For years, I have played this 36-hole combination of courses in Southern California. The Industry Hills Golf Club at Pacific Palms is a public course with a private feel, and it is rather easy to secure a tee time. I have played both courses — the Dwight D. Eisenhower (Ike) Course and the Babe Didrikson Zaharias Course — and find them both very challenging. The Babe, named after the famed female athlete, is a little shorter but very narrow and difficult. The Ike, named after the former president and general, is longer and equally as challenging. One recent Sunday morning, I played a round at the Ike with some industry colleagues.
The course history does not tell players that the entire layout is built on one of the oldest landfills in Southern California. Ken, one of our foursome, gleaned this information from a reputable source in the waste management field. I was frankly shocked that I was unaware of this tidbit, considering the dollars I have dropped at this course over the past 25 years entertaining clients. Thismight explain some of the trash shots I have hit off the tees!
Seriously, you’d never suspect this history of the Industry voted National Golf Course of the Year by the National Golf Course Owners Association. The course has undergone a five-year renovation, keeping it at the top of its game. William F. Bell was the architect for the Dwight D. Eisenhower Course, which was opened to the public in 1979. Featuring 7,211 yards from the black tees with a rating of 75.1 and a par of 72, the Ike has been the proud host of many U.S. Open qualifying tournaments as well as LPGA tour events.
(534 yards, par 5)
This dogleg was in the process of renovation when we played the Ike but is still worth a report. From the tee box, many a weekend golfer will try to cut the corner, as Ken and Frank did, and end up in the brush and trees (not to mention the out-of-bounds stakes). The smart move is a clean shot straight ahead but avoiding the pond that sits at the dogleg’s turn. Eric and I did exactly that, which set us up for a second shot within chipping distance of the green for par.
(465 yards, par 4)
The No. 1 handicapped hole might not be the most difficult (see Frank Loverme’s analysis on rankings which follows), but it is very challenging indeed. You need to slightly draw your ball to proper position for the approach to the green. A series of traps around the landing area will catch wayward tee shots. The best way to stay out of trouble is to aim for the “fat” of the green.
(461 yards, par 4)
This hole is difficult not only for the length but also for the narrowness of the fairway and the tree line on either side. Your tee shot must be to the center of the fairway, avoiding the bunkers left and right. My ball sliced over the trap and — I believe — was picked up by another foursome. This kept me out of contention for the hole, much to the grins of my teammates. The green is uphill and requires a little more club; at the same time you must avoid the three guarding bunkers.
(652 yards, par 5)
This is a great finishing hole; and as we were playing a round of “wolf,” it was up to Frank to bet all or nothing to come out even. From the tee box, a lot of golfers are attracted to the right side and the fairway bunker, which sits about 250 yards away. On this rather straight hole, the pond on the left seems to be the magnet for the second shot. There was a great deal of struggle among the group. I was fortunate with my drive and second shot, but my approach hooked over the left side of the green and left me with a downhill chip, which I bladed past the cup. The clear winner was Ken with a par — Frank walked away with a score I would rather not disclose. This was settled at the 19th hole.
Industry Hills Golf Club at Pacific Palms, One Industry Hills Parkway, Industry Hills, ca 91744 tel 626 810 4653 www.ihgolfclub.com
The No. 1 Handicapped Hole May Not be the Hardest
By Frank Loverme
Thinking it’s the toughest on the course, most weekend golfers tense up on the tee box of the no. 1 handicapped hole. actually, for a duffer, every once in a while the no. 1 handicapped hole might be the best chance he’ll have all day to get a par and win a hole against a superior partner.
The USGa’s purpose of rating holes is to determine the holes where strokes can be given by players with lower handicaps to equalize the difference in skills with lesser golfers. Periodically, the USGa sends out a team to each course to determine each hole’s handicap rating. like so much else in the USGa’s mysterious handicap system, the results of these analyses are closely guarded secrets.
The common fallacy is that the USGa’s handicap ratings are directly correlated to difficulty. in reality, the ratings are calculated on each hole’s variation in scores between two test group samples of “scratch golfers” and “bogey golfers” for men and for women.
The USGa defines a scratch golfer as a player who plays to the standard of a qualifier in the U.S. Men’s or Women’s amateur championships. he averages 250 yards off the tee and reaches a 470-yard hole in two shots. She averages 210 off the tee and reaches a 400-yard hole in two shots.
A male bogey golfer has a USGa handicap index of 17.5 to 22.4. he averages tee shots of 200 yards and can reach a 370-yard hole in two shots. A female bogey golfer has an index of 21.5 to 26.4, averages 150-yard tee shots and can reach a 280-yard hole in two shots.
The no. 1 handicapped hole usually is a long par 4 which the bogey golfer can’t reach in two strokes. The scratch golfer, however, who is 250 yards off the tee, needs only a mid-iron to reach the green. For example, on a particular hole bogey golfers are lucky to average 5.1 strokes and the scratch group with a mix of pars and birdies averages 3.5. if that 1.6 swing in strokes creates the greatest variation of any hole on the front nine, it becomes the course’s top-rated hole.
The USGa always awards no. 1 to the hole with the greatest variation in strokes between the two groups on the front nine and alternates with the back nine, which explains why the front nine always has the odd-numbered handicap holes.
Another likely no. 1 handicapped hole is a par 4 that has a pond diabolically placed so that a bogey golfer has to lay up, then risk a penalty to get over the water, and is left with 300 yards to a green which he can’t possibly reach in one stroke. The scratch golfer confidently clears the water and, facing no other significant hazards, easily makes par with a good chance to birdie. Meanwhile, two of 10 bogey golfers put their first or second shot in the water and need two more shots to reach the green. Taken together, the difference in strokes between the two groups soars.
At industry hills, the eisenhower’s 451-yard hole 12 rates as the no. 2 handicapped hole. The bogey golfer’s 200-yard drive’s landing area is at its narrowest, and his second shot is up a dogleg hill with the pin invariably tucked in the right-hand corner. While no pushover for a single-digit golfer, this hole is murder on the high handicapper.
Ike’s second hole is rated as the no. 11 handicapped hole. Being a short, 366-yard par 4, to the uninformed its high rating suggests it’s an easy hole. But it may well be ike’s hardest hole on a fairly tough course (ike’s slope is 135 and has a course rating of 73.2 for the blue tees). With a large pond guarding the length of the green’s approach and a trap on the back that is only several yards from out of bounds, it offers lots of trouble for scratch and bogey golfers alike. although the extremely elevated tees make it tempting, it’s not very likely to land a ball on the green without it rolling off into the out of bounds. So both groups have forced lay-ups — which takes away the big hitters’ advantage and shrinks the variation in scores.
What also can happen on this hole is that the scratch golfer, in an effort to lay up, hits a perfectly struck 3-wood into the water. even with a lay-up, the treacherous slope on the front of the green can spin back the scratch golfer’s crisply struck ball off the green and into the aqua. This is probably the hole in which a scratch golfer is most likely to take a penalty. While hole 2 may post the course’s worst scores, the hole simply plays comparatively easier for the high handicapper.
While the no. 1 handicapped hole usually is tough, it actually can be the bogey golfer’s greatest chance to par the hole. consider a par 4 that’s a piece of cake for scratch golfers. While bogey golfers average a decent (for them) 5.2 strokes, the scratch group’s rich mix of birdies creates a 3.5 stroke average, causing the greatest difference in scores between the two groups of any hole.
Now you should understand the calculus behind the misconceptions that cause certain high-handicapped holes to be not as difficult as you’d have thought (and others harder than the rating would suggest). So when you expound on this inside information in the comfort of the 19th hole lounge, you’ll at least sound like you know more about golf than Mr. Single digit.
This article is one in a series about course psychology and how to win an extra proposition bet or two. Next issue: Why the card’s slope value has little to do with slopes.
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