No. 5 at Crooked River Ranch - Most Interesting Holes Series
By Gretchen Yoder, Manager of Handicapping & Course Rating
One of the purposes of the Most Interesting Holes contest we ran in January, is to take the elected golf holes and describe how what makes the hole interesting can impact Course Rating. The hole with the most votes is the 5th hole at Crooked River Ranch in Crooked River Ranch, Ore., and it does not disappoint as to how we needed to adjust and assess the hole’s course rating information.
(The image shows view of the green from the Blue tee. Please notice the bunker and several trees that obscure and surround the green. Oh, and the 400 foot drop to the river below. This shot is not for the faint at heart!)
The hole measures 260 yards from the Blue tee, 245 and 231 from the White and Red. By USGA yardage guidelines, a hole up to 250 yards the hole would be a Par 3 for Men. However, with the severe dogleg, OGA can make the call that it is indeed a par 4. Click HERE for more information about Par.
From both the White and Red tees, there are trees and shrubs near enough to the teeing ground to prevent a golfer from taking the shorter route and going over the canyon. From the Blue tees there is an enticing opening for longer hitters. It is about 220 yards to the center of the green. Since par is based on the how many shots it takes the Scratch golfer to hit the green, technically, we could still call this a Par 3 from the Blue tee.
From a Course Rating standpoint, the scratch male golfer taking the shot over the canyon is making a choice. While many people will attempt that shot, we have to factor in the likelihood of how many people will actually hit and hold the green. Even if they successfully carry the canyon, between the bunker just short of the green and the trees around it, hitting and holding the green is quite an accomplishment. From conversations with staff at Crooked River Ranch as well as several golfers, many people who attempt to cut the corner, end up still chipping onto the green. Some will still aim to the right to land just in front of the green in the fairway or roll into the easy rough to the right hand side. Even when intending to miss the green, by cutting the corner, the scratch golfer shortens the Effective Playing Length of the hole.
Effective Playing Length (EPL) of a course is the measured length corrected for roll, changes in elevation, forced lay ups and doglegs, wind and altitude above sea level.
While the measured length of the hole is 260 yards, we changed the EPL of the hole to shorten the length of the hole giving the scratch male golfer a short pitch/chip into the green instead of a 120 +/- yard shot from the corner.
(The image with the red and blue lines shows an aerial shot of #5 at CCR: The red line indicates the line of play if the Scratch golfer chooses to cut the corner and go for the green. The blue line indicates where the higher handicapped golfer would lay up to the corner and then hit in towards the green. This view does not do much justice to the very narrow fairway width!)
For the bogey man and both scratch and bogey women, this hole is a bit of a trial. With the dogleg, those golfers are forced to play off the tee with a shorter club. This changes the Effective Playing Length of the hole. For those forced to lay up, the EPL is lengthened. The hole effectively plays longer for women and higher handicapped men.
It is not often that we have a hole that both effectively plays longer and shorter depending on the golfer. I don’t have an actual count of OGA rated courses that have this situation, and I’m sure there are only a handful. But there is only one Hole #5 at Crooked River Ranch!
*The fifth hole at Crooked River Ranch earned 384 fan votes to earn the top honor in the OGA 2017 Edition of the "18 Most Interesting Holes" contest. Throughout the year Gretchen Yoder, OGA Manger of Course Rating & Handicapping, will explain what makes each hole unique and describe the ideas behind rating these gems.
Next Up: Hole No. 12 Mt. View Golf Course - Boring, Ore.