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08/16/2008: "What Makes a Great Golf Hole?"

This is a near-impossible-to-answer- question without a number of qualifications. However, let me try to get the discussion started:

For me, a great golf hole should:

1. Have a short distance between green-to-tee (at both ends of the golf hole). This seems strange to list first -- but, I am a golf "walker", and this is important to me.

2. Able to see "the entire hole" for any given shot. Although this may seem to shut-out from the discussion a number of great dogleg holes that I have played; I put this as, in my opinion, a major criteria for a GREAT golf hole.

3. Fair hazards. Whether water, bunker, "natural area" or whatever: The hazard or hazards need to be manageable with a good shot. Perhaps, even, require a "perfect" shot if the other factors for a great golf hole are in-place.

4. Bail-out area if the hole/hazards require a perfect shot. Golf should not be a "punishing" game.

5. A fair green. Naturally, this (being fair) is a discussion on its own. However, if the green is not two-puttable for a majority of pin placements: The hole is not "great" in my view.

6. Beauty. Again, a personal issue. What I see as beauty may not please others.

Examples, for me, that fit the above include (in time-order that I have played them in my lifetime): Hazeltine 16th, Pebble Beach 8th, any hole inwards at St. Andrews during a clear/late-in-the-day round with a view of the town as you play "home", any hole you can see from Royal Dornoch's 2nd or 5th tee, Gullane #2 Course 13th, any raised-tee hole at Cruden Bay, North Ridge Lakes Course 12th, and North Ridge Oaks Course 11th (since the half-way house gives a break here, the tee-to-green criteria is not important!).

I will add an entry to our Weblog for "Favorite" golf holes, so you need not mention your favorites here (except if you wish to do so). However, I mentioned the above holes to give you a feeling for the type of golf hole that I feel is GREAT.

Any comments? Thanks, in advance.

Replies: 2 Comments

on Tuesday, August 26th, Alistar said

For me, it is not necessarily a question of "best hole". Rather, it is the "golf course" that I enjoy the most. A good walk - without feeling exhausted (from walking) after 18-holes. Once in awhile, being rewarded with a beautiful view. Golf holes that reward a good shot - where strategic placement of the ball is as important as yardage. After the round is finished and had a short lunch/break: You cannot wait to go again!

on Friday, August 22nd, SCScompA said

I would add, here - A great golf hole is one that you play with someone you enjoy. A playing partner is a key part of enjoying a golf hole or golf course. I do, though, appreciate your initial six points and at this time have nothing to add to those. Thank you.

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