Tom Jackson incorporated water on 13 of the 18 holes he laid out at River Hills Golf & Country Club, including eight of the nine after the turn.
He dropped in 42 different bunkers, some of the waste variety.
And 11 of the 18 holes are anything but straight.
The difficulty level here is – maybe more than most courses – all about how precise you can be during that round. And if that’s the case, these three holes at River Hills can make you pay more than the rest.
No. 2, Par 5, 497 yards
When you see a Par 5 on the score card, you almost immediately go for the driver and get ready to bomb away. That’s not an option for anyone who is really going to lay into one on the second hole. The 90-degree dogleg right includes a small bunker at the extension of the bend that swallows up those tee shots that run through the fairway.
Find that bunker, and not only are you hitting out of sand, but you’re still looking at a solid 290 yards to the green. Now, try to avoid it by hugging the dogleg, and you’re going to flirt with the trees lining the inner elbow. We could keep going with the potential problem areas, but we don’t need to break down all the reasons we’ve written down a snow man after playing this hole. (2nd hole top photo)
No. 7, Par 5, 485 yards
Much like No. 2, any chance at an even respectable score on the seventh is going to require a deft touch to kick things off. The subtly snaking hole makes multiple turns, first after the fairway runs into a pair of bunkers and prior to a small pond, then again around that water (and with even more on the opposite side, and even ever so slightly back to the green.
The outlook of this hole isn’t great from the opening yards, if for no other reason that much of the trouble zones aren’t all that defined – a sheer product of distance, not some maniacal design tactic. It’s all capped off by the fact that there is no room for error on the approach. Miss the putting surface, and its either sand of thick rough greeting you with a sneer. (7th hole pictured right)
No. 13, Par 4, 366 yards
As far as holes that have kicked our butt, No. 13 makes the cut because it’s the first real non-Par 3 that utilizes an oversized pond instead of one of the smaller versions or a stream here. The landing area off the tee gradually decreases in size as the fairway gives way to that water up the right.
The product is one that forces players to either shave distance or flirt with a drop after just one ball strike. And no matter which route is chosen, it’s almost a guaranteed flight back over the pond to reach the green. If you’ve already done it once, the wet stuff can very quickly get into your head and make you do it again. (13th hole pictured right)