Pole Creek #7 (Meadows)

584 • 552 • 460 • 442 // Par 5

From the back tee, it’s 240 yards to carry the bunker and 285 on that line to stay in the fairway. Pole Creek is at significant altitude (over 8,000 feet) so the carry isn’t the issue so much as getting a drive to stop in the fairway, or turning a draw over enough to stay in the fairway, because the lodge pole pines down the left side are tall enough that only Bubba will be taking it over them.

If you can somehow find the fairway on that line, then you have a chance to go at the green, but it’s 240+, uphill and all carry over all manner of trouble (first pond, then creek, then bunkers). It’s a super dramatic second shot. The green is about 20 feet higher than the fairway, and you’re playing from a slightly downhill lie, which is a difficult but intriguing shot.

But it’s a bad hole in any other scenario. Drive it in the rough? You’ll need to lay up. Shorter driver who can’t cut the corner? Also going to be a layup. And if you get wild on the drive and find the trees, then you’re really in a world of hurt.

Consider the options for the layup. Do you want to lay up to what is basically an island between the ponds and the wetland creek? Good luck, frankly. If you don’t want to try that shot, I guess you could try to run it down the narrow bit of fairway right of the pond, but there’s trouble on both sides and the benefit doesn’t seem equal to the risk. So most likely you’re laying up short of the pond, which means you have 180 or so left (uphill) over a pond, a wetland stream, and sand. The few times I played here I’m sure I saw more people pick up than finish the hole.

From behind the green looking back toward the fairway (Credit: twoguyswhogolf.com)