Course Caddies: Desert Valley No. 17
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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. 17

Consider this hole my personal nemesis. I’ll throw that out immediately.

I know how I want to approach Hole 17 Desert Valley, and yet, this drivable par-4 regularly sinks its teeth into my scorecard, tossing it to pieces like an anxious puppy.

It’s the shape of the green. It’s the water—especially the water. It’s the trees guarding the tee box. It’s the wind. It’s the overall makeup of a hole that is difficult.

Heck, it’s Hole 17. It’s supposed to be.

How you approach this hole will depend largely on where you’re teeing off. The trees in front of the tee box can actually be hit over, especially if you’re operating with a 5-wood or a 6-wood. It won’t be the case each time through—on occasion you’ll actually have a clear shot—but it will be with many setups.

Getting off the tee is one thing; sticking the green—one that slopes considerably toward the water—is another. Your flexibility will be tested, especially with strong winds. You’ll have to manage strong cross winds, out winds and winds in your face. This will make distance and spin control critically important.

Bite should be your friend. While backspin will be an option, the risk of spinning too far and into the water is alive and well. The risk of approaching this hole with no spin at all is also greatly concerning. Just the right amount of spin is what you’re looking for.

Setups will vary. In some instances, you’ll have easier shots with manageable winds and pins. Others—like the setup above—will require you to contemplate every trick in your bag.

While the opportunity to layup is there, the short shots into this green can be challenging as well. That’s not to say that playing for birdie isn’t an option; it’s just reminding you to think about what your second shot might look like if you decide to go this route.

However you decide to attack it, good luck. The end is near.

How do you play? 

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