The opening hole at any course should not necessarily be easy, but it should be extremely playable to get the round off to a good start. This hole provides that opportunity. Players want to keep their ball down the right side of the fairway. There is trouble approaching the green from the left including a large oak. The higher-handicapped player has the ability to run the ball up. So, it plays well for both the scratch player and the high-handicap player. Nicklaus lengthened the hole almost 40 yards and dramatically redesigned the green, narrowing it and making it much longer with a bunker front-right. This makes placement of drives in the right side of the fairway even more essential for the best angle to the green as well as putting a premium on correct club selection depending on pin placement on the green.
Both the high-handicapper and the scratch player have to hit over water to a landing area guarded by what is now three fairway bunkers on the left. It used to be a much tougher driving hole before the right side of the landing area was cleared out. The hole is reachable in two by the big hitters with oaks guarding the right fairway leading to a shallow green. Sand guards the left. This is a good opportunity to pick up a stroke. It is also one of the most esthetically pleasing of the holes on the outward nine.
No. 3 is a little more difficult than the previous holes. There are bunkers on both sides of the fairway with the bunker on the right not really coming into play. The bunker on the left, however is about 220 yards from the blue tees. If often protects balls from finding the lagoon. The right side is best here. Many players will forgo use of their driver here to gain position for a dangerous second shot to a tiered green. Nicklaus made two greenside bunkers out of what used to be a large bunker on the right side of the green.
This hole was completely redesigned from tee to green. A large “transition area” was added all the way down the right side of this hole. It features native ornamental grass making it a very esthetically pleasing hole. The green was slightly elevated and tilted toward the player giving a better view of pin placements.
Although his hole was lengthened about 30 yards, it is still a scoring hole for both the scratch and average player. A simple, straightaway hole with water coming into play for the average player that really doesn’t for the longer hitter unless playing from the Gold tees. The better player can reach it in two. There is not much trouble around the green except a bunker on the left. On the right is a “shelf” that collects balls missed to that side (although Nicklaus softened the “shelf” during his 2000 renovations).
The better player will not necessarily hit a driver here, opting instead for position on this relatively short hole. If they do hit a driver, they need to be on the right side of the fairway, especially if the pin is in the middle or left side of the green. The White tees are substantially in front of the Blue and Gold tees giving the average player an advantage off the tee. However, the second shot is difficult over water to a bulkheaded green with one small bunker in the back. Accuracy is a premium.
No. 7 is a difficult golf hole for the better player as it normally plays into the wind. In addition, players have to very accurate due to the bowl shape of the green (with a swale in its middle) and bunkers in front and on the left. The average player can run the ball up between the bunkers. Nicklaus moved this green to the right, taking it out of the shadow of the trees that have grown around it in the last 20 years. This move also takes a house out of the green’s background and gives it a more natural look.
Nicklaus lengthened this long par-4 by about 30 yards, making it extremely difficult to reach. The first thing a player sees is an imposing fairway bunker on the right. This bunker guards a lagoon and serves as the crux of its dogleg right. But, the further left a player goes, the longer the second shot. Expect a mid-iron from near the bunker and a long iron or wood from the left side of the fairway into a small green guarded by a bunker on the right and rear. If the wind is blowing, even long hitters may need everything in their bags to reach it.
This is a hole where a phantom wind can really affect a shot. Hitting the second shot into the green, the player won’t feel the breeze, but near the green a gap in the houses and trees funnels the wind that will push most balls to the right. Local knowledge has the better players aiming to the left side of the green (even over the bunker) and allowing this phantom wind to carry their ball to the pin. From the tee, players will see a directional fairway bunker that turns the hole to the left. A well-placed tee shot on the left side of the fairway will greatly reduce the length of the second shot. Too far left and players will need to shape their shot around a large oak.
Nicklaus substantially changed this hole last summer making it move left to right rather than right to left. The fairway bunker now guards the right side of the landing area and the tree line on the left was moved further back. Bunkers in front of the green were removed from the fairway making this a possible two-shot par five for the bigger hitters. The green complex is difficult where balls slightly missing the green will roll into the surrounding collection areas leaving a difficult up and down. A very demanding third shot regardless of how the hole is played.
A great golf hole, both esthetically and in playability. Water lines the right while trees guard approaches to the green. The hole has a big premium on a tee shot down the middle or to the left side of the fairway. The farther left, however, the longer the second shot to the bulkheaded very shallow green. An intimidating shot for the average player. The green has a lot more break than it appears. Collection areas have replaced the bunkers behind and to the right of the green.
This oft-photographed hole features a generous landing area a player must take advantage of due to the hole’s length. Even with a good drive, players are looking at a mid- to long-iron into a fairly large, elevated green set back into the woods. If the pin is back, add at least one club. A big oak on the front corner of the green comes into play, especially if you play a draw. This hole was the least altered by Nicklaus during his course refurbishment. Only the greenside bunker became smaller.
A tight driving hole with an intimidating second shot. The bunkers on the left make the landing area for the second shot seem smaller than it actually is. The bunkers generally don’t come into play as they are set well back. Longer hitters can reach this green in two. For the average player, if they do not hit a good drive, they have a fairly long second shot to the bi-level second fairway. Nicklaus moved the green right abutting the lagoon and reshaped it allowing for more pin-placement options. This creates more of an accuracy challenge for those going for the green in two.
The first of the ocean holes, it is a very difficult green to hit. Shots are generally played down-wind to a very small, tough putting green. If players are on the left side of the hole, it is very fast (toward the ocean). Miss the green on that side and it’s difficult to keep the ball on the green. From the right, players have a hard time getting it to the hole.
Many consider No. 15 the “signature” hole of the course. The wind is often blowing in the player’s face or from their left. The biggest change Nicklaus made was effectively widening the landing area by removing the concrete cart path on the right and creating mounding that will guide slightly pushed or faded shots back to the fairway. Many players will not hit a driver here even opting for position on the right side of the fairway. Like No. 14, the postage-stamp size green breaks heavily toward the ocean. It is a very challenging hole.
Better players will hit everything from an 8-iron to 3-iron, depending on tee location and wind strength. If the pin is on the left side of the green, players may have the intimidating task of aiming their ball out over the dunes to have the wind carry the ball back to the hole. The back right pin placement makes it almost impossible to get the ball close. The hole now only has one front right greenside bunker that Nicklaus “softened, feeling the hole was already difficult enough!
This relatively easy hole rewards players for surviving the ocean holes. There is a big distance advantage teeing off from the White tees. Players want to hit their tee shot to the left side of the fairway because trees can block second shots if too far right. Bunkers front-right, left and rear guard the small green. Nicklaus moved the green a bit to the right and raised it over 4 feet so it now demands a precise short iron second shot.
No. 18 is a great and difficult finishing hole. There is a big distance advantage playing from the White tees, but it’s the second shot that makes this hole difficult. If a player doesn’t hit a big drive, they’re hitting a long- to mid-iron over water to a small green. Many players tend to underclub. Nicklaus moved the green a bit to the right and placed one lone bunker guarding the front right of the green. There’s a bailout area right for the timid player. It’s a great finishing hole.