The first four holes at Niagara Falls country club are all manageable affairs. You can bogey any of them, but you shouldn’t bogey a single one. Porter Cup contestants should reach the fifth tee at level par or better. That’s where the fun begins. Bogey holes at Niagara Falls are predicated on the drive. The drive on each bogey hole features an angle that creates a proper side of the fairway from which to approach the green. Love them or hate them, trees come into play on these bogey holes, often blocking the approach. The greens are all well defined by sand, although no hole on the course has a so severe a green that the putting surface alone makes it a bogey hole.
The five bogey holes consists of a single par five matched with four par fours. Each of the two-shot holes measures 450 yards or longer. The sole par five reaches 576 yards, with a crossing hazard that often forces competitors to lay up from the longest tee.
Hole #5: 463 yards, par 4
The fifth is a slight dogleg left into the drive zone, then a gentle nudge right toward the green. Trees up the right side of the fairway demand a left-turning ball from the tee. One that turns too much will find thick rough, reducing the chance of reaching the green in two. The putting surface is well-protected by sand and presents some unique undulations on what appears to be a flat surface from the fairway.
Hole #8: 450 yards, par 4
Hole number 8 benefited from the construction of a tee that sits beside the 7th green. Adding 80 yards to the hole and bringing massive trees that protect the 2nd tee into play as obstacles, the monster tee turns the eighth into a legitimate bogey opportunity. If you go too far right (as with number five) you face more trees. The green is protected by sand and also bears a resemblance to the fifth.
Hole #9: 477 yards, par 4
Hole #9 doglegs to the right, the opposite of numbers 5 and 8. There is oob up the right side, but it takes a massive push to reach. Most golfers err up the left side, where a bunker, mounds, trees, rough and the practice range wait. The green has an open front, well-protected sides and treacherous recoveries from the back.
Hole #13: 576 yards, par 5
As with #8, tee placement is the key. If the tees are positioned at the tips, the carry over the creek that bisects the fairway is over 300 yards. Most Cuppers lay up, with good reason. The second shot must negotiate a huge stand of trees up the left side and a lesser one off to the right, nearer the green. The 13th green is quite small for a par five, due to the fact that it was unreachable in two before technology advanced.
Hole #17: 463 yards, par 4
The penultimate hole descends from an elevated tee to an upward-sloping fairway, pinched on each side by sand. Oob runs up both sides, along with thick rough. The green and fairway are protected by a copse of bunkers and the putting surface itself has many corners where chips, putts and approach shots run a bit more than anticipated.
These five holes won’t shatter a round if bogey is made. It is the notion that more than bogey is possible that tightens each golfer’s throat just a wee bit. If a contestant makes five pars on these holes, chances are excellent that he has a round in the mid-60s to brag about.