Saturday, 1 January 2011

The 10th at Pine Valley

Photo by David Scaletti

I think you might want to take an unplayable” was the caddy’s response to the tee shot sailing in the front bunker. “What are you talking about, I know where it is” was the response of the player. “You’ll wish you didn’t.” was the deadpan response of the caddy as we headed to the green.

The tee shot is downhill slightly, across a valley, to a natural rise about 140 yards away. Crump excavated around the rise to surround the green with deep bunkering and placed the fill on the green site to create an elevated plateau. When you look from the tee, all you see is the plateau green surrounded by sandy waste in every direction. From the tee you immediately have a nasty mixture of open sand and scrub, around the green is all groomed and open for the potential of recovery, finally there is one solitary formal bunker set in the front right.

The green is about 5,000 square feet and a reasonable size, the contours flow quickly towards the front, with an exceptional beautiful low bowl at the front right of the green - right behind the bunker.

The setting is itself beautiful with a backdrop of dark pines, a nice open view to the left and 18 tee, the yellows, gold and orange hues of the native sand, the accents of all the native plants from dark green to bright red adding a little extra texture and colour to the setting, the emerald green of the putting surface looks immaculate in contrast to the surrounds, the only one element that stands out is the blackness of the front bunker.

The front bunker is called “The Devil’s Asshole” for a reason. It is about 6 feet deep, very small and the bottom is akin to a cone shape. While the occasional person does make it out, most bury themselves in with each thrash of the club. Once a player is in this abyss, the have essentially lost the hole, if they are playing for score, then they should hit three from the tee.

My partner got to the bunker and looked down at his ball and said, “Your kidding me.” The caddy smiled and said “Care to give it a go anyway sir?” Three swings later, we were laughing and talking about how one very nasty little bunker makes this one of the most memorable holes in all of golf – may I never go in it.

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