Saturday, 1 January 2011

# 6 at Western Gailes

The diagonal carry line off the tee

At only 498 yards the 6th at Western Gailes, known as “Lapcock” seems like a pushover on the card, but this unique use of the ground has lead to one of the most entertaining and interesting short par fives in golf. I have the rare opportunity of walking you through the hole slowly thanks to a golf picture site I recently was pointed to called.

The big dune hides the green

The tee shot is one of many great diagonal carries at Western Gailes where the player must hit over the sea grass and native fescue to find the fairway. The aggressive player must hug the right side of the fairway and risk a series of deep hollows full of gnarly fescue grass to get the best angle to go for the green. The perfect shot is a slight fade off the tee, but the average player can still play safely left if they are willing to accept three shots into the green.
The lower fairway where lay-ups are played to
A successful tee shot leaves you with an interesting approach to a green you can not see. Do you play safely over the rise and to the right to lay-up, take it right over the highest dune trying to land it softly in the hollow that contains the green, or do you play the ideal and most effective approach with a running draw around the dune using the natural contour to feed the ball to the green. Like all great holes anything is possible, but missing the green anywhere but short right leaves the player trying to get up and down from the fescue.
The green with the central spine and high right side

The pitch into the green and recovery shots around the green are complicated by the sharp contours of the putting surface. The bail side is to the right and is wide open, but the green flashes up high on that side and this makes any approach from that area nearly impossible since a ball will tend to roll right across most of the green no matter how delicately the ball is played.
Looking back at the wild rumples in the fairway

The fun of the hole is all the natural rolls and hollows that influence play from tee to green. There are very few level lies anywhere including the green itself. The hole is proof that great contours have as much value as well placed bunkers in dictating the strategy of the hole.

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