By Jim Cliborne
Most golf courses around the country have what is called their signature hole. Various advertisements, letterheads and other materials will feature photos of that hole. Probably the most famous of signature holes is the island green seventeenth at TPC Sawgrass in Florida. The Par 5 third hole is considered the signature hole at Sierra del Rio. It is picturesque and is one of 18 “magnificent holes in one.”
Courses may also give a stretch of several holes a name to describe the difficulty of those holes. The most famous of these is “Amen Corner” at Augusta National, where the Masters is held each year. If you can’t get through these three holes in at least par, you can say “Amen” to your chances of winning the tournament.
With that in mind, Turtleback Mountain partners is inviting golfers to help name the difficult final four holes at Sierra del Rio Golf Course. According to PGA Professional Guy Wimberly, these four holes could be the most challenging finishing holes of any golf course in the state.
The closing stretch starts with the 15th whose teeing ground is the highest point on the course. This dogleg left features a rocky mesa guarding the left side of the fairway from tee to green, a bunker complex in the elbow of the dogleg and a lateral hazard on the right side that includes the arroyo that winds downhill to bisect the fairway in front of the green. Avoid all this trouble and you reach a green guarded by two bunkers on the left side and a steep rocky hill waiting for errant approach shots to the right. The left back pin placement is the toughest on the course.
The 16th has a pinpoint landing area followed by a second shot to be hit from a downhill lie to an uphill three-level green – the most undulating green on the course. Again the arroyo bisects the fairway adding to the risk of each shot.
The par three 17th is no breather. It features a lake and a “beach bunker” that extends across the front of the green forcing an all-carry tee shot, but hit it long and the golfer faces a severe uphill pitch shot back toward the bunker and lake.
The 18th normally plays into the prevailing wind and is the second longest par four on the course. The home hole features an arroyo down the entire right side of the fairway and a fairway bunker complex on the left side to catch shots attempting to avoid the arroyo. This hole elicited the mantra “What goes in the ditch stays in the ditch.” The narrow approach to the green is created by the arroyo on the entire right side of the green jogging to the left at the green and by a large bunker guarding the entire left side of the green.
The naming contest is open to all. Entries can be on a form that can be picked up in the Pro Shop at Sierra del Rio or in any written form. They can be submitted by e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org. The entry should include the proposers name, address, e-mail address and a statement of the rationale for the proposed name. The winning entry will receive a steak au poivre dinner for two, compliments of Sierra del Rio. The winner will be chosen by the Operations Committee in January. The winning entry will be used in advertising and marketing the golf course.