkling Waters, the trees will be even more noteworthy because a) there is a whole heck of a lot of them scattered throughout and b) they could send your ball in places you don’t want your ball to be.

Yes, that’s what she said. On that note…

The Waters, They Are a Sparkling

BREAKING: A course with “Waters” in its name has lots of water. I’m as shocked as you are about all this, so allow me to proceed.

It becomes evident after only three or four holes that the water—at some point—will be a problem. It may not be this round or the round after that, but eventually you’ll find it. There’s just so damn much of it.

Some of the larger bodies of the water—the ones you’d put your boat on—will never really come into play, even on the most beverage-infused shots. They sure are fun to look at, though. It’s the bodies of water around the green that will make the difference round-to-round. The par-5s, in particular, are where your game can be won or lost on this course.

I’d tell you to be wary of the wet stuff, but I have a feeling you’ll be able to see it without much problem.


Bringing Design-a-Hole to Life

Hole 5. That’s where you’ll find Bear Valley, Tony Snow’s creation and this year’s Design-a-Hole winner. The par-4—which has been broken down some on in the past—serves as a magnificent early challenge in your round.

Having played this hole roughly a dozen times or so, here are some observations/tips to consider before you tackle it.

-You can go left off the tee. You can also go right off the tee. Depending on the tee box, wind and pin, you’ll approach this hole in drastically different ways while avoiding the giant mound blocking the tee box. It’s fun, challenging and different; really love what I’ve seen thus far.

-The green is massive, and I mean massive. Landing on the short stuff won’t guarantee you an eagle by any means. If you’re on the right and the pin is tucked in the back left, it’ll require a monumental effort to come away with two. There’s something to be said about landing safe, although nothing is guaranteed.

-Spin control is hugely important here. Given the way the water sort of meshes with the front part of the green, and the likelihood that your ball will be landing after some kind of curve, figuring out whether to use Backspin or Bite will ultimately dictate just how close you can get. This takes some getting used to (something I’m still working on).

We won’t play favorites, but you’re going to dig this design. It’s fair, challenging and different from anything you’ve played before.

Three down, two to go. Stay tuned to for two more course breakdowns and plenty more on 2015 prior to launch!

Golden Tee PGA TOUR 2023
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