Dream 18 - Holes 7 to 12
Over the years, so many different types of courses have been built with imaginative hole designs and various levels of difficulty. Looking at the UDisc statistics from 2022 is dizzying when you stop to consider how big our sport is growing. Because of that, it’s hard to sit down and really come up with your favorite courses and your favorite holes. There are just too many to pick from!
As you may have seen here before, I decided to challenge myself to pick out my favorite 18 holes that I have played in my list of visited courses. The rules were simple. I was only allowed to pick 1 hole per course, and it had to be based on my sheer enjoyment of playing the hole. This blog post serves as a great chance to get caught up with my list. If you haven’t checked out the first part of this series covering holes 1 through 6, go check that out here:
Hole 7 – Grip-Er and Rip-Er @ Hickory Heights – Par 3 – 271 Feet
Sometimes, some of the most memorable holes that we will ever play have an impact on the course that signifies difference. This hole is a perfect example of that. Anyone playing on this course has just been through a gauntlet of holes that require some big distance and cover a lot of ground. A testament to that distance requirement is that you’re most likely riding in a golf cart. When you approach this hole, it’s rather unassuming. You get a chance to power down to a sub-300-foot hole.
Set in a small grove of trees, the visuals on this hole are beautifully displayed by a small basket being dwarfed by numerous tall trees. Look at the picture below and tell me it isn’t one of the prettiest-looking greens you’ve ever seen. The best part is that you’re so taken by the picturesque scene in front of you that it’s easy to lose sight of your shot. Those trees aren’t just for show. They guard the basket from all dreams of birdies.
My typical play is to throw my Proton Tesla out wide and high, letting it pierce the grove and put me in putting position. Earlier this year, in the White Rose Open, I watched a beautiful flex forehand thrown into a headwind chain out for a near ace. It was incredible and heartbreaking all at the same time.
Hole 8 – Codorus State Park: Red – Par 3 – 325 Feet
When I think about my game and the skills that I bring to the course with me, one particular shot type eludes me. I don’t have any kind of power or semi-power forehand shot. I have a serviceable flex forehand for getting out of the rough, but that’s about it. This hole completely befuddled me when I first played it because it required a combination of power and superior angle control. I was determined to figure it out with my backhand.
After working on the backhand turnover for the better part of a year, I was able to return in a tournament and throw the perfect shot, earning myself the birdie. This hole challenged me to grow and adapt. Now, I love that shot shape. It’s gotten me through a lot of holes where a forehand would be preferable.
My play is a slow turnover with either my I-Blend Sphinx or my DGA Rift, depending on what feels good that day. I’ve only birdied it once, but I’ve gotten close again. This hole is simple in its technicality and beautiful in its execution.
Hole 9 – Sunset Hills – Par 4 – 535 Feet
This hole is championship-level. From start to finish, the entire fairway and green demand choices to be made and shots to be executed correctly. From the tee, you are moving slightly downhill towards a pond guarding an island-style green with an elevated basket on the water’s edge. It’s cruel and lovely at the same time.
You have a few choices on your tee shot. You can try to play your hardest shot first, which is out of a gap on the right of the fairway. The ceiling is low and the gap is small, but putting your drive through there will give you a much more friendly upshot into the dangerous green. Fail to hit the gap and you’re going to be lucky to save your par. Additionally, you can choose to play the easier shot and throw down the fairway guarded with trees. Provided you don’t land OB long or left and make it far enough, you’ll be able to throw to the green with a low-ceiling shot.
Basically, choose your hard shot first or your hard shot second. Either way, a birdie is pretty magical as the pond tends to collect discs and the elevated basket scares off any putts outside of 10 feet. When I think about what I want the perfect finish to the front 9 holes to be, this hole is a must have every single time. For my play, I’m going down the gut and attempting the shorter more technical play to the green.
Hole 10 – Overlook Park – Par 4 – 444 Feet
Not every hole needs to be fit for a championship course. Some holes just need to be fun to play. There are some good ones out there, but honestly, this was a tough selection. I like this hole because you get to go big off the tee shot without many repercussions for being too far left or right. Almost the entire way down the fairway, a tree line guards the basket with a small entry point.
You can attempt to throw through that gap, go over the tree/hedge line, or lay up to the mouth of the gap and take your par. Either way, you are left with some decisions to make and this incredibly straightforward hole can catch you sleeping and deliver some unnecessary strokes to your card.
Hole 11 – Wildlife Prairie Park – Par 3 – 378 Feet
Who doesn’t love a water carry for your tee shot? I might be crazy, but I find them enjoyable especially when you don’t have a choice whether you want to lay up or not. Being forced to throw brings out your true competitor and checks on your clutch gene. While this one isn’t super far and there is a small bailout zone, it’s still a fun hole to see people try and throw.
To the inexperienced player, this looks like a simple hyzer that has you landing at some point along the bailout strip to the left. You throw your tee shot, jump putt to the basket, and then cash your par. To the experienced players, you’ll notice that the landing zone has a lot of space sloped back to the water. Crashing there could mean an OB rollaway. The way the green is pushed up into the bowl, guarded by trees, gives you a false sense of angle and causes a lot of players to push their drive out too wide, never to come back in time or be sucked up by the terrible rough above the water.
Not to mention the fact that there is a large drop-off on the other side of the basket. Yeah. Don’t take this hole for granted. It offers a large degree of difficulty. They don’t call this hole “Salamander Splash” for no reason!
Hole 12 – Kline’s Run – Orange Layout – Par 4 – 530 Feet
This hole is simply stunning. Let me share some of the features. You tee from an elevated tee pad down into a deceivingly tight fairway. The fairway is covered with grass through the woods. There are clear and definitive lines that you can take. A creek runs along the entire left side, threatening to swallow your disc if you put it close. The basket is tucked back in a small opening, guarded by some sporadic trees.
Getting a par on this hole feels great. A birdie feels heroic. The hole has some serious teeth to it. The first hurdle you need to tackle is a tee shot that subtly forces players to angle their drives directly toward the creek. You need to throw a stable forehand shot or a turned-over backhand to keep it free and clear of the creek, and the angle and height of the tee pad make it hard to judge your distance.
After your first shot, you’ll either be marking your lie off the OB line and looking at a bogey at best or you’ll be lining up a shot that needs to be dangerously inside and directly at the basket or wide to the right, requiring more power. However, none of this matters if you don’t get past the first layer of trees that guards the front section of the fairway.
I know that I make it sound more difficult than fun, but the fact that this hole requires so much from you both physically and mentally makes it wonderful to play. The reward is one of the best on the course if you can execute your shots.
These holes make for a great middle stretch on the Dream 18. Tune in next time to see the closing 6 holes, and let me tell you, they are sweet! Let me know what you think of the list and the holes by leaving a comment below!
Gary Daddario (www.thumberlife.com)