Friday, June 10, 2005

Niagara District Men's Tour: Twenty Valley G&CC


13th at Twenty Valley
The second leg of the Niagara District Men's Tour kicks off tomorrow from Twenty Valley Golf and Country Club in Vineland, Ontario. I finished in a tie for 18th place in the first event held at Ussher's Creek in Niagara Falls last month with my 79.

I wanted to put together a gameplan for that round but ran out of time. Tis not the case tonight! I feel talking about the golf couse and developing a plan will save a couple shots...we'll just have to see! Here we go!

The first hole is a very short par five measuring 466 yards from the back tee. The issue here is a water hazard that runs across the fairway only 266 from the tee. I want to hit my 3-iron rescue club here off the tee to put me in a position to reach the green in two yet keep me from rolling into the hazard. As long as I get it in the fairway from the tee, there isn't much to this hole. The second hole is a 367 yard par four that demands a tee shot out of a chute. I'll likely hit my driver here to get going, more because I don't want to hit it for the first time on the demanding third hole, a 458 yard monster of a par four. Out of bounds runs all the way down the right side but shouldn't cause me any problems as I hit the ball from right to left. However, you have to hit the drive into the lower portion of the fairway about 260 yards to have a clear shot to a green hidden by a grove of trees on both sides. The green is very narrow and will only accept a well-struck shot. This is easily one of the tougher holes on the course and a par will be welcomed.

The fourth is a short par four measuring 321 yards with O.B. down both sides. The tee shot is up a hill that slopes severely right to left towards water, increasing the difficulty. I plan on hitting driver here as well but if I'm feeling a bit nervous will go to one of the rescue clubs. The fifth is a cool 388 yard par four; one of my favourites on the course. It's a huge dogleg right that has a diabolical green surface, with huge slopes running from back to front. I remember having a four footer for birdie here last year and all I could think about was making sure I didn't leave a twenty footer for my par putt...now that's intimidation! Number six is a 335 yard downhill par four that plays into the prevailing wind. A driver off the tee to a valley area then demands a blind uphill second shot. Another great short par four.

We finally hit the first par three of the day on seven, a pretty standard 168 yard hole. There's a pond short left of the green that shouldn't come into play for any well struck shot. Eight is a challenging 430 yard par four that doglegs 90 degrees left around the pond from number eight. The hole doesn't play as long due to the dogleg and I plan on hitting my 2-iron rescue on this hole. The green complex here is the most difficult on the course and any two putt is great. Another hole where four is a great score. Number nine is a short par three downhill, measuring 185 yards. O.B. is behind the hole so proper club selection is key. The front nine has a par of 35 so it's important to post a good number going to the more difficult back side.

Number ten is a 505 yard par five that has an uphill blind tee shot. A good straight drive here leads to a pretty routine second shot into a narrow, flat green. Birdie is attainable here if the drive is good. Eleven is a 355 yard par four that demands an accurate tee shot so again, I'm going to pull out the 2-iron rescue here. Twelve is a very difficult 389 yard par four with another blind tee shot. Depending on how the hole looks, I may hit the 2-iron rescue again but may hit the driver if the wind is blowing into my face. The green complex is raised and slopes wildly; it is as difficult a surface as number eight.

Thirteen is probably the most difficult par three hole in all of Ontario. It is 214 yards long and demands that you carry the ball the whole way uphill over water to a very shallow green surface. One of those holes you're thinking about much earlier in the round. Fourteen is a long 558 yard par five. Just blast away off the tee here, as length is the only real hazard. Fifteen is a 421 yard par four from an elevated tee; driver is the play here.

Sixteen is another long par three measuring 219 yards. A bunker front left causes me problems off the tee and I find this tee shot to be tougher than than twelve. The seventeenth hole is a 417 yard par four out of a very narrow chute. Driver is demanded here and you can lay the ball right off the tee and have it take the slope back toward the fairway left. Number 18 is one of the best finishers in the entire region, a 505 yard risk/reward par five. The fairway slopes severely downhill about 260 yards from the tee and can mean a great drive ends up only 150 yards or so from the green. However, there is O.B. both left and right, placing accuracy at a premium. If I'm protecting a great round, there is a chance I'll keep the driver in the bag and just play this as a three shot hole. The reason for this is the very demanding approach shot, uphill and over water to a green complex raised about 40 yards from the lower fairway. Just a great golf hole.

I'm going to have to work on my putting and chipping tomorrow morning before my 12:52pm tee off time. The putting especially was poor last week during the Niagara Cup qualifier and I'll have to be better to score well here. I think I can play with these guys and hope to get into the mid-70's tomorrow. I'll obviously report back with how I fared.

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