Saturday, 1 January 2011

7th at Scarboro


This is probably my favorite short four in Canada. The fascinating part of Tillinghast's hole is that you stand on the tee and almost always think “I can hit that green from here.” It looks close, the bunkers frame the route into the green, and the green appears wide open in front just beckoning you to “give it a go.” It looks too easy to be a great hole, and therein lays its greatest secret, it lulls you into trouble.

There are series of subtleties in play that all add up to make this a very cunning and difficult hole to play well. The first is the hole is a slight dogleg left but appears straight from the tee. There is an ever so subtle angle with the green angling to the left, making the right side the best side to approach from. That was the location of the creek (that was relocated by flooding and creek repair) and is now defined by the out of bounds.

The second factor is the land. The fairway is part of a valley bottom and is full of lot of subtle rolls and pitches that provide for numerous uneven stances. The fairway also has a large roll in the centre (and the hole is so short) that it seems to leave almost all shots inside the 100 yard mark leaving a half or three quarter swing often from an uneven lie.
slope of the green is the key
The green is magic. The fact that the green is all of 3,000 sq.ft begins to make this a small target, but the fact that the green is all of 8 paces wide makes for an extremely difficult green to hit. The dimensions are remarkably similar to the postage stamp; size may make it tough, but width is the key since the green is fully flanked on both sides by two deep bunkers. The recovery shot from either bunker is extremely intimidating since it’s so easy to go back and forth.

The back of the green may be the widest point, but even that is a bad choice since the green pitches hard from back to front. No putts are made from above the hole or beside the hole for that matter either. That leaves the front of the green as the ideal spot to play to. Here’s the biggest obstacle of all. The green is 8 feet above the valley bottom with an aggressive false front leading down onto the fairway slope which runs anything short all the way back down the slope for one tough pitch shot.

This hole is very short and players hit driver most of the time. They knock it in the rough on either side and try to hit into this narrow green from bad angles and wonder why they can’t make par. The green is a perfect template on how to defend par with a green site alone. This is a green site I will use in both my renovation work and my new projects.

My intent is to do a series of short four to illustrate some different ideas. Tomorrow is another reachable hole before I go on to the drive and pitch variety.

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