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  • Writer's pictureRichard Mandell

Braemar Golf Course - Hole #10

Updated: Jul 29, 2021

Sans Bunkers

The straightaway par-four tenth also plays to an elevated green which seems accessible enough thanks to the absence of any surrounding sand. The tee shot seems equally innocuous other than a small wetland waiting to catch a slightly right shot. Although the green does not have any bunkers, a large mound on the front right of the approach extends into the putting surface, blocking easy access for a low running approach.

The longer I design golf courses, the less value I see in a plethora of sand bunkers and not just because of playability issues. It seems that the default hazard in our business has become the sand bunker so I always try to develop at least a few holes that have no sand from tee to green, in a spurning kind of way to show that great holes can exist without sand.

"Number ten at Braemar is one such hole, which is hard to pull off with an almost-straight, flat, short par-four. Nonetheless, the standout feature of ten is a singular hillock that bisects the putting surface profile from the fairway. Granted, in this day and age of target golf, the hazard can be avoided by air for most golfers. Visually, though, it is another story. Coupled with a subtle ridgeline running diagonally from left to right across the landing area, the hillock demands precise placement of one's tee shot if a full view of the green on the approach is the goal.

View from left side of fairway

View from right side of fairway

"The farther one plays to the right, the more the green is screened from view by the hillock, almost forcing a blind approach. So much so that the desired tee shot is to the narrow left portion of the fairway, bringing rough and water into play for those who leak too far in that direction. The hillock and grass hollows in front, to the right, and behind the green are the primary hazards on this hole, along with a ridge bisecting the green from the left-side wood line. The result is the challenge of tee placement and utilizing the ground contours with an approach rather than just the avoidance of sand.

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