Okay fellow golfers, welcome back to Week 7 of our Greatest 18 of 2011. This week we’re heading north again and visiting the seventh hole, a par four, at the family owned Candywood Golf Club. For those of you that watch the online video content here at Vindy.com, you’ll see that I started off my comments for this hole with something like, “I’m not that crazy about this hole...”. After thinking about it for a while, I kind of feel bad about that line. The more I sit back and think about the hole and the quality of the shots needed to play the hole well, I think the hole is growing on me.
Back to our breakdown of the hole and how, in my opinion, to best play the hole to make a par. There are really two keys to playing the seventh hole at Candywood well: Decision making on the tee, and distance control into the green. Standing on the tee, you can clearly see the hole is a dogleg from left to right. What I mean by “decision making” for this shot is correctly picking a line for your tee shot that works for your game. If you’re a player who consistently hits the ball left to right, don’t be afraid to hit the driver and get a little more aggressive. If that shot works for your game you might as well try to get it out there past the trees on the corner and leave yourself a shorter shot into the green.
First off, I like the fact that the hole is NOT just about length. From the back tees, I think the hole is around 400 yards. I think this is a perfect yardage (and maybe even a bit too long!) for about 95% of golfers that are NOT being watched on T.V. I think the hole is long enough to force some bigger hitters (or at least encourage) to challenge the dogleg and attempt to get a wedge or short iron in their hands, while also giving some shorter hitters the chance to get on or near the green in two. I think the key to playing this hole well is deciding BEFORE you hit your tee shot just what you need to accomplish on the hole. I don’t want to go through all the possible scenarios that a golfer can be in on the tee, so I’m going to write my blog about how to best make a par on the hole. Obviously longer hitters who feel like they are in a position where they need to make three will play the hole slightly different than what I’ll lay out, and along those lines, I’m actually glad that we picked a hole this week that creates those “options” for players.have a hard time working the ball from left to right, pick a line and a yardage from the tee that allows you to still hit an aggressive shot that “fits” with your game and shot shape. What I mean is, if you consistently hit your driver 250 yards with a slight hook from right to left, don’t get up to this tee and think that you can all of a sudden hit a 230 yard cut shot to the 150 marker. The key is to know your game AND know your yardages, and instead of trying to change your swing and hit a shot you never hit, pick a three wood or hybrid and make a nice aggressive swing. The main goal from the tee is to get past the corner trees on the right and have a view of the green for your second shot. From a decision making standpoint, you want to pick the club and shot shape that best suits your normal shots while still allowing you to be “aggressive.”
Moving forward, let’s assume we hit the fairway and are left with a second shot of about 140 yards into the green. As with most golf courses in the area, there is room to run the ball up on the green from the fairway short, and also like most holes in the area, short is definitely better than long. Keeping in mind that par is our target score, let’s look at the key for our second shot: distance control. One of the characteristics of this hole that I really do like is the green complex. I think we sometimes get too used to the “round with some slight but consistent slope from back to front,” greens that are most common in our area. I do like to see green shapes that are different every once in a while and I think the seventh green at Candywood is really a great complex. Because the green is much wider and much shallower than most other greens, the premium here is placed on distance control. Getting back to our goal of making par, we know that middle of the green is ideal and that anywhere over the green is the spot we want to avoid most. The shower green leaves us less room for “variance” with our approach shot, so in a way to eliminate the spot we don’t want to hit it (over), I think we should change our target yardage from 140 down to 135. As I discussed last week, sometimes we need to pick an “ideal” target spot and then adjust that target spot to a place that takes the worst outcome out of play. In this case, we’re obviously better off short versus long, so we’ll simply adjust the yardage a bit. In the end, when you’re playing the hole, it really comes down to the yardage you have in. If you have a center of green yardage that is a perfect 8 iron, then hit the eight iron. All I’m saying is try to realize that eight yards short is better than two yards long and pick your clubs from there.
Now all of this “mental planning” is nice, and it should help a golfer pick a shot that fits their game, but at the end of the day, it still comes down to actually making good swings and hitting the shots you want to hit. If you do happen to miss the fairway from the tee, just get the ball back in play to a comfortable yardage and get it on in three. If you do happen to miss the green short with your approach shot, you’ll probably be able to play a pretty aggressive chip shot up to the pin. If you do miss the green long, you’ll probably just have to hit a more conservative chip shot will most likely leave you an outside chance of getting up and down for par. Once on the green, there are lots of little benders, mounds, etc., so just be sure to read the putt you have and not just assume everything goes one direction or the other. The greens at Candywood are always in great shape, so putt aggressively when possible but respect the speed of the greens and accept two putts when they come. In the end, I’m glad we have a par four on our list that focuses more on shot shaping ability, decision making, and distance control rather than pure length off the tee. My two keys to playing the hole well are picking a line that “fits” your game off the tee, and choosing the correct club for your approach into the wide and shallow green. If you pull these off and make a par, move on knowing you just pared one of the Greatest 18 Holes of the Valley, 2011 Edition!
So there you have it fellow golfers, you now know why I like the seventh hole at Candywood and why I kind of feel bad about my “Not crazy about it...” line from my video. So what do you think? Do you agree with my breakdown of picking a tee shot that fits your game? Do you know what I mean about picking a yardage that takes the worst spot out of play? As always, I look forward to hearing back about these, or any other golf related topics. Remember that the applications for The Greatest Golfer of the Valley Tournament are available and the spots are filling up quickly! If you plan on testing your game again other Valley golfers, don’t wait much longer to send you app in. Again, thank you for taking the time to read the blog this week and until next week, “Hit ‘em Straigh
Use the comment form below to begin a discussion about this content.