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Jim Z's Favorite Holes From 2021 Pt. 2
See what Jim Z and a few more from IT think about the newest courses!

As the 2021 courses roll out to commercial Golden Tee cabinets this week, we look to some of the IT staff to give their opinions on the new courses! Over the 30+ years and 80+ courses that Jim Zielinski has created, he didn't miss a beat with the new 2021 courses! Throughout this week we will hear directly from Jim Zielinski, Adam Kramer, and Kevin Linsday about their favorite holes in each course.

Baja Ria

Jim Zielinski

There are a lot of holes that I like to play on Baja Ria, but I really like the par 3 11th.  It plays uphill, there are a variety of tees and the green is two-tiered. You really need a lot of touch to gauge the distance and elevation.

Adam Kramer

Favorite: Hole 14

From the moment I laid eyes on Hole 14, I was in love. What I really do appreciate about this drivable par-4 is how subtly brilliant it is. A big elevation drop into a small green with small but meaningful contours make this a completely different shot round to round. What really adds to this, however, is just how different the wind will change up strategy each time you play. Throw in a down-eight green, and you’re really going to change spin and your approach every single time.

Hardest: Hole 17

This is a classic, end-of-round par-3. What makes this particularly challenging is the tee boxes that allow you to approach this hole from different vantage points—front, side, etc. The elevation drop, maybe the most severe on the entire course, is probably the toughest variable to combat. It is made even tougher by the wind. An outwind requires pristine distance control. A wind in your face is even more daunting. Lots to unpack here.

Kevin Lindsay

Favorite: Hole 13 (Design-a-Hole)

This year's Design a Hole winner is my favorite hole from Baja because it's such a pure and simple design, but depending on where the tee box ends up being placed, can still be a little challenging.  I am excited to see how this hole plays in Events Mode or a Freaky Friday where faster winds could change the way you play this one.

Hardest: Hole 17

I love to hate Hole 17 of Baja for a few reasons.  This hole is not only set up to be difficult 95% of the time you play it, but it also has so many tee boxes areas so you never know where you could be hitting from next.  I am curious as to what Jim Z has planned for this hole when new tees come out in the summer.

Travis Tressler

Favorite: Hole 5

Hole five plays with a small elevation change but not enough to turn it into a make it or break it hole. The hole sits nestled behind a sandhill and cacti. You can't see the hole from the tee which gives it a fun way to attack it!

Hardest: Hole 17

It seems like a theme that hole 17 is going to cause some problems! The green is going to be a problem. Dropping it near the pin is hard enough. Having a long putt is going to be just as hard on this tiered green.

Jim Zielinski

There are lots of crazy holes on this course to choose from but I think my favorite is the par 4 6th. It’s a drivable par 4 but the ways in which it’s drivable are what I think make it fun. There will be much experimentation before players settle on the best approach. I’m going to have fun watching players of all skill levels find the right way for them to reach the green in one.

Hidden Temple

Adam Kramer

Favorite: Hole 14

I get some very strong Desert Valley Hole 6 vibes from this Hidden Temple Hole 14. For the non-Golden Tee nerds out there, this particular Desert Valley design was an extremely short par-3 that allowed players the opportunity to chip for a hole-in-one. That spirit is alive and well on this Hidden Valley gem, with a twist. The elevated green adds some more risk into the equation. But the possibility for regular aces is real, and the creativity to accomplish it using a variety of clubs will be familiar. Time to get aggressive.

Hardest: Hole 15

If you play for birdie, Hole 15 isn’t all that difficult. Or at least it shouldn’t be. Hit in the fairway, knock it on the green, make your putt, and move on. But if you want an eagle—and it is out there—you’re going to have navigate some select openings through an ancient structure, avoid a hazard and stick a down-right green. It can be done. But it also can be butchered, and with that, your scorecard will follow. Club selection and ball placement are both critical to master this shot if you’re going to play boldly. And who doesn’t want to play bold?

Kevin Lindsay

Favorite: Hole 17

Hole 17 is one of my favorite Par 3s in 2021 because in theory, it's such a simple shot. Just hit your shot hard enough to stick the top part of the green and hope it holds up there. You factor in the giant hill that drops off onto the green and then the wall that surrounds the pin and you don't have a great margin for error. Again, the YouTube shot opportunities on this hole are also very exciting.

 

Hardest: Hole 6

Hole 6 to me is a very fun, but challenging Par 4 that I'm kind of surprised Jim Z set up so early in the round. A low-tee 3W or Driver here would be ideal. But if you're not extremely precious on your tee shot, you're going to have a hard time even breaking par with the amount of obstacles in your way.

Travis Tressler

Favorite: Hole 8

The waterfall and elephant made my pick for this being my favorite hole at Hidden Temple! The scenery of this simple Par 3 is one of the best looking holes in the new 2021 courses!

Hardest: Hole 6

Hole 6 at Hidden Temple has some Caterdrais Beach hole 9 vibes! Until I figure out how to get around or over to the green, this will be the hardest hole. It looks like there will be a lot of lost balls and boogies happening on hole 6. Once the right shot is figured out, I can see this going from the hardest to the funniest!

Monte Zeballos

Jim Zielinski

This whole course is an exploration of elevation changes and to me the highlight is the par 5 finishing hole. This hole is a drivable par 5, with the farthest tee-to-green elevation drop in the 32 year history of Golden Tee golf. It takes some practice, but getting the right touch on a hard tee shot is crucial to stick the island green in one. Heavier winds will make it extremely difficult. Laying up is an option, but any approach from the fairway still has an elevation drop to contend with.

Adam Kramer

Favorite: Hole 18

Look, this is pretty easy. It might be the greatest closing hole in Golden Tee history. The answer is Hole 18, and it’s pretty obvious why. When you can conclude a round with a drivable par-5, well, you’re doing something right. In the right and look, it’s not the hardest look in the game. With the wrong look and wind, it can be. Either way, you can get a Super Albatross to close out your game here. Enough said.

Hardest: Hole 16

The elevation change is enormous, and no matter what the wind gives you in a given round you’re going to have to figure it out. Hole 16 is not just your classic, late par-3. It is the reincarnation of Celtic Shores No. 17, maybe the most elevated par-3 the game has ever seen, although this feels somehow more significant. The angle, the slope of the green, the drop… all of it plays a role in figuring out this shot. It’s doable, but you have to earn it.

Kevin Lindsay

Favorite & Hardest: Hole 18

I'm going to cheat a little bit here, but it's well worth it. Monte 18 is by far my favorite hole on Monte Zeballos, overall in GT 2021, if not my favorite hole of all time after spending 25 years of my young life playing this game. It's also one of the hardest holes in the game right now. I think I am 1/10 on sticking this green and that number might get to a 2 or 3 by the time I hit 50 games. The risk is well worth the reward and even if you screw up, you still have a chance to make a tough chip for eagle. Kudos to Jim Z on this amazing design and a special shout out for him letting two crazy fans (Adam and myself) convince him that this should be Hole 18! ;)

Travis Tressler

Favorite: Hole 11

This is a tough hole like most of Monte. There's no easy play for hole 11. If you lay up, you have to watch out for the small lake and incline of the fairway. At this point, your second shot can either get you on the green but it's a high risk. Or you can lay up again and then have a chip on an angled green. It may not be the easiest hole but I think it will be favorite.

Hardest: Hole 18

The huge change in elevation. The green is surrounded by water. Basically my worst nightmare for any Golden Tee hole. If hole 8 and hole 15 of Grand Teton had a baby, this would be the outcome. It's going to test the skills of elevation play and speed play. Looking forward to the YouTube replays!

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