Since I'm absolutely jonesing for some golf right now, and since I'm at least a month away from having any open courses to play at, I figured I'd post a review/tip sheet for my home course at Rose Creek.
Hole 1: A great starting hole that seems pretty straight forward. It's a short, dogleg left par four that goes slightly downhill into a valley before coming back up to the green. Despite the fact that it is so short, the upward incline towards the green make it an extremely difficult green to drive. A player can cut the dogleg to shorten the hole, but there are some scattered trees there that can make a good shot into a nightmare. There's lots of room on the right to miss, though there are a couple of things to look out for. There are white stakes over there, but it takes a very errant shot to reach them. There is also a water hazard that big hitters should concern themselves with, though again, it takes a very errant shot. Best play is to aim for the right side of the fairway to take the greenside bunkers out of play on the approach.
Hole 2: A very short par 3 with a huge green. This is one of the easiest birdies on the course, but there are a couple of things that can turn this hole into a nightmare. Right in front of the green is a small bunker. There is also a bunker on the left. To the right, the green slopes down severely to the creek, and anything going over the green is going to result in stroke in distance unless you can hit a miracle shot out of the woods. And even if you hit the green, the huge nature of it along with its wild undulations make a two-putt hardly a guarantee.
Hole 3: In my personal opinion, this is the hardest par five I have ever played. The tee shot has a huge fairway. Just don’t miss it. Along the right hand side is a huge hill that tends to have some of the deepest rough on a course that is known for deep rough. And just over that hill is a water hazard that has collected many errant tee shots. On the left side of the fairway is a massive area of fescue that has thankfully been marked with red stakes, and it runs along the entire hole. The worst part about this hole is that it has undergone several flood renovation projects over the years. That means that the fairway plays way above the fescue on the left, and any errant tee shot on the left is going to end up in a penalty stroke. Now while this green is reachable in two, I don’t recommend trying. Yes, the green is huge, but if you land right in front of it, the slope of the fairway is going to cause your ball to roll right down into the red staked fescue. Best play is to lay up the second shot to about 130 and play for par.
Hole 4: This tricky little par 3 uses something that is rarely seen in the Fargo area: elevation change. It is a severely downhill shot to the green over the same fescue that protects the left side of hole 3. There is also a bunker nestled in front of the green. If you’re going to miss, miss right. Otherwise, you’re either going to find sand or a penalty stroke. And the green is the hardest one on the course.
Hole 5: This is the hardest hole on the course. They usually have the white tees playing way up for the recreational golfer, but the tournament length makes this hole absolutely horrid. It’s a very long par four that requires a layup tee shot. The fairway is very narrow, and there is no place to safely miss. There is a red staked ravine on the left and a red staked grove of trees on the right. The fairway doglegs narrowly between them to the left before snaking back to the right. And just when you think you’re save by hitting a nice tee shot, you have a two tiered narrow green to work with that has a nasty bunker protecting the back half along with two other bunkers that collect anything that goes long. Bogey is a good score here.
Hole 6: A good tee shot can make this hole an easy birdie. There are some bunkers on the right to worry about along with a few dense evergreen trees on the left. If your tee shot is on the right, you’ll be hitting over a greenside bunker on your second shot. If your tee shot is on the left, you’ll have some trees that overhang the fairway to hit over or through. The only way to birdie this hole is to hit the center of the fairway. The trick is, this green plays very hard. You must roll your approach up to the green to have a chance of holding it. If you’re going to miss this green, miss left.
Hole 7: Another short par 4. There are some white stakes on the right, and the white stakes have some bunkers to help protect them. On the left is a steep slope down to the water hazard. If you’re lucky enough to hit over there without hitting the hazard, you’ll have a tricky lie with some trees to hit over. Best bet here is to hit the right side of the fairway. The left side of the fairway will have a nasty bunker to hit over. This hole is notorious for having a large ground under repair area to the right of the green, so if you’re going to miss, that’s probably the best place to do it.
Hole 8: This hole kicks off a series of tough par 4’s that are the signature of this course. Big hitters are going to want to lay up on this tee shot because overshooting the fairway means bunker city. Missing the fairway to the left has more bunkers. Missing to the right has a large water hazard. Best bet is to try for 150 because anything else is a nightmare. About 140 out, the fairway seriously narrows between a second water hazard on the left and a series of bunkers on the right. Landing anything safely in this area is precarious at best. The water hazard on the left protects the green from approaches on that side. It curls around the left side of the green and then tucks in behind it. On the right, there are two more greenside bunkers that protect any approach from that side as well. You really have to be accurate with this approach.
Hole 9: Another tough tee shot because big hitters are going to have to judge at which angle to play over the water hazard on the right hand side. Most hitters are going to want to play it safe and aim well left of the water, but this will make par nearly impossible. Missing the fairway to the right not only means that your tee shot will be wet, but it also means that you’re going to have to hit over a nasty bunker to get to the green. Missing to the left is not the end of the world, but the best play from over there is to the fairway about 100 yards out. Even hitting the middle of the fairway will cause a tough approach as the green is almost completely protected by bunkers around the front, left, and back sides. On the right side of the green is the water hazard.
Hole 10: At last, a hole where there is no trouble. But the angle of the fairway on this long par 4 make for a tough tee shot anyway. Big hitters are going to want to cut the dogleg because hitting straight off the tee will likely carry over the 150 yard marker into some of the wettest, deepest, and nastiest rough in the state of North Dakota. If you hit in to that crap, your best bet is to just get it back into the fairway. If you miss left, it’s not a big deal. The rough, though still deep, is lighter over there. And no matter where your approach is from, the way to the green is pretty clean. The green is protected by hills with deep rough, but there are no bunkers on this hole. Enjoy.
Hole 11: A lot of people will argue that this is the hardest hole on the course, but that depends on how one defines hard. Hole 5 is hard because the long term average scores are high. This is just a hard hole to score on because it is so long and, well, tricky. A lot of big hitters intentionally miss right on this hole because of the fact that the rough over there is some of the easiest to hit from on the course. Plus, since it doglegs that way, it can cut some serious distance off of the hole. It’s somewhat of a gamble, though, because there are not only some trees over there, but then there will also be a bunker to hit over on the approach. If you miss left, there are some white stakes to think about not to mention the fact that you’ll be adding distance to an already long hole. Best bet is to try to hit over the bunker on the right side of the fairway if you think you have the distance. If you don’t have the distance, aim well left of that bunker because putting it in that bunker pretty much means game over. The approach is only blocked by that single bunker on the right side, but unless you’ve been able to hit your tee shot over the fairway bunker on the right, your best bet will be to lay up.
Hole 12: This is the course’s signature hole, and it gives a lot of players a lot of fits. People with GPS will walk up to the tee and see they are only about 400 yards from the pin. They will lick their chops. And then the hole gets them. Tiger Woods can probably eagle this hole seven times out of ten. The other three times, he would be recording double and triple bogeys. The best play on this tee shot especially when it’s windy, and it’s always windy in Fargo, is to pull out your five wood and stick it in the fairway. There is water on the left and there is water on the right. Plus, if you hit your tee shot past about the 250 mark, you will be travelling perpendicular to the path to the hole anyway. So your best bet is to hit it about 200. Now the key here is that if you end up left and have hit the ball about 220 or so, you will be inside of 220 to get to the green. Do not go for it. Play what the hole gives you, and you will have a legitimate shot at birdie or an easy par. Go for the gusto, and you’ll be in double digits. The key on that second shot is the fact that the water on the right hand side ends and there is a LOT of room to miss going long and/or to the right. If you aim for the green or try to cut the hole in any way, there is another water hazard on the other side of the green to worry about. The best play here is to just hit over the water hazard on the left and play an easy approach from about 100 out in the fairway. This green is a fairly easy one, too, if you hit it. But my experience on this hole is that even though it’s one of my best consistent scoring holes on the course, people unfamiliar with the course rarely do as well as even bogey.
Hole 13: Another short par three. There is some water and a bunker protecting the right side of the green. Missing left isn’t the end of the world, but there is a bunker over there as well. Plus, if you end up in the deep rough, you’ll have a very tough downhill chip to contend with. This is rated as the easiest hole on the course, too.
Hole 14: Okay, this hole is my personal arch-nemesis. It’s a short par four, but it doglegs right over water to a well protected green. Plus, the fairway tends to be hard. For some reason, I struggle getting a good approach shot from this fairway. Now I have gone for this green a couple of times and missed horribly. There is no good place to miss, so the best bet is to just play for the fairway. Missing left isn’t horrible. There are some white stakes over there, but they are well out of the way. The trick will be the second shot. The two bunkers protecting the front of the green are evil to hit out of. And don’t forget that there is water to hit over as well. And going over the green will create a horrible downhill chip shot. The greenskeeper likes to tuck the pin in behind the bunkers making this hole as difficult as it can possibly be. My advice here is that unless you are confident in your approach, lay up.
Hole 15: The last four holes at Rose Creek are extremely easy finishing holes, so if you’ve played well up to this point, you’re in for a treat. Hole 15 is the easiest birdie on the course. You have a wide open fairway to hit to on this short par 4, and even though there is some trouble, the green is largely unprotected. There are a couple of bunkers on the left, and there is a small water hazard on the right. But the front of the green is unprotected. Just don’t hit over the green. You’ll end up with an evil downhill chip.
Hole 16: This long par three is extremely straight forward. There are two bunkers on the right side of the green, but the green is unprotected in front and on the left. On the days that the greenskeeper tucks the pin behind the bunker on the right, you’ll just want to go for the center of the green. The fact that the green is pretty flat makes it a pretty easy up-and-down hole if you miss.
Hole 17: Another short par four. Given the dynamics of the course, this is the one par four that is consistently driveable. There are some white stakes on the left, though, and missing right has a bunch of trees to contend with. When the wind is at my back, I go for the green on this hole. The best play, though, is to just play for the fairway even if that means laying up the tee shot. This green is another very tough one, and you will not want to hit over it due to the fact that it slopes steeply into the Rose Coulee back there. Perhaps the most interesting part of this hole is how the approach is uphill while there is a hill that protects the right side of the green. The front and left sides of the green, though, are unprotected.
Hole 18: This is one of my favorite finishing holes in the world on a course that I otherwise really hate. Why? Because it’s the only par 5 on the course that is consistently reachable in two strokes. The tee shot is pretty much wide open. There are a couple of bunkers to worry about, but they are going to be out of reach for most players. Missing left will seriously lengthen the hole while brining the water hazard protecting the left side of the fairway up by the hole into play, but missing right is not that big of a deal. In fact, missing right will seriously shorten the hole, and I’ve seen people do it with some horribly errant tee shots over there. The second shot is the key. If you’re in the fairway or on the right side of the fairway, the green is going to be largely unprotected. Go for the gusto! But on windy days, or if you’re to the left on your tee shot, you have to worry about that water hazard on the left side of the fairway. But the fairway up there is wide open, so laying up is an easy stroke here. Just try to keep the lay up shot from going too far right because that will result in having to hit over a bunker. If you manage to keep your second shot in the middle of the fairway, you’ll have an easy approach on a relatively flat green.
Last edited by Bryan K on Sun Feb 19, 2012 6:59 pm; edited 1 time in total