Braemar Golf Course - Hole #9
Cutting The Corner
Cut the corner with your tee shot over the fairway bunker on the left and have a shorter approach shot to an elevated green. This simple strategy requires negotiating a pair of bunkers protecting the left for the benefit of the more direct route. Out of bounds lurks along that left side, though, so golfers can play safe along the rolling fairway to the right of the bunker to avoid any undue penalty.
From the right side, the golfer will avoid greenside sand along that side but will need to take a longer route as payback for avoiding the sand. The subtle elevation change from either side of the landing area will require more club to a green bisected into back and front tiers. The back tier is further bisected by putting surface flashing off mounds back right and back middle.
Within the overall routing of the new Braemar, the ninth hole plays in the opposite direction of the old first hole. The advantage for the ninth hole results in less conflict with the adjacent driving range in the sense that any sliced tee shots will go back into the golf course and not into the range, limiting OB for the majority of golfers (righties).
"Originally, this hole did not have a fairway sand bunker but as the shaping of the hole progressed, it was clear to me that a bunker cut into the face of the rising fairway was a great opportunity to showcase the topography of the hole. Whenever one has the opportunity to cut a bunker into a natural hillside, one must consider its strategic value and then go for it if that strategy contributes to the play of the hole. In this case, a fairway bunker cut into the hillside along the left side made all the sense in the world as it offered a classic, strategic "cut the corner" opportunity.
"Those who cut the corner will not only have a shorter route to the green but will also have an approach away from the pair of sand bunkers protecting the left side of the green, all positive advantages for those willing to take the risk. Avoiding the bunker to the right off the tee will result in a longer approach. Visually, the scene from the tee is essentially a diagonal line of hazards cut into the rising topography leading one's eye from tee to fairway to putting surface.