Tom Jackson’s layout at River Club is a how-to guide for incorporating water.
Executing it to perfection required something special, obviously. Likewise, navigating this oft-difficult track is not a given for the average player. Yet, what we’ve found over the years is that five holes thread the needle between “Hell, yeah!” and much more profane expletives.
Par or birdie these five, and your buddies are on the hook for any post-round wager payoffs. Struggle on them all, and your scorecard is likely going to include a few snowmen.
NO. 3, PAR 5, 514 YARDS
The water on Jackson’s third hole – in this case a sliver stream up the right side – isn’t your major problem to be on the lookout for. No, for as narrow as that stream is, a thick-cut rough and the trees hugging the fairway are going to make the in-play area feel even more narrow. At 514 yards, staying on that straight line from start to finish so early in the round is a big ask.
NO. 6, PAR 5, 477 YARDS
The second Par 5 at River Club couldn’t look much different from the first. On the second, a sharp turn left is further pronounced by water all the way up the left and then a second pond that is very much in play on any player’s second shot. In between is an angled fairway and then an even more angled green that juts back and leaves those trying to shave distance a forced carry. (par five 6th hole pictured right)
NO. 7, PAR 4, 328 YARDS
Oh, you thought you were going to get a break? Fat chance. Like the hole preceding it, No. 7 includes water on both sides of a landing zone (that at least is much more forgiving than on No. 6). If that wasn’t enough, Jackson dropped in a pair of large waste bunkers in the final fifth of the hole. So, anyone who fades right off the tee now has those staring them in the face.
NO. 15, PAR 4, 384 YARDS
When one forced carry just won’t do, throw in another for good measure. That’s what the 15th hole – the second handicap on the entire course – doles out. The first shot is only a partial forced carry, given the traditional tee locations. But the second is an all-out assault on those who play it low. Getting the green requires a solid arc and an even better touch. (par four 15th hole pictured right)
NO. 18, PAR 5, 493 YARDS
It’s time to bring it all home, and Jackson ensured that getting into the clubhouse for that post-round drink and meal might just include a couple more hiccups. That’s because bending around that large pond up the left forces you to really think your way through it. Players who try to get fancy have been known to dunk not just one, but two golf balls here.