Hole No. 9 at Broken Top Club - Most Interesting Holes Series
By Gretchen Yoder, Manager of Handicapping & Course Rating
Thirteenth in our OGA series about the Most Interesting Holes is the No. 9 hole at Broken Top Club.
The ninth hole at Broken Top is a short dogleg par 4 with tees at 356/332/298/268 yards, but don’t let the lack of length fool you. For those of you who follow golf course designers, this hole is the epitome of a Tom Weiskopf “risk/reward” hole.
When he left the tour to go into course design, Tom decided he would implement at least one reachable par 4 on each golf course he designed. The concept of the drivable par 4 is appealing because scores can vary from 1 through 6 or more on these holes, depending on the conditions. ~ Weiskopf Designs
From the teeing areas, a complex of sharply curved bunkers and troublesome desert outcroppings on the left are partially hidden by a small grove of trees, there’s another bunker in the middle of the fairway landing zone, making for a considerably limited landing area. The fairway turns left just beyond this area.
The golfer might think about laying up to the narrow landing zone short of the treacherous area which partially obscures the view to the green. Or they could hit a full shot potentially rolling through the fairway and out of bounds. Long hitters might be tempted to go for the green in one shot, keeping into account there is limited visibility of the green which is tucked behind another bunker, and they would need to negotiate the trees and avoid the extreme rough.
No matter which method you take to get there, you still have to deal with the undulating green, which is still fairly tricky with a narrow opening, and blocked by the greenside bunker.
Overall, this hole is a challenge to play as well as a challenge to rate. The Team of trained OGA Course Raters considers all of the options (layup, full shot, cutting the dogleg) in situations such as this. Conversations might change from tee to tee taking into consideration the Scratch and Bogey golfer as well as how different Women and Men might play the hole.
From a course rating perspective, we have one interesting thing that occurs in Central and Eastern Oregon, high desert. USGA adds an extra Obstacle in situations where desert exists, but just like the Rules of Golf, definitions are very important. The definition of Desert from the Course Rating System is “extreme rough that contains vegetation (brush, cacti, bushes, trees, etc.) with thorns, stickers, spines, spurs, needles , spikes and the like, that are dangerous and injurious to walk through, let alone play from.” Since we are lacking the cacti and more dangerous plants, OGA can only rate these areas as Extreme Rough (ER). Very difficult areas of ER carry the same penalty as Out of Bounds, stroke and distance. While less troublesome areas where a ball may be found and played would be factored down to consider the percentage of potential playability.
** The ninth hole at Broken Top earned 78 fan votes to earn 13th-place recognition in the OGA 18 Most Interesting Holes Series contest. If Broken Top sounds familiar with the MIH Series, the eleventh hole was featured as #6 with 132 votes! 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.