Grouchy Golf Blog

Saturday, January 13, 2007 at 11:42 AM

"This is a great finishing hole..."

I've heard that comment more times than not on the walk to the 18th tee.

Although there's no official definition, I've determined that the phrase "great finishing hole" means a final hole that is much more challenging than average. Usually it's a long par-4 that requires a long approach or a par-5 where there is a critical decision to be made on whether to go for the green in two because of some hazard.

Now that's great for golf spectators. A great finishing hole adds drama much like a surprise bikini model bachelorette does in "The Bachelor". You just have to watch and see whether the player has the cojones to go for it.

However, when I'm playing a round of golf, a "great finishing hole" is the last thing I want to see, especially when I'm scoring well. I can't tell you how many times my round has been ruined by a "great finishing hole". My home course features such a hole, a 450-yard thorn-in-my-side that features a narrow fairway bounded by trees on the left and a pond on the right. I can vividly recall over a dozen times when I needed a par or better on that beast to break 80. Of those times, I only parred once!

As a result, that hole has taken residence in the part of my consciousness housing such terrors as the Boogie Man, Freddy Krueger and Michael Jackson. Whenever I play my home course, the thought of #18 haunts my game from the get-go. When I hear the inevitable, "This is a great finishing hole..." from a playing partner, it just sends chills up my spine. To me, it is a "great finishing hole" because it's great at finishing me off!

I'm convinced that golfers are masochists. Saying, "This is a great finishing hole..." after spending 5 hours playing 17 holes is akin to saying, "I can't wait for the Cat o' nine tails" after being flogged with a cane for a good hour. If it's alright with you, I'd like to continue with the cane please. Thank you very much.

Anonymous JimmyJ said...

Hey Grouchy - Since it's your home track and they know you - why not just play the backside first once in awhile? It may give you a new attitude about that hole. Besides, any "last" hole is tough when the prize is special. How about a 5 footer for a 69?  


Anonymous Dale said...

You make a good point about what makes a "great finishing hole." I can certainly commiserate with you about how challenging some of those finishing holes can be.

From a different perspective, sometimes a "great finishing hole" has some striking visual characteristic(s) that make it dramatic. Take #18 at Pebble Beach, as a well-known example - not all that difficult as a Par 5 (to make par that is), but it is one of the most gorgeous holes in golf.  


Blogger MCPO Airdale said...

We have one of those on my home course as well. I hate it! It hates me.

Hit a good drive and you're behind a red maple on the corner of the dogleg. Hit a great drive and you've got 158, off a downhill lie, to a pin tucked behind the most diabolical bunker on the course.  


Anonymous Anonymous said...

My home finishing hole is a par3 of 211yards , and the great thing I like about it , is that it plays out right in front of the clubhouse for all to see .

Isnt that what club golf should be about ? .

Believe me , I can always tell a golfer trying to get a good score home during a Sat. medal , and he knows everyone looking down from the clubhouse knows as well .

Thats whats missing from modern golf courses finishing holes nowadays IMHO.  


Anonymous Anonymous said...

That 450 par 4 doesn't sound like a great "finishing" hole to me, it just sounds tough and one would think you should have another hole to recoup a bogey .. I agree with the club house gallery ... I have gotten an occasion cheer on a sand save or great putt ... so I'll take 310 to the water guarding the sprawling, multi tiered greens with a pond, fountains and ducks  


Blogger tom said...

THAT'S why I only play nine at a time....this is supposed to be fun, right?  


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Question for you JimmyJ...just what is that statement "a special prize of a 69" referring to?  


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