Friday, April 23, 2010

LPGA-Champions #18

The Rees Jones designed Champions Course at LPGA opened in 1994. It with the Arthur Hills, Legends Course comprise this 36 hole complex in Daytona Beach. Where the Legends is more tropical vegetation, secluded with moderate bunkering, the Champions is wide open, with some residential development, and lots of sand. Two very different courses indeed. Both courses are always impeccably conditioned due to the diligent work of Director of Maintenance, John Lammrish.

Hole #18 is a very challenging, dogleg left, finishing hole that plays around 445 yards. Off the tee you have about 150 yards of carry over a swampy area. Push your drive to far right and you find the long lateral bunker, to far left and you find water. Ideally, a drive with a slight draw will leave you in a position to have a go at the green in two. Again, the hazards of your approach shot are similar to your drive, water on the left and several bunkers protecting the front and right side of the green. I have played this course several times and probably only find the fairway half of the time. The right bunker is my common miss here, but today I flirted with the left side more due to the strong east wind. I ended up 177 yards to a front pin about 5 yards into the left side of the fairway. Couldn't have had a better angle because of the opening on the left third of the green. My five iron found the left fringe pin high. My SW chip hit the pin and left me with two inches for my par.

The front pin position is by far the easiest spot to score on this hole. If you are hitting in from the right side you will have to contend with several bunkers when the pin is back. Most often because you are coming in with a long iron or hybrid you will not hold the green and run off the back. This is not a bad option to error long when the pin is middle to back.

I personally like strong finishing holes that have risk/reward options and a need for length with accuracy to be able to make birdie. I would like to have the 18th hole make a strong impression with which to remember the course. This hole has all of those traits along with the need for some finesse to be able to draw the ball off the tee. No surprise that this is the toughest par 4 at Champions and my favorite. Making a par here is a great end to your days play. Make birdie and you have picked up a couple of strokes on the field.

Other notable holes: #5, #10, #13, #14, #17.

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