Friday, March 6, 2009

Old Marsh GC #5

Old Marsh GC is a 1988 Pete Dye design in Palm Beach Gardens, Florida. It was originally 460 acres of marsh land. As typical of most Florida courses they are very, flat designs compared to Northern Michigan where I have played most of my golf.

Hole #5 ( is a short par 4, being only 360 yards from the back tee. It is bordered by water on the right and directly behind the right third of the green. I would guess that Mr. Dye was restricted in what he had to work with in the length for this hole, so he wanted to do something to make a relatively easy, defenseless, hole into something more challenging. The previous four holes I felt were a rather docile stretch of golf for a Dye designed course, so he may have felt some pressure to toughen up the course starting at the 5th hole. What he did was construct a 10-12 foot high mound directly across the front of the green with a bunker in the middle creating a blind shot, a classic Dell design hole. He also placed a smaller bunker adjacent to the back middle portion of the green to catch any long approach shots.

The result is you have an interesting, challenging, very memorable golf hole. There is no chance of being able to drive the green, let alone being able to even see the flag stick. If you look closely at the pictures of the mound, you will see a small triangular target rock on the crest of the ridge which indicates where the pin is positioned for that day. Just like the original Dell hole, #6 at Lahinch GC, County Clare, Ireland. Mr. Dye's genius, of using a classic hole design, has produced a hole that is very memorable and fun to play. In fact many of the Dye courses will have some sort of signature blind hole incorporated into its design.

Leaving the green you will pass a bell, dedicated to his father, that is rung to let the group behind you know you have completed play of the hole. Take notice when you ring that bell because there is a tough stretch of holes ahead of you.

The day I played this hole, I hit driver from the back tee to a generous landing area and gap wedge to the smallish green. I ended up just short on the fringe and was able to two putt for my par. I was surprised to see where my approach shot had ended up, as I thought it was going to be long when I struck it. My caddie told me that most players either like this hole or hate it, which is typical of most blind holes. I like it because it is the most memorable hole of the course, due to the fact Mr. Dye choose to incorporate a classic hole design to make it a more challenging hole.

Other notable holes: #7, 8, & 16.

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