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October 23, 2019, 01:23:17 PM
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Best Finishing Hole?

Poll
Question: How should a golf course finish?
Tough Par-5 - 5 (38.5%)
Easy Par-5 - 1 (7.7%)
Tough Par-4 - 7 (53.8%)
Easy Par-4 - 0 (0%)
Par-3 (c'mon, seriously?) - 0 (0%)
Total Voters: 13

 
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Author Topic: Best Finishing Hole?  (Read 3479 times)
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Uisce Beatha
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Best Finishing Hole?
« on: May 16, 2008, 08:40:45 PM »

My home course has a mutha of a par-4 finishing hole.  440 yards, slight dog-leg right, water short left, trees and lateral hazard down the  entire right side.  It's the #1 handicap hole on the back nine.  I figure it for the second hardest hole on the course and only because the green is easier than #5.

I think I like that.  A tough par-4 deciding the match.  When a competition is tight down the stretch I think a solid par should be rewarded.  A birdie should be completely unexpected and any player pulling it off should be highly rewarded.  A couple of bogeys shouldn't be out of the question.  Off to the playoff!!!

Augusta's 18th plays over par for the pros.  Sawgrass #18 would have me shatting my plus fours.  Randomly, Shinnecock #18 is a beauty of a short par-4 that actually plays pretty tough considering its length. 

I like tough par-4s for finishing holes.  What say you?
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Seamus
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Re: Best Finishing Hole?
« Reply #1 on: May 16, 2008, 09:04:22 PM »

I'm gonna say a risk reward par 5.

Chip Beck ftl.

I think I'd like it to end like that.
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BFBoy
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Re: Best Finishing Hole?
« Reply #2 on: May 17, 2008, 06:35:30 AM »

I would say a risk/reward par 5, or a par 4 that could be drivable with a great shot.
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Re: Best Finishing Hole?
« Reply #3 on: May 17, 2008, 06:55:30 AM »

My vote was for the par4. I've played par 5 finishing holes and par3 and I didn't like either of those options. A chalenging par 4 just makes a nice ending to a round.I'm not sure I would like the second hardest hole but maybe the second of the back nine, top 4 hardest is good.
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Re: Best Finishing Hole?
« Reply #4 on: May 17, 2008, 08:05:19 AM »

The #1 hole at the course I play the most is a par 4 of 425 yards.

OB fence 30 feet behind you as you tee off, very slight bend to the left, and the fence runs the entire length of the hole. Water to the right and 40 yards off the center of "your" fairway and starts at about 100 yards from your tee. You can clear the end of that water if you stray too far right with a drive that goes maybe 240ish, but right is no good as it is tree lined the rest of the way to the hole, we have lots of trees in the PacNW.

As if finding fairway isn't tough enough I think the hardest part of the hole is this.

Starting at about 100 yards out the hole starts to incline, to a point that is about 50 feet above the fairway. About a 2 club difference for me. The green is maybe 35 yards deep by 25 yards wide, it will hold a 5-7 wood from the fairway, good luck with anything more. In the summer with roll on the drive my average approach is in the 5-7 iron range, one time (and one time only) I hit a 9 iron in.

It really is a par 4 and a half, but if I make a 6 I usually don't complain. I have only birdied the hole once or twice in almost 20 years.

It's not a mutha like Uisce described but man is it tough, if I was smart enuff to google earth it I'd show ya'.

But...

It would be a great finishing hole.
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JDerion
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Re: Best Finishing Hole?
« Reply #5 on: May 17, 2008, 09:29:20 AM »

Ill go with the easy par 5 that presents a risk-reward second shot. For the lesser player, its a chance to finish with a par and walk away feeling good. For better players par is irrelevant, so they will play it as a hard par 4. Its a chance for everyone to steal a stroke from par, and since match play matches usually never see the 18th hole, I lean toward an 18th that has more of a stroke play component.

By making it a reachable par 5 you force players to think, and that is the last thing they want to do on the last hole of the round. On a long par four the player knows he has to hit a long drive, and a long second. Make it a par five and you can bring indecision into play, and that can upend even the best players.

That said, the best closing holes Ive ever played were long par 4s and long par 5s.
« Last Edit: May 17, 2008, 10:36:14 AM by JDerion » Logged Return to Top

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Uisce Beatha
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Re: Best Finishing Hole?
« Reply #6 on: May 17, 2008, 09:51:24 AM »

Make it a par five and you can bring indecision into play, and that can upend even the best players.

This argument appeals to me.  Not gonna change my vote just yet but I'm listening.   Wink

I would throw in the condition that there can't be death at the green.  A short/easy par-5 resulting a 240 yard second shot over/near greenside water is a green light to accomplished players but a very low percentage risk for the rest of us.  Easy for one player; a bitch for another.  If the easy par-5 is only doable for single digit 'cappers it basically takes the indecision aspect away for mid- to high-'cappers.  Unless they're eejits of course.   Not pointing fingers here as I've tried the stupid hero shot way too many times. 

Raise Hand Anonymous

A question related to the subject at hand and perhaps intertwined.  Which is more satisfying, a par on a difficult par-4 or a birdie on an easy par-5?  Either way the player probably hit two good shots down the hole and either two putted or up-and-downed with style.  I wonder how much the answer depends on the skill level of the player.  I honestly can't say.  I love scoring a four on the hole mentioned in the first post but any birdie makes my day.
« Last Edit: May 17, 2008, 09:54:03 AM by Uisce Beatha » Logged Return to Top

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Re: Best Finishing Hole?
« Reply #7 on: May 17, 2008, 10:35:10 AM »

A birdie is always more satisfying for me, even if it's on an "easy" hole.

I agree that there can't be death at the green. My home course has a decent par five finisher with some substantial, flashed up, bunkering around 30-50 yards short of an elevated green. The bunkers are deep enough that if you are in one, you're probably not going to get it to the green in one shot. If you go for it, you really need to hit it solidly and get close or you're facing what equates to probably a half-stroke penalty over time.

Add to that, the green is canted so that the aggressive second shot, even if it comes up short of the green, leaves the better, easier angle on the third. If you lay back you have a much more difficult third with a premium on distance control to the proper tier of the green. The green itself is large and not that hard to hit, but easy to three jack if you're in the wrong spot. You have to really screw up to take a penalty stroke, but if you don't play the hole intelligently, and execute appropriately, you'll easily make bogey or worse.

I am a fan of subtle penalties on a course. Non-thinking players often fail to grasp the extent to which they're being penalized by poor decisions and less than ideal angles. A big lake or an island green, once again, create robotic golf. Every idiot knows...don't hit in there. But when there's no visible hazard, yet danger still lurks, it's good golf that can be fun to play over and over.
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BFBoy
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Re: Best Finishing Hole?
« Reply #8 on: May 17, 2008, 11:15:52 AM »

The course I'm playing, in my nine hole league, has a good, in my opinion, finishing hole on each nine. The 9th is a 515 par 5, pretty straight forward, but well bunkered around the green. With a good drive, in the warmer weather, it is possible to chase a 3-wood up onto the green. Any right or left miss will leave you with a high-lipped bunker shot to a green that is ~10 feet above higher than the bottom of the bunker. The fairway is of pretty generous width, with tall trees left and short trees guarding OB on the right. Some mounds in the fairway can make for an awkward stance. Par is a reasonable score, the the lure of an eagle putt is hard to resist.

The 18th hole is a 315 yard slight dogleg left with trees lining the left side of the hole. A large tree guards the green on the left.
Once again, the temptation to go for the green is hard to avoid. By cutting the dogleg, just right, it is about 280 yards. Just a touch too far left, however, and you are stymied by the tree, making the approach a low skipping shot to a green that slopes away on that side. With the right direction, and with a bit of a draw, you can run the ball up to the green.  The fairways, in the warm dry weather, are pretty fast, allowing this kind of shot, now and then.

I've pulled the shot off, on both finishing holes, once each. More often than not, however, I come up a bit short, ans sometimes, in an ugly position.
These, I guess, would be my choice for a good finishing hole.
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Clive
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Re: Best Finishing Hole?
« Reply #9 on: May 17, 2008, 11:28:13 AM »

I voted tough par-4.  Not "long", but "tough".

Statistically, par-5s favor the long hitter.  I think the hole should test the golfer's ability to hit the ball where he has to, in terms of both azimuth and distance control.  There should be trouble for a long tee shot, to make it a risk/reward decision.  There should be gentle trouble around the green -- nothing deadly, but not PGA Tour sand bunkers, either.  The green should be hard to read and/or putt -- using deceptive landscaping, subtle undulations, etc. -- but not clown's-mouth ridiculous.

I guess I think the finishing hole should be the best test of a golfer.  And that, to me, is a well-positioned tee shot and a mid-iron approach (and, if necessary, a good pitch/chip/putt under pressure of losing a stroke).  When a player can pound a 3W and still leave himself an iron into a par-5, I just don't think he's been well-tested.
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JDerion
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Re: Best Finishing Hole?
« Reply #10 on: May 17, 2008, 11:47:48 AM »

To what extent should the finishing hole represent the style and vibe of the seventeen holes that preceded it? A wildly contoured 18th green, if it comes on the heels of seventeen gently contoured greens, would seem out of place.

Clive, while par-5's may favor the long hitter, they also present the long hitter with more opportunities to hang himself. While the shorter hitter has not choice to to play the par five in three shots, the long hitter has the opportunity to play it in two. A well crafted hole could tempt that long hitter to try something he shouldn't, giving the advantage to the shorter hitter who is content to safely plod along.

The 18th at Scotland Run is a good example. I'll have to find some pics...
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spacey
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Re: Best Finishing Hole?
« Reply #11 on: May 17, 2008, 02:31:40 PM »

Any of the above is probably fine. I can *fudge* up an easy par 4 just as easily as I can a tough par 5.
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Aske
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Re: Best Finishing Hole?
« Reply #12 on: May 17, 2008, 03:26:03 PM »

something like 18 @ harbour town
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JDerion
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Re: Best Finishing Hole?
« Reply #13 on: May 17, 2008, 03:56:39 PM »

something like 18 @ harbour town

That's a great hole because it demands a decision and commitment to the approach shot, potentially with everything on the line. The fairway is absolutely massive, so unless you totally butcher the tee shot you'll be in short grass, along with your competitor. The approach to the green is so perilous, yet the bailout area so huge, it's hard to have big enough nads to pull the trigger and attack the hole.

Few holes allow such an easy bogey yet such a difficult par.
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Re: Best Finishing Hole?
« Reply #14 on: May 17, 2008, 06:38:40 PM »

something like 18 @ harbour town
That's a great hole because it demands a decision and commitment to the approach shot, potentially with everything on the line. The fairway is absolutely massive, so unless you totally butcher the tee shot you'll be in short grass, along with your competitor. The approach to the green is so perilous, yet the bailout area so huge, it's hard to have big enough nads to pull the trigger and attack the hole.

Few holes allow such an easy bogey yet such a difficult par.
Which is funny because, to me, Harbour Town's 18th always seemed like a tough par-3 with a gigantic teebox.  Almost no one goes for the little stripe up the right side off the tee, so all the players end up in the fairway with more or less the same yardages into the green; only the angles change.
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