Well, we're back for week seven of the Greatest Holes ov the Valley blog, and I'm really torn between this weeks choice; Salem Hills 610 yard, par 5, number 4. Let me first start off with some positives. I love Salem Hills. In my opinion, it's one of the best semi public golf courses you're going to find. Anywhere. The lay out is fantastic. The holes are difficult but fair. The course has plenty of yardage to it, which will in turn make you use just about every club in your bag. And the greens are very large, very undulating, and always in good shape. When you put it all together, it's one of those courses that actually rewards solid ball striking and can easily separate the "men from the boys."
With all that said, I have to admit, this would probably not be my pick for the second par five on our Greatest 18 list. Not that it's not a good hole. To be honest, it's probably one of the hardest par fives in the area to actually make a par on. However, and I'm probably reading too much into this, but with the Riverview Z hole as our first par five, I'd have rather seen our second par five be a hole that lets you "swing away" a little more off the tee. I'm just not a huge fan of par fives that either take driver out of people's hands OR don't really offer a true risk/reward opportunity.
As for the actual hole itself though, there's no doubt in my mind that if we tracked scores for local par fives, this hole would easily rank as one of the hardest in town. At 600+ UPHILL yards from the back tee, I don't think I know anyone who could realistically get there in two. Knowing that it's a three shot par 5, the smart play is to lay your tee shot back and take the lake out of play. From there, even a really good second shot will leave you somewhere between 100 - 175 yards into a huge green that slopes severely from back to front and left to right. And because the green is so big, even if you do happen to have a birdie putt, there's no guarantee you're even walking away with par.
So again, as par fives go, I obviously think this hole is one of the hardest around. My only question is, does hardest equal best? I can think of some great risk/reward par fives that I'd have rather seen in this spot. But speaking as a scratch golfer, (questionable right now!) I can tell you I'm happy to leave this hole with a five, and I don't know many holes I would say that about.
So what do you think? Am I wrong for wanting a different hole in this spot? Do you think that hardest DOES equal best? As always, I look forward to reading your thoughts and talking Valley golf over the next week! And remember, don't wait too long to sign up for the Greatest Golfer of the Valley Tournament right here on vindy.com!
President - The Youngstown Golf Association
For more infor on the Y.G.A. visit www.youngstowngolfassociation.com