Braemar Golf Course - Hole #8
A Single Landform's Risky Reward
The last par five on the front nine has a low-country feel as it weaves through a series of massive Bur Oaks bordering both sides of the hole along with wetlands and water. The tee shot must negotiate a grass hollow guarding the right side of the first landing area. Those who carry the hollow will be rewarded with a direct second shot to a bunkerless green. Although the angle into the green from the right side is the preferred route, a ridge that begins about fifteen yards out in the fairway bisects the landing area on that side before terminating inside the putting surface. Any approach leaking to the right may hit the right side of the ridge and tumble further away from the center of the fairway.
A fairway bunker slightly offset from the center of the second landing area blocks the more direct route to the green but if challenged, the green opens up to an approach of any length from the left side. Playing along the left keeps the wetlands at bay along that same side.
"The final par-five on the front nine is also the flattest. It, too, weaves among towering Oaks, giving the hole a South Carolina low-country feel. Routing-wise, this hole was one of the first I routed and plays in the opposite direction of the second hole of the original Braemar layout. That hole forced golfers to play over a wetland with their third shot. But it was a real effort for most golfers who weren't long enough to play the hole and often struggled with the carry on their fourth or fifth shot. So I simply reversed the hole, making the carry a manageable one right off the tee.
My favorite feature of the hole is a long ridge we built that starts about sixty-five yards in front of the green along the right side and meanders into the putting surface from that side, similar to a smaller version from the opposite side on the previous hole. The ridge is five feet high and requires precision with a long approach for those who want to use the feature to kick their ball onto the green. If an approach strays to the right side of the ridge, the shot will ricochet into a hollow right of the green. From there, a recovery shot will play to a green running downhill to a pond behind.
A lone pot bunker sits on the left side of the hole in the second landing area and has a direct affect on the ridge to the opposite side all the way back to the tee. There, the golfer can choose to play the shorter route to the left but will directly encounter the bunker on the next shot. Tee shots favoring the right side will have to carry a low-profile ridge on that side off the tee but can avoid the bunker from there and hone in on using the kicker ridge near the green to funnel their ball onto the putting surface from that side."