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Richard Hetzel

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Re: Holston Hills
« Reply #75 on: June 15, 2015, 03:19:33 PM »
I can't remember hole numbers, is that the one where there's a huge embankment on the left side of the fairway? If you try to play too far left you can go down there like 6-8 feet below the fairway?

Or is that another hole?

I believe that hole runs along the river, 4, 5, or 6 maybe?
Last Ten Played: 
Old Toccoa Farm (GA), Thoroughbred GC (KY), Urbana CC (OH), Dayton CC (OH), Maysville CC (KY), Ross Course French Lick (IN), Covered Bridge (IN), Trout Club (OH), Elkhorn Ridge (SD), Bully Pulpit (ND)
Top 5 this year:
Yale
Culver
Hawktree
Old Toccoa Farm
Chas Muni

Chris Oldham

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Re: Holston Hills
« Reply #76 on: June 15, 2015, 11:50:31 PM »
Number 2 has the drop-off along the left side of the fairway - been down there dozens of times.

The tree really only comes into play from the members tees, requiring a nice draw to get to the middle of the fairway.  From the back tees the longer hitters simply go over the tree, leaving anywhere from 100 to 50 yards in.  I volunteered at the US Open Qualifying at Holston a couple of weeks ago and never saw the tree come into play once. 

Brent Hutto

Re: Holston Hills
« Reply #77 on: June 16, 2015, 07:15:58 AM »
Number 2 has the drop-off along the left side of the fairway - been down there dozens of times.

The tree really only comes into play from the members tees, requiring a nice draw to get to the middle of the fairway.  From the back tees the longer hitters simply go over the tree, leaving anywhere from 100 to 50 yards in.  I volunteered at the US Open Qualifying at Holston a couple of weeks ago and never saw the tree come into play once.

My memory had misplaced the hole as being later in the round (it's been too many years since my last visit to HH) but as a lefty with a slice, the tree was indeed not a serious concern for my game.

And I'm not surprised that stronger players find it no more an impediment than hitting a bit of extra-tall rough grass. Those guys nowadays routinely hit over much taller trees, much closer to the tee. Quite remarkable what the normal driver trajectory is for elite players today.

Joe Sponcia

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Re: Holston Hills
« Reply #78 on: July 30, 2015, 08:13:32 PM »






Rough was up, greens were fast, and my good friend Jason Thurman had his first crack at Holston today.  We had fun.  Interested to hear his impressions - in writing. 
Joe

https://pillarsofgolf.wordpress.com

"If the hole is well designed, a fairway can't be too wide". - Mike Nuzzo

Jason Thurman

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Re: Holston Hills
« Reply #79 on: August 03, 2015, 09:56:10 AM »
As Joe mentions, I was able to join him at Holston on Thursday morning. After a few days off the grid, here are a few thoughts:


1. No course I've visited can match the views on offer from the Holston Hills clubhouse. Looking out across the Tennessee River valley, you see almost the entire course stretching over the valley floor with long, unencumbered views interrupted only by the occasional specimen tree and those gorgeous and striking bunkers scattered all over the property. Holston Hills might be the best example I've played of what a good tree management program can do, as the course has two big and seemingly contrasting benefits that result from its openness: an intimacy that comes from being able to see other games working their way around, and a brawny quality that stems from the feeling of having plenty of room to play.


2. Even though I'm a hack, I'm a big fan of courses that are fun to play in competition. Holston Hills immediately jumps out to me as a place that would be a blast to play in almost any competitive format. For one thing, there aren't many lost ball opportunities but the course still offers lots of challenging features with its plentiful bunkering and terrifying green contours. From a competitive perspective, I also enjoyed the way that each side starts by kicking you in the stomach for a few holes, before giving an opportunity to get some strokes back later. I actually can't think of another course that so clearly assaults a player for 4-5 holes at the beginning of each side before letting up and giving a rally opportunity on the last 4-5 holes before returning to the clubhouse.


3. The tree on 2 is stupid, but as someone who can conjure a slinging hook around a corner like that at will, I appreciated the clear aiming corridor it gave me.


4. It's silly to try and choose a favorite hole on a course this strong from start to finish, and I can only think of one or two that would make me shake my head if someone named them as the best. It's not a surprise to look through this thread and see people naming the two sterling short par fours at 6 and 16 as their favorites - I think a lot of us are predisposed to like holes that are interesting but don't beat the crap out of us. It's hard for me to overlook some of the course's wonderful ballbusters though. 3, 12, 13, and 14 stood out to me as tougher holes that weren't just long, but also offered tons of interest through varied bunkering schemes, compelling terrain, and tough green contours.


Playing golf with Joe is always a treat. He's as generous and gracious as they come, and his swing is a model of simple, ultra-efficient beauty and consistency. We could've played anywhere and had a good time, but it's a nice bonus to hit a course as cool as Holston Hills. Holston cracks my top three Ross courses played and I'd recommend it highly to anyone who loves golf.
"There will always be haters. Thatís just the way it is. Hating dudes marry hating women and have hating ass kids." - Evan Turner

Some of y'all have never been called out in bold green font and it really shows.

Brent Hutto

Re: Holston Hills
« Reply #80 on: August 03, 2015, 10:04:18 AM »
Well said, Jason. I've only played there a couple of times but look forward to visiting again in the future. In particular your comment about its great combination of openness with intimacy is spot on.


P.S. As is the part about "terrifying".  ;)

Josh Tarble

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Re: Holston Hills
« Reply #81 on: August 03, 2015, 10:48:32 AM »
Jason,
Thanks for the quick summation.  Our club just sent out the annual RSVP for the interclub with Holston.  It's down there this year and I'm extremely excited to finally make the trip.

Nigel Islam

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Re: Holston Hills
« Reply #82 on: August 03, 2015, 08:05:42 PM »
Jason,
Thanks for the quick summation.  Our club just sent out the annual RSVP for the interclub with Holston.  It's down there this year and I'm extremely excited to finally make the trip.

I'm sure the guys at Holston are not nearly as excited with the task of playing against you!

Joe Sponcia

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Re: Holston Hills
« Reply #83 on: August 04, 2015, 07:32:16 AM »
Jason,


I am not a fan of #2 tree at all.  As I stated when we played...it would really dare people into a worse shot if it were gone, but I respect the opinion of several members who have told me it has always been there. 


It is the only dictatorial hole on the course.


Your blunt opinion makes me wonder...do we just get used to an otherwise aberration, and a few plays later find ourselves defending it?


Holston was in near perfect shape.  Rough was up and thick.  Three things struck me as I tried my best to play with fresh eyes:  1.  The options you have from the tee box,  2.  The variety of clubs and shots that need to be played, 3. As I walk a course...I find myself placing a tee box here or a green pad there.  Holston is one of those routings (at least for me) where I DON'T do this --- even after repeated plays.
Joe

https://pillarsofgolf.wordpress.com

"If the hole is well designed, a fairway can't be too wide". - Mike Nuzzo

Jason Thurman

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Re: Holston Hills
« Reply #84 on: August 04, 2015, 09:32:57 AM »
1.  The options you have from the tee box


And Joe, to add to this, I found the meaningful width at Holston to be about as significant as that of any course I've played this year. Here's what I mean:


The current thread asking whether it's preferable for dogleg hole greens to open from the inside or outside has illustrated an idea, held by many, that "Position A" on a hole should be very clear. In other words, many people prefer a hole where the ideal position off the tee is one that offers a short approach with an advantageous angle into the green and with few obstacles directly in the way to negotiate. Think of a dogleg hole with a green that opens from the inside - a player who hugs the corner tightly is left with a short approach from a good angle, while the player who bails to the wide side off the tee is left with a long approach from a crappy angle.


I find myself, instead, more interested in holes that don't tell you as blatantly how they should be played. It strikes me that Holston Hills has many of these. It was something I noticed on 12 and 13, two fairly long par 4s on the back side. I pushed drives to the right on both holes and was left with between 170 and 190 yards from the Bermuda rough. In both cases, I was left with an angle of approach that required carrying fronting bunkers some 30 yards short of the front edge that would have been less prominent on an approach from the left side. And yet, in both cases, the green was also tilted to favor the approach from the right side, and the greenside bunker on 12 was less in play than it would have been if I were approaching from the left. Coming out of the thick Bermuda rough, I was acutely aware of the need to carry those fronting bunkers even though I hit no more than 8 iron to either hole. But I also knew that if the ball came out low and hot as I was expecting, and managed to carry the hazards, I'd be rewarded with a green sloped to put the brakes on my ball. Watching the ball just clear the fronting bunker on 12 before running up the slope to the middle of the green was one of the most exciting moments in the round, at least until I saw the ensuing downhill putt up close for the first time.


It occurs to me that there is no universal "right place to be" off the tee on either hole. A weaker player with a low ballflight would likely favor the left side on both holes, as he'd have less reason to worry about the fronting bunkers from there and could try to get up and down from in front if his ball funneled off the green due to its slope being difficult to hold from that angle. For a player who hits the ball a little higher, the right side seemed advantageous to me as most strong players won't have much issue clearing the fronting bunkers and the approach angle looks downright inviting from that side on each hole. Holes 2 and 15 are similar, as both offer shorter approaches for a player who hugs the left side but better angles to a player who goes more to the right. That variety does a few things for Holston Hills. For one, it makes its options more meaningful and subtle, as there are more potential ways to play each hole with none of them clearly spelled out even to the seasoned player. But it also makes the course fun for a wider range of handicaps, as all different types of players will be able to eventually find a path of reward on most holes.
"There will always be haters. Thatís just the way it is. Hating dudes marry hating women and have hating ass kids." - Evan Turner

Some of y'all have never been called out in bold green font and it really shows.

Brent Hutto

Re: Holston Hills
« Reply #85 on: August 04, 2015, 09:38:09 AM »
Quote
It occurs to me that there is no universal "right place to be" off the tee on either hole. A weaker player with a low ballflight would likely favor the left side on both holes, as he'd have less reason to worry about the fronting bunkers from there and could try to get up and down from in front if his ball funneled off the green due to its slope being difficult to hold from that angle. For a player who hits the ball a little higher, the right side seemed advantageous to me as most strong players won't have much issue clearing the fronting bunkers and the approach angle looks downright inviting from that side on each hole.

Interesting observation,
There are several holes of this type at my home course (Camden CC), not too surprising given that our club's course is on similar terrain and most of its design is due Donald Ross in a similar time frame to Holston Hills. At my former club (Columbia CC, Ellis Maples 1961) one might expect similar features but I found it tended to have a more clearly implied "Position A" on each hole, at least for the range of golfers I've played there with (basically 2 to 30 handicap amateurs),
« Last Edit: August 04, 2015, 10:08:33 AM by Brent Hutto »

Mark Pritchett

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Re: Holston Hills
« Reply #86 on: August 04, 2015, 10:07:17 AM »

Your blunt opinion makes me wonder...do we just get used to an otherwise aberration, and a few plays later find ourselves defending it?



Probably some truth in that statement.  The tree on #2 does not bother me, but then again I don't play HH on a regular basis.  I also like the tree on #3 at Sweetens Cove.  Nothing wrong with a little variety here and there.

Brent Hutto

Re: Holston Hills
« Reply #87 on: August 04, 2015, 10:12:29 AM »
The only time in my golfing life I've been able to consistently hit a (lefty) draw was during a year and a half when I was doing at practice drill at the places I was then playing golf. There was a far corner of the driving range where I could line up with a pine tree just barely obscuring my view of a driving-range flag. Any left-handed straight shot or slice would either hit the tree or end up 20+ yards to the left of that flag. So I'd sit there and hit 20, 30, 40 shots with a 5-iron once a week, making it start out well to the left and draw back on target.


If I were a right-handed member of Holston Hills I'd love having that tree there. Good reminder early in the round of the shot shape I'm trying to produce.

Matthew Lloyd

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Re: Holston Hills
« Reply #88 on: August 04, 2015, 02:24:35 PM »
The Holston Hills photo tour was very nostalgic for me, thanks for such a detailed account.  I played there once, in March 1994, when I was in town for the NCAA tournament regionals, which were being played nearby.  On the days in between the games we went to play this course.  I was only 16 at the time, and have only vague memories of the course -- my game and my attitude were not exactly great in those days -- but I remember it being really great. These photos really took me back to that round.
"Fairways and greens, and don't forget to wave... as I blow by."

Roger Wolfe

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Re: Holston Hills
« Reply #89 on: August 07, 2015, 02:45:16 PM »
I am going for the first time for potentially 5 rounds over 3 days in early October.  Can't wait!

Erik J. Barzeski

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Re: Holston Hills
« Reply #90 on: November 20, 2022, 09:29:53 PM »
Played Holston Hills just over a month ago on a Saturday afternoon (the football team was playing that afternoon, so aside from a bunch of orange-clad golfers finishing their rounds around 1pm when we started, the course was fairly empty).

By far my favorite course (over Sewanee) on the trip that included NCR South, Idle Hour, and Sewanee/Sweetens. I only played it once, but the course may have jumped immediately into my top 20 (15? 10???). Loved almost everything about it.

Many said it already and better than I would, but the course had a great mix ofÖ everything. Just enough quirk. Just enough "blindness." Just enough short holes and long holes. Etc.

Loved it. All of it.
Erik J. Barzeski @iacas
Author, Lowest Score Wins, and Lifetime Student of the Game

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