Ballyneal: A Golf Addict's Guide (17th Hole)


17th Hole - Par 4, 481 Yards
Next to the 6th hole, the 17th hole is probably the toughest hole on the course. Into the wind, it's an absolute beast. Similar to how the 7th and 8th holes run in opposite directions, you may be downwind on 16 and into the wind on 17, or vice versa. The line between par 4 and 5 can be blurred between these two holes.

Aside from being a difficult, long par 4, the 17th is a great golf hole with strong strategic merit. The fairway is one long roller-coaster ride to the green, dominated by a large ridge the bisects the fairway lengthwise in the landing zone. The perfect drive should straddle the ridge line and get a turbo boost around the corner of the dogleg. Anything short of that and you want to be down the left/upper side of the fairway, leaving a longer approach shot but a view of the green and a more level lie.

I always have great difficulty with this tee shot because I can picture the green in the corner of my eye and always question why I'm aiming away from the green on a 480-yard hole. The natural tendency is to take it down the right side and shorten the hole, but this leaves a blind shot at best, or a drive in the bunker or yucca at worst. On a course which has seen some of my worst golf shots, a disproportionate share have come on the 17th hole. Undoubtedly, it stems from the internal conflict manifested by Doak right from the tee box (and by the fact that I'm simply not that good).

The greensite for the 17th is one of the best on the course, and is a continuation of the broad rolling nature found on the fairway. There are a number of interesting hole locations, some of which have ridges that help you get the ball close to the hole. Of course, the ground game is an appropriately open option for a hole of this length. In general, the key is to run one up from the front left of the green.

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  1. Anonymous said...:

    The 17th is a bear of a whole. I rarely par the hole except for one magical day. I was playing with hickories with a member from Denver.

    He is a single digit and had his problems on the hole. He finally picked up and walked up to the green with me. He say my ball four feet from the pin.

    Are you there in two? Yes, I replied. I hit driver mashie. Made the putt and he said, I have never birdied this hole.

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