OK fellow golfers, after an unanticipated bye week on my part, we're back for another week and a new hole on our 18 Greatest Golf Holes of the Valley. This week we head back to Trumbull County and visit one of my favorite local courses, Squaw Creek.
Or 11th hole on our 18 Greatest is a great medium length par four, number 12 at Squaw Creek. What I love about this hole is the demand that's placed on every shot. Starting with the tee shot, golfers first have to decide exactly HOW they are going to play the hole. Because the hole doglegs pretty hard to the left, golfers have to decide what line they want to take off the tee. A creek that cuts through the middle of the fairway and flows into a lake just left of the fairway makes the tee shot decision even more important. Do you want to lay up short of the creek, take a safe line and hit a lay up shot over the creek even with the dogleg? Or do you want to challenge the trees and lake on the left side and try a big hook that, if successful, will leave a shorter approach?
Sounds hard enough right there, but once you get your tee shot in play, the fun really begins! For their approach shots, golfers on this hole are faced with a medium length, uphill shot to a green that slopes severely from back to front with absolutely no margin of error. Go long, and you're left with an impossible chip shot to a green running away from you. Miss left and you're either in bunkers or running down a hill into the water hazard. Miss right and you're left with a chip shot that breaks hard right-to-left and is difficult to judge speed-wise. The only realistic spot to miss the green and still make par is to miss this green short in the fairway.
The green itself isn't necessarily small, but because of the slope, it feels like it's about half its actual size. Once on the green, do EVERYTHING you can to keep the ball below the hole. If you do happen to hit two good shots, birdies can actually be made here. However, if you find yourself in trouble at any point, take your medicine and play for the bogey. Compounding a bad shot on this hole with a bad decision can quickly lead to disaster.
Personally, I just love how this hole presents so many choices and options every time you play it. Depending on weather conditions, course conditions, and what kind of shape my game is in that day, I've done everything from try to drive it right in front of the green to actually lay up short of the creek. And depending on the pin location, you have to decide how to attack the green. Distance control, trajectory, spin rate --- pretty much all aspects of a shot -- come into play on the approach shot for this great par 4. Add it all up, and you have a hole that easily makes our 18 Greatest Golf Holes of the Valley list!
So there you go fellow golfers, you now know why I believe number 12 at Squaw Creek deserves to be on our 18 Greatest list. As always, I look forward to reading your thoughts about this hole or anything else golf. In the meantime, have fun out there and hit 'em straight!
President & Founder - The Youngstown Golf Association
For more YGA info, visit www.youngstongolfassociation.com