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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. 13
As your caddy—I’ll assume we’re on those terms—I have to warn you: If the thought of laying up every crosses your mind on Hole 13, go with that instinct. This is one of those holes that can ruin rounds if you’re not careful, and the price you pay for being just a little bit off really should be something you think about as you get ready to tee off.
For such a unique looking design, the strategy on this par-5 is relatively simple. The bottlenecked fairway means you have to a) be accurate off the tee and inch up closer to where the fairway narrows or b) blast over everything when you have a favorable tee box, wind and a high tee at your disposal.
The second of the scenarios listed above is, of course, optimal. When you can get closer to the green on this par-5—and any par-5, for that matter—you should. You’ll have an iron into the oddly shaped green, and while this won’t be a given, you’ll take the moment when you can.
When you can’t just blast it over, however, you have to be far more precise. You have to land close enough to the hole in order to have a chance to reach the green, and more importantly, avoid the hazard. If you’re short with your approach, you’re getting wet. And because the green is slightly elevated, it takes a good poke together.
By being aggressive with your tee shot—but not too aggressive—you should get close enough where a fairway wood will reach. In some cases you’ll have to hit a driver, which is OK. The biggest part of your tee shot is being close enough to get over the hazard. Sticking the green is the next part.
With a difficult wind, this part can be a challenge. The shape of the green will make for some tricky pin placements—especially when the pin is left of center and in that front bubble. When the pin is located in the back left, you have some room to work with.
Overall, however, an extremely accurate approach will be needed in what will likely be severe winds. I’ve said it once and I’ll say it again: Do your best to manage the conditions and do not—once more, with feeling, DO NOT—miss short.
Play for a putt.
If you don’t feel it standing over your tee shot or your approach, play for birdie. There are few holes I will ever endorse a layup on, but this is one of them. It can be difficult, and settling for a good score beats many of the alternatives.
Nothing beats going for it and landing it, though.
How do you play?