In the first part of this mini-series, I examined the birdie holes. These are holes at NFCC where a seasoned competitor expects to be positioned to go under par. If you miss out, you feel like you missed out. The second installment looked at bogey holes. Even though you are a strong player, you know that a bogey comes a time or two during a round, so you move on without incident if one comes along on one of the bogey holes.

This third installment, on the pro-am (known as Ham-Am) day at Porter Cup, examines the par holes. There are seven at the course and they should determine the level of success of the day’s round. A birdie is an added bonus while a bogey definitely feels like a shot forever lost.


Hole #1: 4 yards, par 4

Straight par four, wide avenue of fairway, no hazard in front of the green. Should be a straightforward start.

Hole #4: 196 yards, par 3

This is a six iron at most for the youngsters; some will hit seven iron. The green is a bit small for the distance, but the lads get to tee the ball up and give a perfect lie for the shot. The bunkers are not penal by any stretch, so sand is not a bad miss.

Hole #7: 183 yards, par 3

The key here is proper distance. The green is very wide and very shallow. Get the ball over the front reef and you have a run at birdie. Given its hourglass shape, problems arise when you are on the green, but in the wrong region. Better to be short than long, as a downhill recovery from sand is a difficult proposition.

Hole #10: 392 yards, par 4

I was tempted to include this as a birdie hole, but it’s a bit too distant. The guys will probably hit three-metal off the tee to keep the ball in play, then wedge into the green. A really long smash with the driver brings a short, spinning wedge into play and certainly a run at 3. Trees left and oob right might cause some trouble. No reason to miss the green, as it has ample width.

Hole #14: 406 yards, par 4

A truly great par four. Tee shot to a blind fairway, approach (if you’re back far enough) to a blind green. Lots of lay-up clubs off the tee deck here, as long right or hooked left are too risky. No benefit to bombing it down the hill, unless you like a downhill lie for your approach. Short iron into the green, two putts and away to the closing foursome of holes.

Hole #16: 215 yards, par 3

See the caveat on perfect lie on number 4. The sand is always trouble, as is a long putt from above the hole. Other than that, it’s a straightforward middle iron to long iron for the contestants.

Hole #18: 189 yards, par 3

See the caveat on perfect lie on number 4. About the same length as three of the other par threes, no more than a six iron to a deep-enough green. Problems arise, say, when it’s your last hole of the tournament and you’re in contention. That’s when the green shrinks. Recovery from the sand is challenging, as the green is pitched. Smallish segmentation of flat spots for hole locations can cause putting ills, especially when scrambling.