HOWARD WARD: Naming Holes Can Be Better Than Playing
I've always had this fascination for golf holes with names. You know, the way they've named every hole at Augusta National.
There are a lot of courses with some holes that have names. And some, like Whispering Woods, have named them all.
The course I'm most familiar with, of course, is Gates Four Golf and Country Club, the Willard Byrd design that I've spent the past 42 years trying to learn my way around. So, on a rainy day with nothing to do but come up with an idea for a column, I decided to try my hand at this naming game.
No. 1 -- Anticipation: Par-4 that invites a good start with a couple of decent shots.
No. 2 -- Happy Landing: Par-3 with a hard-to-hit green.
No. 3 -- Twin Lakes: Par-4 with a tee shot that must carry a lake and an approach shot that must carry another. A back flag turns this hole into a monster.
No. 4 -- The Ripper: Par-5 that gets the big hitters excited. Grip it, rip it and have a chance to reach in two.
No. 5 -- The Riddler: Par-4 that is a mind-blower off the tee, out of bounds right and left, three green-side bunkers. Takes some planning. Also pays homage to the course-owning Riddle family.
No. 6 -- Jeopardy: Par-3 with sand bunkers left and right, grass bunker in front, sure death right, left and long.
No. 7 -- Maples' Fancy: Par-4 that was a disaster before architect Dan Maples did a redesign. With a fairway that slopes from left to right and a creek on the right demands a good drive, but also rewards one.
No. 8 -- Valley of Hope: Par-5 that loves to turn dreams into nightmares. A well-struck drive into the fairway that forms a gentle valley and leaves an uphill target that allows for hopes of an eagle putt.
No. 9 -- Devil's Elbow: Par-4 that can destroy a decent nine. A 90-degree dogleg to the left, approach shots must clear a bunker in front, stay clear of one on the right and avoid one behind the green.
No. 10 -- Turning Point: Par-4 that is deceptively long, but awards a good approach with a birdie putt. Good chance to renew hope after the wicked-evil 9th.
No. 11 -- Byrd's View: Par-4 that is arguably the prettiest hole on the course. Willard Byrd did a great job here with a lake on the left to catch errant tee shots and a lake on the right to keep approach shots honest. Beautiful but treacherous.
No. 12 -- Aces High: Par-3 that plays uphill and requires a club more than the yardage indicates. Beautiful hole with huge bunkers left and right and horrors awaiting shots that stray.
No. 13 -- Expectations: Par-5 that has golfers salivating. Over-swinging here is common because everyone is expecting to be able to reach the green in two. Fairway bunker in front of the green has ruined many expectations.
No. 14 -- Dashed Hopes: Par-4 that has drowned many hopes for a good round. A pond encroaches on the left and is perfectly situated to catch greedy drivers. The water extends around the left of the green and loves to swallow errant approach shots.
No. 15 -- Satan's Bend: Par-4 that features another 90-degree dogleg left. Demands a long, accurate tee shot, then leaves a daunting approach to an undulating green. Reaching in two isn't easy, but may be easier than two-putting.
No. 16 -- The Bandit: Par-3 that appears innocent but is so treacherous. Makes you think you're in control until you make the swing. Bunker left front, bunker right and out of bounds on the left. Will rob you of a good round just when you think you're home free.
No. 17 -- Tough Love: Par-4 that can make or break a round. A good drive leaves a tempting second shot, but can result in a downhill lie. Make par here and celebrate. Make birdie and feel really good about yourself.
No. 18 -- Journey's End: Par-5 that makes you sorry the trip is over. A gentle dogleg left, it rewards good tee shots.
Few golfers will be able to reach it in two, but three solid blows can make the layover in the 19th hole an enjoyable one.
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