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John Kirk

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You can certainly play short on #4, but that's a big ridge to negotiate.  If you're way back, say 200 yards, a low long shot will bound over that thing.

In general, for short and middle pins on #4, I'm trying to fly it there.  For a ack pin, I might try to run it to the back, playing the ground game solely on the giant green.


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Unless the pin is cut in the back of #'s 3, 4, and 5, I'm almost always trying to land it short on them and running it in off one of the many guiding slopes.  I do see more options for it on the back, but those three are more often than not ground gamers for me.


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John Kirk was kind enough to help me locate my errant drive into that hay to the right of #12.  If I could make one recommendation about that course, it would be to cut that rough down to maybe 2" so it might be possible for one of those inevitable blocks to be easily located and maybe even bounce down onto the fairway.

The approach shot into the green is terrific, great run up opportunity that must be kept left because of that fall off in the green.

Adam Clayman

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Bill, I don't see how a lower cut up the right side hay would work. For one, The tee shot begs a big hitter to consider challenging the right side with a long drive. Failure to carry the native, is the penalty for making the aggressive attempt and failing. Perhaps the right side short off the tee could be thinned out, allowing recovery? But, doing that would seriously affect the naturalness of the vegetation and it's continuity throughout that entire hillside.

"It's unbelievable how much you don't know about the game you've been playing your whole life." - Mickey Mantle

Brian Joines

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Hi Tim,

I agree that #12 is the hole where the most searching for wayward tee shots takes place, which is a mark against it.  A lot of balls end up on the hillside between 12 and 13.  If you really focus on where the ball lands, you can usually find it and play it.


That's a very good point and one I hadn't thought about before. Someone in my group has put a ball into the hillside in all four rounds that I've played. I'm guessing that 7 may be a close second?

Despite this, I still love the hole. The drive and approach are both exciting, yet challenging shots. The approach shot to the back right pin position is particularly fun!

John Mayhugh

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I thought this was one of the more intimidating tee shots on a course with quite a few intimidating tee shots.  The way the tee is set you feel like it's necessary to bite off some of the nasty stuff on the right side or play a cut, which I cannot do (at least intentionally).  While it does play shorter than the scorecard yardage, if you don't find the fairway I think it's a very tough par. 

I really like how the green is partially hidden.  The setting of that green is almost as great as the green itself.  I need to try one of John Kirk's running approaches there.

George Freeman

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John Kirk was kind enough to help me locate my errant drive into that hay to the right of #12.  If I could make one recommendation about that course, it would be to cut that rough down to maybe 2" so it might be possible for one of those inevitable blocks to be easily located and maybe even bounce down onto the fairway.

I disagree with you here Bill.  Adam listed some good arguments against what you proposed which I agree with.  I think if you cut the scrub on that hill down to 2 inches, the drive on #12 wouldn't mean anything; you could hit it almost anywhere and be fine...especially if a ball that lands on the hill eventually rolls onto the fairway.

I wouldn't be against thinning that stuff up.  If it was thinned to the point where it would be reasonably easy to find a ball (more so than it is now), but still created a half penalty by pretty much only allowing the player to advance the ball back to the fairway, I think it would be a benefit.
Mayhugh is my hero!!

"I love creating great golf courses.  I love shaping's a canvas." - Donald J. Trump

Andy Troeger

#12 was also one of my favorites--granted I did drive it in play both times so watching the ball bound down the hill is certainly enjoyable. Others have commented on the green and its surrounds which I thought were very well done.

I'm usually in favor of keeping "hay" thin enough to find the ball and play it--I don't recall anyone in our group hitting it in there so thankfully we didn't have to take a look so I really can't comment. I do think 2" would be too short--the ball would seemingly almost always roll back to the fairway and I think the charming look that the hole has now would be diluted.

Mark Arata

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You can leave the hay alone, just cut down the forest along the left hand side so I can play the hole and move on.............. ;D

I didnt remember the tee shot being that straight away when I played there, I though it called for more of a draw off the tee, but since I snapped hooked every drive for the week there, I am probably wrong.

I really enjoyed the various approach shots you could play into the green complex, the stretch from 12-14 is one of my favorite 3 hole stretches I have ever played.

New Orleans, proud to swim home...........

David Ober

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What is the prevailing speed of the greens at KC?


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  If I could make one recommendation about that course, it would be to cut that rough down to maybe 2" so it might be possible for one of those inevitable blocks to be easily located and maybe even bounce down onto the fairway.

   Since you are a member in good standing on this site, we will just pretend you never said that. :o

#12 is a solid hole. The tee shot doesn't set up well for my eye for some reason (I get the same feel on #7). The approach shot is the tricky part due to the falling away nature of some of the green.
  On to #13 please and one of the craziest greens in golf. 8)
"Perimeter-weighted fairways", The best euphemism for containment mounding I've ever heard.


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Number 12 is a beautiful hole and truly unique.  Many people I have played with comment on the dramatic tee shot and the background of the trees, particularly in the fall.  The lack of bunkers is uncommon but there is plenty of difficulty given its length and undulations around the green. 

The tees are off-set just enough to put a moment of hesitation into the golfer's mind about his alignment.  The valley down below is a joy to walk through on the way to the green.

David Neveux

The tee shot is certainly dramatic, and one that if I may borrow what Ed said, doesn't fit my eye, or my game !!  I would agree that this is a beautiful part of the property in the fall, as is the tee shot (the whole hole) on 14. 

I guess I never really noticed that the hole was completely bunkerless, I find that to be really interesting / cool.  I think thats because I'm usually on a search and destroy mission on the right hill, neverless an cool feature (or non-feature) 

Has anybody, willingly or accidently taken the alternate route up on 13 and played down the hill?  Be curious to hear of the results. 

The green here is subtle, but a challenge.  I've peronally had very little success trying to use the slope / hill on the left front to chase balls onto the green; How bout the rest of you?   

David Neveux

Here are some shots from my personal collection circa last october, pretty colors...


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The twelfth’s setting in its own valley certainly garners many accolades from golfers for its scenic beauty, particularly in autumn with the colors out.  Of course, the elevated tee also wins points, as most golfers like that, and it flows down into the valley with a gentle curve and culminates in a green saddled by hillsides – it is a very inviting look.  The fairway is narrower than all at Kingsley except for the pinch on the 10th but the valley nature of the land makes it very forgiving for a slight misdirection. 

The heavy rough on the right sees a lot of play, due to it being on the inside of the small dogleg the hole possesses and the preferred shot into the green is easier from the right side of the hole.  The right hillside is very steep and not mowable with riding mowers (it is dangerous even for a dozer :o ) so mowing it down to allow a ball to release to the fairway is not going to be an option, nor do I think it should, as a decent accurate drive will bound down the fairway and leave a mid-iron approach to the bunkerless green.  I have found it rare to not find a ball on the hillside, as it is long enough to hold balls but not too thick to make it impossible to find and play down to the fairway.

The left hillside at the green is difficult to gauge for balls to release from and stay on the green, hence the running draw at the front center is a great approach shot.  Balls played through the “valley of sin” on the right can be effectively run up and drift onto the green for a back right pin.  The green itself is long and narrow, with lots of subtle pin locations and often players will read a break going one way when it goes opposite  ;)  – not sure if that is an optical illusion or a tendency due to the valley nature of the hole and what is perceived as the logical break.  A very fun hole!


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I've been waiting to make this comment until hole #12 was discussed.  This hole lends itself very well to a running approach, and I will often try to play a draw approach shot, landing short of the green.

However, it is my opinion that the front nine does not have one hole I would consider a good "ground game" hole.  On the front nine, either the green is perched above fairway grade several feet, or the approach strongly favors a high, soft shot, or both.  In my mind, I can see shots on holes 1 or 5 bounced in, but nowhere else, and even those aren't common plays.

The back nine at Kingsley has all the "ground game" shots, on holes 10, 13, 15 and especially 12, 14, and 16.  That, plus the fact that the back nine is a more natural forested environment, are two reasons why I like the back nine better.


I like to bounce the shot into #1 off the right hillside, either on the approach or for recovery shots around the green, and often play it long and running to come back down to a pin due the steepness in the back.  I also use the running approach on holes 3, 4, and 5 (almost exclusively here).  #6 looks like a running approach is good but it is difficult to pull off, although you can bounce a soft cut approach off the right front to settle on the green, but not the preferred shot to get close there.  7, 8, and 9 have recovery shots that can all benefit from a creative ground game, but don't lend themselves as much on the approach shots.

I agree the back has more ground game approaches: 10, 11 for the left side safe play, 12, 13 depending on what you are trying to do and where you put your drive, 14, 15 although it is very difficult no matter what play you are attempting, 16 - a great one to watch from 17T  :o, and 18 off the front left shoulder if you are in a bad position or facing a stiff wind (I love a punch 5-iron into the front approach and watch it curl into the middle bowl).

When I also think about the ground game, I don't only think in terms of the approach shot, but the drive, second shot, recovery shots, etc. that can utilize the firm, fast turf that Dan Lucas has perfected at Kingsley -- it gives every play an opportunity to use the ground for good or bad results and set up the next play.  And because of this, the contour of the land at Kingsley has an impact on every shot and the best players take that into consideration with each stroke.



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What is the prevailing speed of the greens at KC?

9.5-11, typically 10-10.5.  Greens should be firm and roll true -- if they are slower you can pin steeper, tighter areas and if you speed them up for an event, then you have to use the flatter areas.

Jimmy Muratt

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C'mon Tim!  On to #13 and one of the great short par 4's in the game!  #13 could generate the most discussion of all....

Tim Bert

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#13 is a par 4
292 from the gold tee
271 from the blue tee

Walking off the green of #12, I remember thinking "How are we going to top that?"  Welcome to the short par 4.  You could hit just about any club in the bag off the tee (except for putter, unless you can hit it with a little carry) and still make birdie on this hole.  You could also drive the green and easily make bogey.

I was so focused on this hole from start to finish that in two rounds, I forgot to take a single picture of the hole until we were done playing the 2nd round.  While I was able to get some good photos of the green, I had to rely on John for the pictures of the tee shot and the approach.  There's a special feel to this hole from the moment you step to the tee.

The fairway is a subtle diagonal from the tee and has a bit of a cape hole feel to it.  The more direct line at the green you take, the more you must cut off.  In reality, most playersd with reasonable length off the tee don't need to worry about the carry, even when taking the direct line.  The view is imposing enough to make you think about it because most of the fairway in direct line with the green is hidden from view from the tee.  As long as the ball is struck solidly, you shouldn't have an issue.

There's plenty of room in this fairway.  There's a bunker guarding the front of the hole, but plenty of room to go around it and still find your way onto the green.  There's also a lot of playable area to the left of the green to bomb it up near the green.  This hole is really about the short game options, and I think it is best enjoyed with a tee shot that comes to rest inside 50 yards.  It's the half-wedge lob, bump and run, or putt 2nd shots (as well as the putts) that make this hole magic.

The green is... well, hard to describe.  The pictures will help, but the only way to do this creation justice is to go see it for yourself.  It is massive in scale - both in absolute size as well as in terms of the undulations.  Unless you stick it tight, a two putt is something to celebrate.  A three putt shouldn't be a surprise.  It's one of the few greens you walk up to and think that some pin locations could easily yield multiple 4-putts in the course of a day.  There is a couple foot drop-off to one large portion of the right side of the green.  There is a tiny shelf in the back that is pinnable and could cause fits.  There is more going on in this green than one could reasonably take in all in one day.  You could spend an entire day just playing this hole over and over.  Actually, you could easily spend a day just playing around the green - forget about walking back to the tee.

A great hole right in the middle of a great stretch of wonderful golf on the back nine.

The view from the tee

The approach from the left side of the fairway

A shot of the green from a distance - not much going on here, right?

A view from the lower portion of the green - even money on a three-putt from here!

Another view from a similar angle with a bit of a bunker in the foreground.  The magnitude of the change in elevation of the green is apparent from this angle.

A view from the back right of the green

A mostly complete lookback of the green from the rear.  It is nearly impossible to capture the entire green in one photo - this angle gives you a pretty good sense for how much is going on here.



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Fascinating hole.  I recall the bunker in front of the green dominating my thinking on the tee, and then of course being completely stymied by it on approach.    The hole is certainly one of those that requires thinking a couple of moves ahead.

The pics below were taken by Matt Schulte, one of our occasional contributors.

The web sites map shows three tee boxes at nearly the same distances, but with different angles. 
Here is a pic from the middle tee (I think)

John Kirk employing a wand on his second shot

I think it turned out ok

Green from the wide open left-hand side.

George Freeman

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The 13th is finally here...

This hole can be absolutely dumbfounding.  At 285 yds from the tips, one would think this should be a good opportunity at a shortish birdie putt...but that is rarely the case.

The fairway is huge.  Deciding to go for the green is difficult visually, b/c standing on the tee, you're looking slightly uphill at the green and it's hard to discern what exactly is going on up there.  The fronting bunker immediately grabs your attention.  I would imagine this one grabs quick a few well struck attempts at the green. 

In my limited play, I have never had a go at the green.  This is because, for me, the closer you get to this hole, the worst position you can find yourself in.  Whether it be short-sided, stymied by a vicious bunker, or simply in an aweful place considering the pin position and green contours.

I prefer taking my chances with a 3/4-to-full sand or gap wedge.  It's impossible to explain how many really bad places you can find yourself in around this green.  Your chances of an up and down from some places to certain pin positions in slim to none.

A par is something to cherish on this short little devil.

Of all the holes so far, this one seems to photograph the worst.  It's really hard to get a feel for the drive, the approach, or the green and its surrounds from photos.  As Tim said, you really need to see it to begin to understand it...

Here are some photos from the website:

This might be the most useful picture of the lot

from the Back tees, which if I recall correctly contend with the scrub on the right the most

left angle of front bunker

Mayhugh is my hero!!

"I love creating great golf courses.  I love shaping's a canvas." - Donald J. Trump


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Thanks for getting the discussion going on 13. This is a favorite of mine on the back side.
The choices here are amazing. You can go for an exacting drive to the right side, a somewhat less exacting drive to the left, the big dogs can go for it, or a relatively easy lay up to your favorite full wedge shot into the pin. There might still be other options but I haven't yet seen them.
Well, there is the hit it - in the back left bunker - for a back pin approach.
"You need to start with the hickories as I truly believe it is hard to get inside the mind of the great architects from days gone by if one doesn't have any sense of how the equipment played way back when!"  
       Our Fearless Leader

Peter Pallotta

Geez louise, I've never played a green like that in my life. I'm getting scared just looking at it... 

You know how we talk a lot about half-par holes around here. I guess there are number of ways to get that effect/outcome. But Mike seems to make you THINK it's happening from tee to green (a feat in itself) but then has you realizing (probably too late) that it's ACTUALLY happening on the putting surface....until the next time you play the hole, and then -- because you may have learned something about the green -- it goes back to ACTUALLY happening from tee to green and then happens DIFFERENTLY on the putting surface.  That is just great architecture...

Does that make sense to anyone? 

« Last Edit: February 19, 2009, 11:48:01 PM by Peter Pallotta »

Adam Clayman

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Complete and total sense, Peter.

"It's unbelievable how much you don't know about the game you've been playing your whole life." - Mickey Mantle

Tim Bert

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It may be the shortest 4.5 par in the country. Other than #9 of course.


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