Lots of folks write tips for experienced golfers playing the back tees, but I’ve few helpful tips for beginners, especially those playing on the front or middle tees. JMBGolf.com is trying to address this need by providing tips for the rest of us.
The following tips for The Links at Oklahoma Golf and Athletic Club’s 9 hole course are designed for beginners, to be able to get no worse than single bogey (and possibly par) on every hole.
Assumptions about the reader:
In writing this guide, I’m assuming that the reader’s average yardages might look something like this:
Driver: 140-160 yards
3 wood: 120-140 yards
6 Iron: 100-120 yards
7 iron: 90-110 yards
8 iron: 80-100 yards
9 iron: 70-90 yards
Pitching wedge: 50-70 yards
Also to be able to get no worse than single bogey with this guide, the reader will need to do no worse than a 2 putt.
Shot #1 – Approx. 135 yards
This is a tee shot that may be better to take with a 3 wood to improve accuracy, as many balls end up over the fence to the right as well towards the lake on the left.
Also, my balls tend to go left to right, so I tee up on the right side and aim left, which is what is shown here.
Shot #2 – Approx. 85 yards
This is a good iron or hybrid shot for most beginners. We are aiming to create a perfect take-off spot for shot #3. It is best to aim for the high spot of the fairway rather than closer to the water (which has the chance of rolling into the water, but if not will require more loft for your shot #3).
Shot #3 – Approx. 85 yards
Don’t let the water spook you. Assuming you have a good position and lay, the distance isn’t bad here. Just watch for the wind. If you can’t keep is straight, it is better to go a little right (which will put your ball close to the cart path, for an easy chip in ), rather than to the left (which rolls down to the lake).
If the wind isn’t bad, use an iron (which one will depend on how you are hitting them) or maybe 3 or 5 wood, and aim to get the ball to drop down on the green. Many shots also sometimes wind up on the peninsula leading to the green, which then will necessitate a pitch or a chip in.
This picture shows the general direction of your shot…
If the wind is bad, it might be worth trying a low shot with a hybrid, but that is tricky to pull off since even if you hit the green, the ball might keep rolling off and into the water, so the safer bet might be a couple of pitches to the green by way of the peninsula.
Here is a photo of the green itself:
Shot #1 – Approx. 130 yards
Red tees are thankfully much closer on this hole, with a fairly forgiving path to the fairway.
Generally this hole allows for a nice long drive thanks to its forgiving nature. Certainly landing on the fairway is best, but if you go astray, I think it is better to go right than left here, as the trees to the right are widely spaced and the bit of elevation (looking down on the green) can make for a good shot #2.
Shot #1- Approx. 95 yards
My suggestion for this hole is to aim for the left side of the green, so as to avoid the chance of losing a ball over the fence as well as the greenside bunker. There are humps to the left of this green, but if you land there, it is normally an easy chip shot to the green.
Most of the time I hit a hybrid club, but with a shorter backswing, aiming to have the ball hit the ground near the green and then keep rolling onto it, but you may have better luck with an iron shot.
I definitely recommend taking your time on this hole, as it is one of the best holes to have a good chance of getting par or better on.
Shot #1- Approx. 130 yards
I recommend aiming to hit the ball low (I use a hybrid here) with the goal of having the ball hit the ground directly in front of the green and then rolling onto the green.
If you tee shot goes left, don’t despair. The trees look denser than they are and often a nice pitch will get you onto the green (especially since the tree lines are slightly higher in elevation than the green).
If your shot goes right, the big danger is the sand trap. If you end up to the right of it, then it is time to use a wedge to fly up and over it.
Shot #1 – Approx. 125 yards
The distance to the green isn’t bad here, about 125 yards, but there are trees (and a fence) on the right hand side and there are humps scattered across the fairway.
Normally for this distance my preferred club is a hybrid with a half-swing but the humps can make this not work (since they keep the ball from rolling as I would like it to), so I would instead likely use a 7 iron.
Here’s a picture that shows the best path to the greens (but ideally by way of an arc that gets the ball over the humps):
Note: After playing this hole, this is a good time for a refreshment/bathroom break as the clubhouse is close by.
Option 1 for Shot #1 – Approx. 95 yards
The distance from the red tee is not insurmountable, however the accuracy required spooks a lot of people.
I think there are two good ways for beginners to tackle this hole, but if it goes into the water don’t despair. Many, many other golfers have done the same thing. Just take your drop and move on.
Option #1 – This is the route shown on the map. If you can hit 100 yards accurately, then go for the straight-forward approach, straight across the pond to the green. But if your ball goes to the right, but you don’t see it hit the water, look for it along the cart path and the surrounding ground, as many shots end up there. If you find your ball, then hit a short pitch to the green. If your ball goes left… then follow the instructions for option #2 as you inadvertently went that direction.
Also if you overshot this one, be sure to look for your ball in the sand trap behind the green or up on the ledge above the green. Either location can work out well for shot #2 if you use a chip shot that stops the ball when it hits the green and keeps it from rolling off and into the water.
Option 2 for Shot #1 – Approx. 60 yards, followed by a 40 yard shot #2
Don’t aim for the green, but instead aim for the fairway of hole #5 on your left-hand side. This shouldn’t be bad, about a 60 yard shot.
Then for shot #2, you’ll have a 40 or so yard pitch to the green. Use the appropriate wedge to get the distance but also enough height and you are good to go.
Shot #1 – Approx. 150 yards
This is one of the easier par 3 holes of this course. I normally use a hybrid or an iron here, aiming for the right side of the green.
Shot #1 – Approx. 150 yards
This is a driver shot for most players. The way to the fairway is relatively narrow but manageable. There are trees on either side but no impassable hazards, with the biggest danger being losing your ball since there is a bit of a slope going up here from the tee for a bit and then some slope going down hill from the midway point towards the low spot in front of the green. — So keep your eye on the ball after you hit it to know where to look for it. (which is especially important in the evening… I’ve lost way too many balls on this last hole in low-light conditions).
Shot #2 – Approx. 100 yards
If you had a good tee shot, then you can head to the green in one shot. Depending on distance, I would go with an iron or a pitching wedge (and not a hybrid) as the green slopes and you want the ball to land on the green and stop — but if it does roll off, don’t assume your ball is in the lake. The grass on the steeply sloping edge is cut high and catches many balls before they go in the lake.
If you are in doubt that you may not hit the green, I would aim right rather than left, as the ground on the left side slopes sharply. Sometimes the high rough will stop the ball but sometimes it will keep rolling into the lake. Generally the goal in this situation is to put yourself in a good position to chip into the green, either from directly in front of but underneath the green, or to the right and above the green.