Golf 2010

Robert Gilbert



Hole of the week No. 3 -- Clemson Walker Course 9th

Posted 6/10/2010 3:53:00 PM
To call the 9th hole at Clemson University’s Walker Course difficult is an understatement. In terms of front-side finishing holes, I have not played one more challenging than this lengthy par-4. However, even though the hole did a pretty thorough job of ruining my score on the front, I look forward to going back and playing it again.

One look at the course map and it’s apparent that there is more than one way to play the 9th hole. A creek runs across the fairway about 275 yards from the Champion Tees while a pond guards the front side of the green and forces a lengthy carry on the approach.

There were three of us playing that day at Clemson, and each of us chose a different strategy based on our playing ability.

The first guy can hit the ball a ton and, not surprisingly, chose to go for the fairway landing area beyond the creek off the tee. He barely cleared the creek, landing on the opposite bank in the rough, and was left with a difficult approach over the water. Pushing his luck, he went at the pin (which was on the front left near the water) and ended up in the pond. After dropping, he ended up with a double bogey.

The second guy played conservatively off the tee and on the approach, leaving his second shot in the landing area off to the right of the green, taking the pond out of play. He then pitched up and two-putted for bogey.

As for me, I started off conservatively and was left with about 200 yards to the green, much of it a forced carry over the pond. Then I got greedy. Instead of following the lead of my conservative friend, I decided to go for the green in regulation and take the pressure off my shaky putting. Bad idea. I followed the first guy right into the pond. Twice. The rest is a blur, but I do seem to recall thinking it ironic that I shot a 9 on the 9th.

So, what did I learn? First, be sure to agree on “triple bogey limit” with your playing partners before you tee off. And second, great holes like the 9th at Clemson will keep any round interesting.