Hole No. 11 at Broken Top Club - Most Interesting Holes Series
By Gretchen Yoder, Manager of Handicapping & Course Rating
Sixth in our OGA series about the 2017 Most Interesting Holes Series is the #11 hole at Broken Top Club.
With tees at 364-354-311 and 264, this fairly short Par 4 packs a considerable punch for its length. Off the tee, there is a fairly wide landing zone, however there are trees that narrow the path of the tee shot. Longer hitters may want to layup on their tee shots to avoid going through the far end of the fairway and out of bounds.
Any ball that flies too far left is flirting with being blocked out by trees or could end up out of bounds on the road. A ball hit too far right could find its way into the pumice pit that lines the entire side fairway and then rises up over fifteen feet to guard the green. That rise makes it very difficult to see more than a sliver of the green surface. Bunkers in front and behind the green are there to grab shots that just miss it.
Tony Orlandini, one of OGA’s Course Rating Volunteers, nominated this hole for the contest with the following:
“It is only 311 from the silver (white tees), 364 from the back, but you have to place your tee shot and then have a second to an extremely elevated green with a sheer cliff in front, trees behind and out of bounds left. Plus you cannot see the surface of the green. The first time you play it you virtually do not have any idea what to do.”
The USGA Course Rating System takes all of this information into its calculations. Not being able to see the surface of the green adds a difficulty adjustment of ‘Visibility’. This factor is added to Green Target, which also impacts the Recoverability if a ball misses the green and the difficulty of green side Bunkers. If a layup is indicated, that makes the hole play longer than its measured length. The pumice cliff face makes for some very difficult recovery shots.
When OGA’s team of dedicated and highly trained volunteers visits a golf course, we rate considering set shot lengths for the Male Scratch and Bogey golfer and the Female Scratch and Bogey golfer, from each set of rated tees. We often get asked why we rate for the Scratch from forward tees since they may never play there. USGA Course Rating (65.0 for Men and 70.1 for Women on the Gold tee) is based on the scoring ability of the Scratch player. Without assessing how a Scratch player would hit, we would have no idea of what level to compare the Bogey, or higher handicapped golfer, since the Course Handicap is relative to the Course Rating and not Par.
On this hole, both the Scratch Male and Female golfers would lay up off the forward Gold tee. Both are assumed to hit the ball far enough that they would hit through the fairway into the trees and potentially out of bounds. Technically, the Gold tee at 264 yards, with the added shot lengths due to elevation of Central Oregon, could be considered a par 3 yardage for Men. Between the dogleg and raised green, it would be almost impossible for a Scratch Male to hit that green.
This hole is listed as the #2 handicap hole for Men. Did you know that Stroke Hole Allocation is not a function of USGA Course Rating? Did you know that the ranking of holes does not indicate the “hardest hole”? The ranking of holes is an indicator of where the higher handicapped golfer needs the stroke the most. There is only one way to properly assess the handicapping of holes and that is by collecting 400-500 scorecards by players of varied abilities. Entering the scores hole-by-hole and then comparing the differentials on the scoring averages to find which hole the higher handicapped golfer needs the stroke the most (#1 hole) vs the hole where the higher and lower handicapped golfers average close to the same score, typically a short par 3 or 4.
** The 11th hole at Broken Top Club earned 132 fan votes to earn sixth-place recognition in the OGA 2017 Edition of the 18 Most Interesting Holes Series contest. Throughout the year Gretchen Yoder, OGA Manager of Course Rating & Handicapping, will explain what makes each hole unique and describe the ideas behind rating these gems.