At least a few times a month, I’m going to be featuring a “favorite hole” from courses I’ve recently played. These could be holes that have unique and beautiful designs, holes that I have a bias toward because I played them particularly well, or, as in the case of this week, a combination of these two.
This week, that hole is #2 at The Links at Stoney Point. And in the interest of full disclosure, this was the first hole I ever eagled in my life, so it definitely has a special place in my golfing heart.
From the moment you step on the tee box at #2, the word “eagle” starts bouncing around your thoughts. You glance at the yardage sign again, just to make sure you saw it correctly. 474 yards. The slightly doglegged fairway spreads out before you, and you can visualize the perfect drive. Start it out to the right with a mildly aggressive draw, and it will take the natural slope of the fairway and leave you perfectly positioned with no more than 185 yards into a generously large green. Unfortunately, though, visualizing the drive is not enough. You actually have to hit it.
That’s when you realize the fine line that lies between eagle and bogey on the tempting par-5. For instance, if you get a little too aggressive with that draw, you’ll end up in a strategically placed fairway bunker, or worse, in the creek or the trees that line the left side of the fairway. However, get too cautious and you run the risk of leaving the ball in the rough at the top of the fairway slope on the right, where an oak tree’s massive hanging limbs make any shot to the green impossible.
Let’s assume, though, that you hit the perfect drive and you’re in a great position to go for the green. Suddenly that second shot doesn’t seem quite as easy as you imagined. With water running right up to the front edge of the green, and two bunkers along the back, there is little room for error. Factor in a green that has been baking in the hot southern sun, and suddenly thoughts of laying up for an easy wedge enter your head.
To me, this is the definition of a fun hole. You have the temptation of trying to hit two perfect shots and jump-starting your round with an eagle, or you can play it safe and walk away with a slightly less satisfying birdie or par. Whichever option you choose, odds are that you’ll immediately want to go back and give this hole another run.