Course Tips by PGA Club Professional James Single
A tough driving hole with out of bounds left and tree trouble on the right. A well placed fairway bunker will bring a few undone, try to stay short of it if you can’t carry it off the tee. Bigger hitters can take the bunker on and with a good drive can increase the chances of hitting the green for two. Your second shot needs to be on the left side of the fairway to give you a nice clear shot to the green for your third, trees and another well placed fairway bunker on the right can cause problems if you are on the right hand side.
The green is elevated and has three surrounding green side bunkers. The green itself is quite big with a few undulations on it. For your best chance for your birdie or 3 pointer is try to keep your ball on the same level as the flag.
If you thought the first was a tough tee shot hold your breath when you hit this one. With tall trees just off the tee that will punish any bad shots headed left and a reachable water hazard on the right hand side of the fairway, the second demands a well hit tee shot. If you can do it, a shot that turns from right to left is best off this tee.
The second shot can be tough especially if you are on the right hand side of the fairway, if you find yourself on the right hand side of the fairway you will have only a few options, a high lofted club to get over the trees that are near the hazard, a chip out or trying to thread the needle through the trees and over the hazard if you are good enough. From the left hand side it is much easier, just avoid the large greenside trap on the left of the green and try not to leave yourself a long downhill putt.
Professional Tip – Do whatever you can to hit it up the left side of the fairway, don’t go over the back of the green, be happy with your par or two points and run to the 3rd.
The tough driving holes continue with probably the most demanding tee shot so far needed on this hole. If you can split the fairway you are on your way to par or better, the fairway has a few slopes on it and your ball can quite easily run off the fairway and be found amongst the trees. There is quite a lot of trees on both sides of the fairway and they will quite easily punish an errant second shot.
The green is one of the toughest greens on the course, it slopes from back to front and right to left and there is also 3 sand traps nearby that can make things a little tougher. When the greens are fast don’t leave yourself a downhill putt as it will easily run by and lead to a good chance of three putting.
Professional Tip – Hit the fairway, keep the ball below the hole when approaching the green, take par or two points and be happy once again.
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The tee shot on 4 is much more comfortable, generally just aiming to go straight up the fairway. There is a hidden fairway bunker on the right hand side that can’t be seen easily from the tee. Bigger hitters should aim a little further right and carry the bunker leaving around 130-150 metres to the green.
Approaching the green there is 3 greenside traps and left of the green is a couple of nasty grass mounds, left of the mounds is horrible and will take a lot of skill or luck to get it up and down from here. If you can’t hit the green short or right of the green gives you the best chance at minimising your score.
Professional tip – Give yourself the right club when approaching the green, it is quite a long green which can play havoc with club selection. A poor club choice can lead to 3 putts quite easily.
Although it is the shortest and the easiest hole on the course, a bad position on the large sloping green can prove costly. There is 3 greenside bunkers that are quite tricky if you find yourself in there as well. Generally speaking though the 5th hasn’t got much of a defence.
Professional Tip – Keep your ball below the hole on the green, you don’t want to drop a shot here as you’ll most likely be losing a shot to the field.
The 6th hole is a little gem, a tee shot left is trouble and you will be doing well to make par from there. Hit a club that goes around 160 to 180 metres and hit one straight at the big bush which is through the fairway. If you get it past the trees on the left hand side you should have a nice shot up to the narrow entrance of the elevated 6th green.
There is a couple of deep bunkers surrounding this green, avoid these and you are on your way to a good score on this great little hole. The green itself slopes from back to front and you can leave yourself a slippery downhill putt once again.
Professional Tip – trust the yardage to the green, give yourself a chance to get it to the hole when approaching this green
The postcard hole of the course. A beautiful par 3 with great surrounding gardens and a couple of water hazards lurking nearby just waiting for the occasional poor shot. Three bunkers surround the green, which slopes from back to front. The green is relatively narrow in depth therefore club selection is crucial to successfully finding the putting surface. Once again it is important to leave the ball below the hole on this green as downhill putts become rather difficult. A slight decline from the tee to the putting surface means this hole will play slightly shorter than the yardage.
Professional Tip-Avoid hitting over the back of this green, as it becomes an extremely difficult up and down chipping back to the green due to the pronounced downslope from back to front on this green.
A short par 4 which can play deceptively tricky should your tee shot unwillingly shape to the right. The ideal shot off this tee will be right to left, eliminating the possibility of losing your tee shot in dense bush/swamp area and requiring a reload.
A fair drive will leave most players with a short to mid iron into this green, which once again slopes significantly from back to front. Bunkers on either side of the green demand an accurate approach, which will ideally be left below the pin. The bunker to the right of the green has an extremely steep face and would require an excellent shot to get away with a sand save, thus it’s recommended not to flirt with a right pin too eagerly. Players must be wary of the false front on this green, as any approach shots which land on the front section are at risk of running off the front edge.
Professional tip-Longer hitters should consider hitting a fairway wood or long iron off this tee to reduce their chances of running out of fairway on the right side and being obstructed on their approach shot. A well struck long iron will leave this player with only a mid-iron approach.
One of the feature holes of Port Macquarie, the 9th is sure to challenge everyone from scratch markers to the weekend hacker. At over 500m, a well struck tee shot is important in setting up your chances at taming this hole. Light trees extend up both sides of the fairway, with more dense trees coming into play for longer hitters at approximately 200m, just off the fairway to the right.
With the drive out of the way, the real test lies with the second shot, whereby players must attempt to play it down the left side of the fairway in order to open up the green on this dogleg to the right. Any second shots which leak to the right will be in danger of winding up in the dreaded bamboo, where you are sure to be faced with a near impossible shot should you be lucky enough to find your ball.
A well-positioned second shot will leave players with an uphill approach from approximately 150-100m. Two bunkers short, right of the green are ready to catch any sideward approaches, as well as a well-placed bunker short left of the green. Once again the green slopes from back to front, with any long approaches leaving the player with a difficult chip.
Professional tip- Despite the temptation of taking on the bamboo in an attempt to find this green in two, this shot will more often than not have you walking off with bogey or worse, making the walk to the tenth tee a rather long one!
A short par 4 which can play longer than its length due to the elevation changes on the hole. The tee shot plays downhill with pines trees lurking both left and right or the fairway. An ideal tee shot will be played down the middle of the fairway, which will give the best opportunity to attack any pin position. Missing the tee shot to the left has less interference with trees than missing it right although the second shot will played over a large bunker waiting to gobble up your ball.
The second shots play uphill to a green surrounded by three bunkers with the front left being the largest and most penalising. For the shorter hitters the ball can be run up between the front left and front right bunkers or laying up short of them will minimise the risk of finding yourself in the sand.
The green slopes from back to front with the high point being back left. Going over the green with an approach shot will leave a very delicate chip back down the green. An ideal approach will be placed in the middle of the green, leaving uphill putts to most pin placements.
Another shortish par 4 which plays longer than its length due elevation changes on the hole. The fairway is sloped left to right and will look to push your ball down into the right rough and trees. An ideal tee shot will be placed up the left of the hole even into the rough as it will feed down into the fairway. Although playing too far left will cause your ball to stay up in the left trees for the longer hitters making par a difficult score.
The approach shot is blind as it is played up a rather steep slope. There are four bunkers surrounding the green waiting to eat up any errant shots. The green slopes from back left to front right with a miss short right generally being the best miss although you may find yourself in a bunker. Going over this green is a no-no as it quickly slopes away. Up and down from long of this green will prove difficult even for the most seasoned veteran.
The longest hole on the course is a slight dog leg left to right. The fairway is generous off the tee but a drive pushed to the right from the men’s tee will need a reload as thick trees are waiting to engulf a loose drive. There is a water hazard that runs along the entire left hand side of the hole and also a water hazard on the right side of the hole that runs for the majority of the hole which is quite a ways right of the fairway. An ideal shot will hit towards the mounds which are on the left hand side of the hole. The best place to leave your second shot is from 130-150 metres from the green. This will leave you short of a dam which encroaches to the left side of the fairway.
The green is fairly flat and very generous in size. There are three green side bunkers waiting for any pushed or pulled approach shots. This is a good birdie opportunity.
Professional Tip-For the longer hitters there is a chance to cut off a bit of the dogleg by driving the ball over the edge of the right trees, leaving between 220-250 metres to the green. This is a risk reward tee-shot, a tee-shot too far right will find trees or even an unseen hazard. A tee-shot hooked left could run through the fairway into a hazard as well.
A solid par three surrounded by two greenside bunkers. There is dense scrub to the right of hole for any poorly sliced tee-shots as well as trees lining the left side of the hole. There are two mounds about 20 metres short of the green which could affect the bounce of a shorter hitters tee-shot. The green has a false front which will cause balls to roll back down of the front of the green. There is a subtle ridge which runs up the middle of the green which can cause some confusing putts. The best miss is to leave the ball short of the green.
The 14th is the second toughest hole on the course for a reason. Trees and scrub line the entire right side of the fairway and the tee shot sets you up to aim towards a hazard that runs along the entire left side of the fairway. Although the fairway is generous, a miss either side will have you looking at bogey or worse. There are no greenside bunkers to worry about on this hole with the green being generously long with slight slop from back to front. A leave underneath the pin is ideal to leave an uphill putt. Like most holes going over the back is a cardinal sin with short or left being the best place to miss.
Professional Tip – Take the straightest club in the bag off the tee to hit it on the fairway and then double check the yardage to the flag.
Another relatively short par 4, the 15th does require a precise tee shot to open up the green. The hole kinks from right to left, a tee-shot played down the right side of the fairway will be blocked out by trees and a tee-shot pulled left will be in tree trouble as well. An ideal tee shot would be a right to left shape working the ball in to the middle of the fairway, this will leave the average golfer with around 120 metres to the green.
The green is slightly elevated which makes a front pin very difficult to get close too. A greenside bunker looms on the left side for any miscued approach shots.
Professional Tip-If the tees are forward longer hitters may consider bombing driver down the right hand to try and run it up near the green. The safety option would be to lay up with a long iron and leave a wedge into the green
The last par 3 on the course offers a fairly generous green but there is trouble should a ball be pushed left or right. To the right of the green there is large bunker that protects a back right pin position. A paper bark also looms to the right of green for any mishit tee-shots. To the left of the hole there are mounds and a greenside bunker guarding any pulled tee-shots.
The green offers numerous pin placements with back right being the most challenging. A smart play would be to find the middle of the green giving a good birdie opportunity to all pin placements.
The 17th is a 90 degree dogleg to the right. The fairway runs out at about 200 metres with a few paperbark plantations ready to entrap your ball should you go long. There is also a paperbark plantation on the right side of the dogleg for any shots pushed to the right. Longer hitters may decide to cut a bit off the corner but there is a waste area if you don’t carry the tee-shot long enough.
The green slopes dramatically from the back to front. There are two greenside bunkers front left and front right. Avoid going over the green as the chip shot will be very fast running back down the slope.
Professional tip-For the longer hitters the green can be reached off the tee. It is around 260-270 metres to carry the ball onto the green. The line for the green is further right than you think. There is a large pine tree on the line to the green which can prevent a good tee-shot finding the putting surface. A safer player would be to hit a fairway wood slightly over the corner leaving around 80 metres to the green.
The 18th plays longer than its yardage due to the elevation changes on the hole. The tee shots plays downhill with the fairway sloping slightly left to right. Trees run both sides of the fairway with a paperbark plantation coming into play for longer hitters on the left side of the fairway. The second shot plays dramatically up hill and an extra club will be needed to reach the pin.
It is a two tear green with the back tear being larger than the front. There are greenside bunkers both left and right of the green. A cardinal sin would be to put the ball on the back tear with a front as keeping the ball on the green would be a challenge. Keeping the ball underneath the hole is preferable.
Professional Tip-Longer hitters may wish to play a draw over the right trees as it will take the left paperbark’s out of play. For the average golfer a tee-shot down the left centre will roll back into the middle of the fairway.