At some point this weekend, the polls will close and Elkdale’s #11 will not have secured the best 11th hole in Western New York title. The hole’s inability to secure the title will not dampen my love for it one bit.
Elkdale’s #11 is a golf hole rich with character. It creates so many different ways to play the hole. From the tee, players can try to go long and left and carry a patch of trees. A well-struck tee shot down this road could potentially catch the slope and leave a player with less than 75 yards in to the green. However, there is a strong chance of being caught in “jail” if one doesn’t carry the trees. It is a high-risk, high-reward shot.
A tee shot down the center will not catch the downslope that cuts left in the fairway. If well-played, the shot can leave players with a 150-yard elevated shot into the green. Depending on how long a player is off the tee, they may or may not be able to see the green.
Players who lose the ball right can play an entirely different hole. Coming from the right rough ensures a blind second shot. You have to just swing and hope.
It’s the same golf hole – but marginal changes in the way a player hits his tee shot can leave players with entirely different routes to the green.
The green is no walk in the park. A large, expansive tree guards it to the right. Golf balls that hit limbs can be sent flying the wrong direction and/or occasionally drop right next to the hole. The green slopes hard toward the front left and a skinny bunker ensures golf balls can’t just roll their way up to the hole. It’s a fast green with a great deal of break depending on pin placement.
It’s a lovely hole. It’s full of risk, reward and guts. Elkdale’s back nine is relentless in what it demands from golfers (the 12th hole excluded). Hole #11 wonderfully contributes to the challenge.