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Strategize This Hole

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8th Hole - Belmont Golf Course - Richmond, VA
350 Yards


The triangle is 250 yards long (my average with the driver).  The width is 57 yards.  You can't see it from this image, but there's a small penalty area to the right of the triangle with very high grass around it (likely lost ball and nearly impossible to get out of if you do find it).

My usual driver shot shape is left-to-right, and I can't hit driver over the trees to the left that are closer to the tee.  And sometimes the fade is just a pull, so I need to start a driver far enough right to miss the trees short left.  I usually hit driver if I have 65 yards to use, so I feel like it's a little too narrow here to hit driver.  My 19* hybrid goes about 220 and should still leave me a full PW into the green.  

I've just started playing here again after a recent renovation (the Google Earth images are old), so I've only played this hole a couple of times recently, tried several clubs off the tee, haven't hit any of them well.  I'm thinking that the hybrid is the play, just because those trees short and left won't let me bail out way left away from the penalty area.

What do you guys recommend?


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Driver - :cobra-small: F8 - Aldila NV Blue 60 ( S )
3 Wood (16*) - :cobra-small: F8 - Aldila NV Blue 60 ( S )
3 Hybrid (19*) - :taylormade-small: RBZ
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What is your GIR or proximity on approaches from 100 yards versus 130? If you play the hole 10 times with driver how many times do you hit it in the penalty area? 

Play it 10 ways with each club and see which scores better. If the scoring is similar with both tee clubs, then it becomes situational. Right to left wind, probably OK to hit driver. Hitting driver relatively straight and on target on the front 9? Hit driver. 

If 250 is your average, that means you should hit driver 260-270 on good shots. If you start comparing an 80-90 yard wedge vs 130, you should start seeing benefit in that situation. Maybe grip down an inch on driver and try to make an easier swing and see if that helps. 

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I’m with @BMart519on this. For me would depend on how my driver was working that day and I would play it safe. YMMV 

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The triangle is fine, but consider drawing a "triangle" using your normal shot shape for the two long legs.  On the left side it would have to stay right of the first batch of trees, ending up in the left-center of the fairway, maybe further right.  You know your shape, you can do this.  On the right side, the end has to stay left of the Penalty Area.  NOW what's the available width?  40 yards maybe?  45?  That does seem pretty tight to me.  If you can learn to hit the driver straighter or higher, that would open the hole up a good bit, but you have to make decisions on the shots you have right now.  I agree with you, the shorter club is probably the right choice.  And the right choice is not dependent on the length of the hole, to me, its a matter of getting the maximum distance possible while maintaining an acceptable level of risk.

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Assuming that dropping back a club takes the penalty area out of play and you are left with a wedge into the green then dropping back seems like the right play.   Green looks to be decent sized with some room to not just play to the middle.  

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57 yards is a lot of room. That’s just over the width of a football field. Take driver from middle of the tee area aim just just inside the left corner of the triangle and swing away

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Hybrid: PXG Gen2 22* w/AD hybrid

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Hit your 200 yard club, leaving your 150 club into the green.  There is a hole similar to this that I play, but it’s a forced layup for me.  I hit my 190-200 club, leaving me about 120-140 in depending on hole location.


If you are comfy with the 150 club, that’s how I would approach it.  

Or 210, 220, give yourself the best 2nd shot into the green that works best for you.  

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If your hitting wedge or less it's probably a good shot off the tee. Keep dropping down until you find something your comfortable with and confident in. Even try splitting the hole in half, hit your 175 club twice. I'm guessing the idea is to just keep the big number off the scorecard?

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If 250 is a good drive, all things considered, and you're likely to be shorter if you miss it just a bit, I'd hit driver. It would appear you have plenty of room for that.

I'm not a huge fan of dropping back, as a mishit hybrid is nothing more than shorter than a mishit driver in most cases. Now, if your mishit hybrid still gives you a wedge into the green, then by all means that's probably an OK play as well.

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17° Hybrid:
callaway_logo.png.3dd18aa65544000dd0ea3901697a8261.png Callaway Super Hybrid, 41.5", Mitsubishi MMT Hybrid 80 TX
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more and more i'm finding myself not pulling driver on holes like this.  

i'd play it as 5i (220 club) and either full gap wedge or soft PW from 130.  

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Personally, at the age of 75, I would always hit away from danger and have a simple shot into the green, again avoiding danger surrounding the greens.  At my age, I always play to yardages that are in my comfort zone.  With respect.   

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FAIRWAY - TSI2 16.5* - Fujikura Motore Speeder VC 6.1 S

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Buy a new driver that you hit 260 🤣. If 220 takes the penalty area out and doesn't bring anything else into play then that is the play. Leaving a wedge to the green even if it is a longer wedge is fine. If 220 doesn't remove the trouble or brings the bunkers into play then you may have to reassess. Is it any wider at 220? From the pic it appears it is the same width and 220 may bring the front of the hazard into play or bunkers? 55-60 yards is borderline for a driver but if there are no wider or better options send it is the right play. 

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Hit driver from the tee.   Aim  down the left inside the tree-line.  I usually tee the ball slightly lower, and move it back about a ball from my normal driver position.  That almost guarantees a low fade that runs, because the ball is teed down, and the club doesn't quite get square before you get to the ball. It also sort of takes the pull out of the equation.   That should put you close enough (150 or less) for your approach.  Since you favor the left-to-right (fade), you can aim your approach off the left bunkers and you have all sorts of room short and to the right before the right bunkers become a problem.    Play your normal shot shape to your advantage.  Your minimum yardage on the approach should be enough to get you  5 yards over either of the front bunkers.  If you draw a line across the backside of both front bunkers... beyond that with a fade off the left bunkers you have all sorts of landing room.   

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Here is the hole i mentioned.  Any farther down the fairway and it is a weird downhill lie to a green above you.  So I try to land on the spot level with the green.  Sometimes it goes down the hill and I have a 58° in but I would rather hit full 48 or PW from this spot.


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Laying up seems to be the right play since you can't hit driver past/over the yardage that the trouble is located at. The hole is short enough that using less than driver should be just fine.

My son-in-law owns a house that borders this course but I've never had the chance to play it. Is it true that there are going to tear it up and make a 12-hole course out of it? I thought I had read that somewhere...

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The answer is to develop a fade you can trust.  Do that and you can tee off with anything giving 200 - aiming to start at the left hand edge fairway and leaving a shot at the green. 

It looks like barring behind a tree, the right hand side of the fairway (and even under the tree) gives a clear shot.  In fact fade- fade is a probably the easiest shot sequence to visualise  unless pin is back left.

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I would pound the crap out of my driver...190 right down the middle. Then a five hybrid to the green. If I don't hit the drive well I would hit 5 wood.

This is identical to the #1 hole at the course I play. All spring we got no roll and it was cool and windy. Usually hit 3 wood for my second...occasionally a 5.

When you get over 75...you really have to enjoy the game for what it is.


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Don’t hit driver.  Hit the hybrid and a full PW to center of green.  Hopefully, you can make a birdie, but at least a par and move on. 

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