• Richard Mandell

Braemar Golf Course - Hole #12


Off-Center May Be Best


The twelfth hole is the one hole on the course that truly demands length off the tee with carries over two ponds from the back tees yet only one carry over water from the next three tees. As long as this hole may play straightaway, the only way to see the green from the fairway is to play further away from the more direct route. If one chooses the straight route, a ridge that separates the hole from the eighteenth hole to its right will block almost any view of the putting surface. The saving grace for those who do choose to take the riskier, less-visible route is the opportunity to kick an approach off another ridge that rolls directly into the green, avoiding a lone bunker protecting the left side.


One routing challenge with this site is working golf holes around existing ponds, the existing clubhouse location, and the large hill in the middle of the property. The area where existing ten, twelve and eighteen are located minimized my options to just three parallel golf holes. Safety is a bit of a consideration, particularly with twelve and eighteen playing parallel to each other in the same south to north direction from the landing areas into the greens. Both holes are dogleg-rights, which adds the predominant slice possibility as an additional safety challenge. Yet routing each hole, I was able to transform these safety challenges into two distinct strategic challenges.

Eighteen is a heroic par-four that requires one cutting the corner more so than the routing of twelve. Twelve, on the other hand, exhibits a very non-intuitive approach to golf course design. The accepted rationale over the past seventy-five years or so (post-Golden Age), leaves most every golfer who plays the game accepting that the center of the hole is always the route to take off the tee. But that is not how the game of golf began.

Rather, the forefathers of the game centuries ago simply tried to find the best route from point A to point B, and that wasn't always the case found along the middle. That is also not the case for number twelve at Braemar. In fact, the farther left one play off the tees, the better the view and angle into the green becomes.


Visibility from Left Side of Fairway

So, cutting the corner or even playing to the middle of the hole, will leave the golfer with an absolute blind approach running against the slope of the fairway. The smart play is the longer route to the far left following a shallow valley with a full view of the putting surface. The strategic challenge of both holes results in golfers aiming to opposite sides on parallel holes (twelve to the left and eighteen to the right).


Visibility from Right Side of Fairway


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