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Q I I Elevated Tees To The Nth


GOOD RAD Y


BY JIM COWAN


n the spirit of celebrating golf in Northern California, I have been asked to think a little outside the box and highlight memorable holes that I have experienced. Not necessarily the best holes or most iconic. Rather, curious holes, quirky holes, holes that caused a lot of head- scratching when rating. So let’s get started.


The “Barn” Hole For mind-blowing uniqueness,


nothing held a candle to No. 9 at Quail Valley GC (Grass Valley). The par 3 was 162 yards, relatively flat, one small bunker to the left. Pretty nondescript were it not for the fact that you had to hit your shot over a barn! I still remember the panicked call from our rating team wondering how to proceed. Easy. Two bonus points for the target since the shot was “blind.” Let’s call the barn a tree and say it obstructs. (Last time I checked, the barn


was still standing, but alas, the course closed a couple years ago.)


Degree The first time I stepped onto


the back tee on No. 15 at Nicklaus Club-Monterey, I was completely at a loss. After all, it’s not every day you


44 / NCGA.ORG / WINTER 2015


encounter a 560-yard par 4. Why a 4? Because tee to green the hole plum- mets 265 feet—200 of it alone on the tee shot. I had no frame of reference for such a shot, no basis for estimat- ing how far standard tee balls would travel. There was serious doubt that the Bogey golfer could even put a ball in play, seeing as the shot re- quired a 240-yard carry over a lost ball graveyard. One ingenious Captain solved this mystery by teeing off with his trusty 200-yard club. When we found the ball in the fairway, we had our answer.


The same sort of doubt arose


when rating No. 15 at Lakeridge GC (Reno). The par 3 was 240 yards from the back tee, but downhill 150 feet. Oh, and did I mention the island green? Good luck selecting the right club the first time you play that hole—or No.


The NCGA’s director of course rating unveils his bucket list of holes to discover in Northern California


8 at Gilroy GC (250 yards/down 130 feet), or No. 13 at Coyote Moon GC in Truckee (219 yards/down 111 feet), or No. 16 at Blackhawk CC–Lakeside in Danville (224 yards/down 110 feet). You get the idea.


Downhill Shot Deluxe Same thing, how do you calculate


how far down the 200-foot hill a second shot on the 673-yard 18th hole at Lake Chabot GC (Oakland) will bound? Half way? All the way to the bottom? Less science, more gut-feel required to rate a shot like this.


Uphill Shot Deluxe I remember turning down Highway 101 off of 680-South and marveling at some construction on a hillside to the left. “That almost looks like a golf hole,” I thought. I was right. Meet No. 11 at The Ranch. The “book” doesn’t necessarily contemplate a ball coming back at you, but it might here. I guess you could say the book doesn’t appreciate the gravity of the gravity on a hole like this, or No. 11 at Moraga CC, or No. 9 at Tehama GC (Monterey). Summitpointe GC (Milpitas) and No. 1 at Ukiah Valley GC also come to mind as uphill battles.


Two For The Price Of One For years, No. 2 at Poppy


Hills featured two greens. Which begged the question,


The towering redwoods frame many of the fairways and greens at Baywood GCC.


AND THE THE THE


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