By Gretchen Yoder, Manager of Handicapping & Course Rating
Seventh in our OGA series about the Most Interesting Holes is the Par 3, 8th hole at Pronghorn’s Fazio Course in Bend, Ore. With tee yardages including 187, 168, 155, 135, and 106, this hole is one of the more beautiful as well as visually intimidating golf holes.
The green is all but surrounded by a stone cliff. The player must carry a long shot, just shy of the full length to the center of the green, over a canyon that includes lots of rocky areas, a series of lava tubes, and a pretty gnarly, deep bunker. For the more nervous golfer, there is a small bailout area to the right hand side.
Depending which tee the golfer is playing, the rock wall on the left can block a flag on the same side. The rocks in front and surrounding the green are known to cause a ball to ricochet in any and all directions, making recovery shots quite adventurous, if the golfer can find their ball.
While the green itself is fairly generous in size, it is also pretty highly contoured making for some interesting putts.
From a Course Rating standpoint, the canyon in front of the green would be considered under the obstacle called “Out of Bounds/Extreme Rough.” We rate courses using the Rules of Golf. The penalty for a Lost Ball is the same as a ball hit OB. Both are stroke and distance penalties.
Since the area is not Out of Bounds, we rate the area both as carry over and lateral Extreme Rough. While a ball hit into the canyon may be found and played, albeit with some difficulty, it is not rated the same as Out of Bounds or a Lost Ball. There is a provision in the Course Rating System that allows us to take a percentage of the total value. The Course Rating team would use that same percentage adjustment with water hazards to differentiate between a large pond and a narrow pond.
Be prepared with your camera if you are ever fortunate enough to play either course at Pronghorn, but very specifically on #8 at Fazio. There are many stories about the lava tubes being used for more than just golf. It’s been said that it was Tom Fazio’s office during construction of the course. Construction vehicles may have been parked there during inclement weather. Can you imagine having a cocktail party in there?
** The eighth hole at Pronghorn Fazio Course earned 127 fan votes to earn seventh-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.