Ballyneal: A Golf Addict's Guide (12th Hole)


12th Hole - Par 4, 375 Yards
The 12th is one of Tom Doak's favorite holes on the course, and it's not hard to see why. Lots of risk/reward; a birdie opportunity if you can execute the shots, but still very easy to make a big number. What more do you want in a short par 4?

The aggressive player will flirt with the left hand bunkers in the picture below. There's fairway beyond that bunker and a flat lie, leaving less than 125 yards in to attack the pin. For mere mortals, the hole requires navigating the natural ridge that runs along the hole lengthwise. There's lot of room to bail out right, but that's going to lead to a blind approach shot.

The green is what makes all those alternatives off the tee so important. This is probably the wildest green on the course, a series of integrated bowls that I believe were just sitting there waiting for somebody ballsy enough to turn it into a greensite. Simply being on this green in regulation is not enough. You want to be in the right quadrant. To do so, you probably need to be in a good position to attack with a view of the green. The front bowl requires flirting with the very deep little bunker short of the green, but provides a backstop beyond the flag to keep the ball there. The back right ridge is the most demanding pin position and requires a well-struck shot from any part of the fairway.

As you can imagine, being in one of the bowls and putting to another may lead to a putt that you've never encountered before in your golfing life. This can lead to disastrous results, such as misjudging the break completely and leaving yourself with an even tougher putt than your first one. Or it may lead to an all-world two putt that you'll tell your buddies about for years to come.


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