Now THIS is a golf course.

7,239 yard par 70, water everywhere, trees all over the place, shaping shots left and right, halved greens, oh man this is a smorgasbord of golf course design that’s about as good as it gets.

Lets take a look at a few of the notable holes:

no. 3:

No. 3 is a par 4 that doglegs left around a large lake.  It usually measures 390ish and demands accuracy all the way to the green.  Your landing spot is pretty narrow and the wind is an issue, and while it’s good just to hit the thin strip of fairway, you really need to position yourself for a good shot into the small green.  There isn’t much room to miss around the greens and anything short and left is in the water.  Not fun.

no. 6:

We run into the same lake that no. 3 darted around, only no. 6 is a dogleg right.  It’s a long par 5 that, you guessed it, requires accuracy for every shot.  No. 6 is a true risk/reward shot that is eagle-able, but if you don’t pull it off, you’re looking at a BIG number.

no. 9:

An absolutely titanic par 4.  Even a long drive will give you a long to mid-iron into a well protected green with mounds behind it.  Hit the mounds and you’re in trouble, come up short, you might be all right.  Par 4 is the right word for this hole as a birdie here is going to require some heady golf.

no. 18:

The signature hole on the course and home to some of the most unbelievable finishes in non-major history.  441 yards, par 4.  Water all along the right, and one of the most intimidating final apporach shots in golf to a treacherous green.  You’ve seen triumphs and trainwrecks here, lots of ’em, and in the end, the winner, usually a top caliber player, gets to shake Arnold Palmer’s hand.

The tee shot isn’t easy.  It’s TELLING you to hit a 3-wood as the fairway severely narrows at about 280 yards in.  This hole dictates what club you’re going to hit, and if you do something else, it’s going to bite you.  If you hit driver and miss even a little right, you’re wet or in deep rough requiring a shot that even Phil decided to lay up.  So don’t even think about it, hit a fairway wood, hit the wide fairway and move on.

Like I said, the hole is telling you what to hit.  No. 18 wanted you to hit a mid-iron into this green, not an 8-iron that anyone can stick.  You have to be a good enough ballstriker to hold this green, and anyone fishing for a great shot is gonna get burnt.


Because that’s what you’re facing.

You have a wide green…that’s about 10 yards deep and heavily sloped from back to front.  The miss is obviously left, but the shot that wins this tournament works left to right, a fade, and if you even think about coming in from the right, you sir, have gigantic balls.  Think Tiger’s shot from last year…a controlled 5-iron that worked left to right and landed softly, that’s what you’re looking for coming in.

Once you’re on the green, you face a fast, rollercoaster putt that has to have the right line and speed…which is a lot easier said than done.  It’s arguably the greatest finishing hole, non-Carnoustie division that has ever been created, and has about as drama-filled resume as you’re going to find.  Robert Gamez’s hole out to win, Tiger’s two identical putts falling in, Vijay, Freddie and about a million others finding the water, Phil trying to carve a giant slice (for him) onto the green…the list is just huge and instantly recalled.

But if you win, you get to do this…and that’s pretty damn cool.

arnie bay hill 18