Willie Park demands the long hitter to challenge the bunker, if they bail left they will run out of fairway on the left and into the rough and or trees. Onto one of the best par 4s in all of golf, the yard par 4 3rd, where players get an early look at one of the more dramatic parts of the property. The tee shot is blind and runs downhill to a wide open area and OB runs down the right side so the tendency is to bail right. The right rough yields a very difficult angle and uphill approach shot to the elevated green, so fairway is key here.
The pushup green has bunkers on the right side and is volcano-like where a miss short, left, long or right is repelled further from the hole. After a couple of brutes, Willie Park gives players a couple of mid-length par 4s, each still very challenging. The 4th tee comes from low on the property and requires a very precise tee shot. I love how Park used the fairway undulation on this hole to challenge the player.
Very rarely are you greeted with a level lie. Longer players are typically greeted with a wedge shot from an upslope to a small green complex, not an easy shot. The green has a lot of back to front slope and being above the flag can leave some delicate putts. I tend to lay back on this hole as the driving area is very narrow when bunkers pinch in at about yards. Park uses a fronting bunker in the middle of the fairway to deceive players.
While it looks like the bunker is pushed up to the green, there is actually about 10 yards of space between it and the green. After the tricky 5th is the downhill par 3 6th. The hole plays about a club downhill so with a good mid-iron a birdie can be had. The other awkward aspect of the 6th is that the 7th tee box sits right next to the 6th, so players walk down to the 6th green and back to the 7th tee. The 7th hole demands a quality tee shot as bunkers pinch in on both the right and left side, narrowing to about 20 yards wide.
From there, an uphill mid-iron approach is left to relatively flat green except for the front of the green which has a lot of back to front slope. Stretching to a lengthy yards from the back tee box, the 8th requires a precise 3W or driver for most. If you play up, there are tees at yards and yards as well. The green is fronted by bunkers on both the right and left as well as one in the middle of the fairway run up area. This bunker is deceiving from the tee, but there is significant room over it to allow for a ball to run onto the green and hold. The green itself is pretty large and has significant back to front slope, making the hole extra treacherous.
The front 9 comes to a close with the tough par 4 9th. The toughest aspect of this hole is the tee shot. Players are forced to make a decision because of the treacherous fairway bunkers on the left and right. The landing area is about 25 yards and a good drive can lead to a mid-iron approach as opposed to the long-iron left by laying back. I think the wise play is to lay back, leaving a long iron approach to a tough green complex. Bunkers sit on the left side and front right of the green that slopes hard from back to front and right to left.
The turn yields a gettable stretch of holes from the 10thth, holes by which are in no way easy but are scorable for those on their games. The 10th tee shot is pretty tight and favors a draw. The wise play is to hit something about yards off the tee which will leave a short to mid-iron. The key is to avoid the fairway bunkering, which will leave a clean approach to the green that has a lot of back to front slope so keeping it below the hole is recommended. The short by Olympia standards 11th is one that everyone can cut the driver loose, especially those who like to move the ball right to left.
A good drive will yield a wedge to a difficult green that is slightly elevated. The green has considerable front to back slope on the majority of the green, but the left side falls off hard to the left. A pin in the middle of the green is tough as a shot that is slightly long or left will funnel all the way off the left side of the green. The beautiful 12th is up next. While only yards, Park forces players to lay up towards the fairway bunker with a yard shot, leaving another mid-iron into the green. The creek bisects the fairway making it tough for players to hit a driver or longer club and shorten the hole.
The green slopes significantly from back to front. I love the naturalness of this hole. The scorable stretch of the back 9 ends with the short to mid-iron par 3 13th. The relatively benign par 3 is protected by a green that sweeps from left to right and back to front, making long putts difficult. The 14th signals the start to the challenging close at Olympia. The 14th is a picturesque par 4 from the elevated tee box that plays down into a valley. The longest hitters may need to pull 3W to avoid the creek that bisects the fairway, but for most, the call is driver.
There are creeks on either sides of the fairway and a good drive will yield a mid-iron approach to an elevated green. The green has a lot of slope from front to back, and missing long is death. The 15th is by no means an easy par 5, and in particular, the tee shot is very challenging. Willie Park requires players to hit the ball down the left side of the fairway which is guarded by fairway bunkering to avoid being blocked out on the second shot, unless of course you are Tiger Woods.
What TigerWoods means when he says he can "hit all the shots. For long hitters, the 15th is reachable. For most, the second shot is a layup to setup a wedge approach to a large green which slopes from back to front with the right corner falling off to the right. The final 3 kicks off with the beautiful drop shot 16th.
A beautiful par 3 plays about a club to a half a club downhill and is a tough target to hit. The green slopes severely from back to front, making a long miss not ideal, while the creek guards the front. My advice, hit it the correct distance: The long par 4 is a beauty. The approach shot is tough, uphill to a green that has deep bunkers on the right and left side.
The green itself is very flat but in no way easy as overtime the land has settled and has subtle breaks that are tough to read. The closer is a dandy.
The tee shot calls for a draw and the bunkers on the right side come into to play. A poor drive will most likely force a layup and a tough up and down due to the heavily sloped green. In particular, his ability to use the land. Butterfield Creek crosses in front of the tee about yards out then runs down the right of a fairway that has been shifted over toward it to bring the creek very much into play. The creek then crosses the hole again at the base of a berm some yards from the tee. The elevated tee shot calls for a long iron or 3-wood to take the creek out of play, but that leaves an uphill shot over the creek to an elevated green with a tremendous amount of back-to-front-slope.
Play begins on Friday at Olympia Fields Country Club, with tee times set for Juniors Jamie Li, Greyson Porter and Jake Carter get another. become a pro. pros describe the play as difficult, but fair. members Just . areas. Several other putting practice areas are located near their perspective first.
Anything blocked to the right will find trees while anything hit to the front of the green could roll back off and down the steeply sloping fairway. Instead of two routine putts for par, a player could be facing a yard chip shot. This hole may prove to be a most rare specie for the field: There are two ways to play it. Shorter hitters will play it as a true three-shotter, because the fairway turns sharply to the right about yards from the green. Look for them to use a long iron or fairway wood off the tee, then hit a long iron to set up a wedge shot.
The bigger hitters can reach in two - but only if they keep their tee shots down the left, and that's not easy to do as the fairway slope works against them. If they end up to the right, they'll have to hit a slice - not just a fade - around the crook of the curve to reach the green. Of course, they'd be better laying up. A new tee has been added on an elevated perch here, which among other things gives players a better view of all the trouble that awaits.
A shot pulled to the left will find sand or a wooded area to the left. The latter would leave a recovery off hard ground that must avoid branches, then clear a bunker and come to rest on a sloping green. Tee shots blocked to the right run the risk of bounding into Butterfield Creek, which flows past the right side of the green. If you miss this shot, miss it in the front-right bunker. Butterfield Creek again looms large along the right side of the fairway, ready to catch any missed fades or blocks.
A player could use a driver here, but the fairway is narrow in the landing area and he could be flirting with a large, horizontal bunker guarding the left third of the fairway and if he clears it, his approach could be blocked by trees. The key here then is to do whatever it takes to find the fairway.
This is a good example of how, although this course has its share of long holes, much of the danger at Olympia Fields lurks in the shorter holes. The elevated green makes it difficult to determine the hole location. If a player can pull that off, and keep his ball fair, he will achieve two things: He will avoid the fairway bunker that occupies a substantial portion of the fairway on the right side of the landing area.
He will take the water that cuts into the fairway some 20 yards short of the green out of play on the approach shot. The approach will likely be a long iron to a huge green that slopes from back to front and has a big hogback on the right side. This is one of the most difficult greens on the course. This hole calls for two long and precise shots and two well-struck putts.
Bunkers pinch both sides of the fairway on this slight dogleg-left. The best play is to carry the left fairway, about yards out, and leave a short iron to a deep green with a severe back-to-front tilt. The green is well protected with two bunkers right and one bunker left. The toughest bunker is the one short-right.
A player who lands in there will be left well below the surface of the green, having to hit a soft high shot to a putting surface that slopes back to front - in a perpendicular direction, in other words. Depending where the hole is cut, his recovery may not stay on the green. This is a big left-to-right dogleg that calls for a tee ball over the second fairway bunker, leaving a middle- or short-iron to a large, relatively flat green.
Easier said than done, however, because the landing area beyond the bunker is very tight, and it slopes such that it can kick the ball from right to left and into the rough at the far side of the fairway. A small collection area has been built at the left-rear of the green, so watch for some creative chipping from those who end up beyond the green. But at least those players will be in better shape than those who hit it long and into a stand of huge oak trees behind the green.
The best strategy, therefore, is to hit to the middle of the green and take your chances with the flat stick. This is the signature hole for this nine. The first thing you notice is that there are no fairway bunkers. The second thing is that the hole doesn't need any. The tee shot is hit blind, out of a tight chute, to a narrow fairway that sits beyond and down a steep hill.
And it must find the left of the fairway or trees may block the approach to the small, elevated green. A clear approach will likely call for a middle iron, but holding this green will be difficult as the slope of the surface is one of the most severe on the course. Anything that lands on the front may roll off the green and back down a steep stretch of fairway.
This is another example of how the shorter holes at Olympia Fields can still be perilous. The fairway is quite narrow and a substantial ridge splits it at about yards from the tee.
Players can try to carry the ball up and over the ridge, but those who do not probably will end up at the bottom of a hill and face a blind, uphill approach into a small, heavily bunkered green. The effectiveness of the tee shot determines whether or not this is a birdie hole. Here is another example! Most players will keep the driver in the bag here and take their chances with a long iron, as the fairway is the width of an eyelet, and it is protected both by encroaching trees - they seem to be everywhere you look - and a large bunker that juts out from the left side almost to the middle of the fairway.
Once the player does find the fairway, he is confronted with a short iron to a shallow green with a hogback in the back-left position.
Two deep greenside bunkers complete the challenge. Now the course emerges from the trees and opens up for the closing stretch. The wind if any. This is the last good chance at birdie.