Duffer’s Guide

Here's how not-so-good golfers can score well on this fun course.

Overall: Don't be afraid to play from the forward tees. Yes, some of the older scorecards call them "men's" and "women's" tees, but except in tournaments anyone can play from any tee. If you hit your driver 150-175 yards, try the white tees. If you hit it less than 150 yards, use the red tees. And if you're a novice (or helping a novice), tee it up somewhere halfway down the fairway on the longer holes! The object is to have fun; if you're reading this page, you're not going to give Tiger or Annika a run for their money.

Hole 1: Three trees block the green on this short hole — two in front of you and one that overhangs the fairway to the right. Tee it up left and hit a grounder to the left of the big trees; unless the course is very wet, your ball will roll to the green. There's lots of room left of the green (and the right side is bad news with out-of-bounds, a bunker, and a fence).

Hole 2: It's long but somewhat downhill, with a wide fairway. There's a huge landing area left about 150 yards from the gold tees. If you're a perennial slicer (right-handed), aim well left, or hit a 3-metal off the tee; out-of-bounds right is also lost-ball territory. 

Hole 3: The pond starts about 115 yards from the center of the green and ends about 100 yards from the center. Lay up your first and even second shot if you don't fully believe you can clear the pond. You can also hit around the pond to the left, though it's not a wide gap between the trees and the pond. Use a 3-metal off the tee unless you're dead straight with your driver. Your playing partners will be annoyed that you're in the fairway and they're hitting a provisional (a/k/a Mulligan) off the tee.

Hole 4: Don't be intimidated by the pond; the green isn't that far away. From the red or white tees, you can hit it alongside rather than over the pond and still find the green. It's better to be short (but not in the pond, of course) than long on this hole, since the green slopes steeply back to front. If you're more than a few feet above the hole, you're looking at a three-putt or worse. If you do find the water, there's a drop area next to the big tree left of the pond.

Hole 5 plays very long. It's gently but inexorably uphill. Accept that your "green-in-regulation" may be four strokes, not three. Don't stress; better to hit four reasonable shots than try and smash it three times and then hunt for your ball in the thick woods on either side of the fairway. Approach shots that are gently right of the green will feed back toward the short grass. Don't be long left; the salal doesn't give up its balls.

Hole 6 can be parred from time to time even by short hitters. It's downhill, and the fairway is more forgiving than it appears from the tee boxes. Stay left with your approach shot, which will feed to the green (and thus avoid the deep bunker right). The green looks like it slopes much more than it does; the front part is just about level.

Hole 7: Like 5, it is uphill and hard to reach in regulation (two strokes). Accept that it may take three strokes to reach the green and hit a 3-metal off the tee, avoiding the wall of trees left and the slice-magnet groves right. If you miss with your second shot, miss left; the woods on the right are dense. The two-tier green is very difficult if you're on the wrong tier. If the pin is on the upper tier, it's often better to be off the green right than on the lower tier. If the pin is on the lower tier, off the green short beats the upper tier.

Hole 8: Take your 3-metal or hybrid and hit a three-quarter-swing line drive aimed just left of the tree in front of the green. It will roll down all the way to the green, and a hill left will keep low running shots in play even when they're a bit off line. Trying to sky it over the tree and plop it on the green feels great when it works, but (a) it rarely does, (b) it brings the bunker and all sorts of trees and brush into play, and (c) it's fun to watch your playing partners trying to figure out the right club for their second shots when you've got a putter in your hands.

Hole 9: Another chance for a 3-metal or even hybrid off the tee. Lots can go wrong with a driver — thick bushes, trees, and out of bounds right, more trees left, bushes and a pond long. 150-170 yards from the gold tees is the right distance (about 140 from the whites, 100 from the reds). If you wind up in the open grove right, try a quarter-swing with a hybrid (or even putter!) to roll it out of the trees and leave a clean 90-yard third shot onto the green. This is the easiest, flattest green on the course; even 40-foot putts roll true.

Holes 10-18 are repeats of 1-9 with different tees (and different pins on some of the holes). Now that you've seen the holes once around, repeat what worked and try something different on the holes where you put up a big number.