For those who’ve played the short par 4 6th before, you know the story. For those who haven’t and are about to, consider this required reading.
This is one of the holes on the course where a little local knowledge can go a long way.
The yardages on the card (black – 352; Maderas/blue – 333; white – 310) suggest a hole that can be had, possibly in one brilliant tee shot to the green to set up eagle.
The check for that aggressive thought is the view from the tee box.
From the Maderas/blue tees, you see a lengthy carry over an environmental area to what seems to be a tight tree-defined opening to the fairway with bunkers looming beyond on the right. More worrisome, is that there appears to be uncertainty about what lurks left. Can you miss there or not? If so, how much?
Maderas Head Professional Chris Mayson says this visual intimidation is part of the defense of the hole.
“It presents itself as a hole that’s extremely tight and is trying to make you make a different swing,” he says. “But when you get up in the fairway, you realize there’s a lot more room left and right than you think.”
That’s why if you’ve brought 3-woood or less to the tee, Mayson wants you to go back to your bag.
“I encourage my players to hit driver here,” he says. “I want them to play this hole as aggressively as possible.”
The reason is that are two possible recoveries here if the desired outcome of the fairway or green isn’t achieved. There’s not only a bailout area left – which is also where’s a drop on this hole – there’s one right, down around the 7th tee box.
And the traps that define the right fairway aren’t an impossible recovery. The steep and massive trap to the right of the green, however, can be, especially if the pin is in front. That could be your recovery if your tee shot misses the green.
But the second shot is somewhat of a second thought here for Mayson. You mostly don’t want to give it a way here by playing cautiously off the tee, he says.
“As soon as you start playing defensively here, it’s a hole that will eat you up.”
For that most aggressive of plays – driving the green – your aim line is the left side of the green, or just left of the right fairway traps if you play a draw.
I’ve often played 3-wood, a confident club me, here, but I took Mayson’s advice on Monday and hit driver. I smashed a tight draw down the right side that settled nicely about 80 yards out from a far front pin position, which is sort of its own little peninsula on this green.
The only problem for me was that 80 yards is a 3/4 wedge, which is not my forte right now. And, sure enough, I ended up left and long. My playing partner, reaching a similar spot in the fairway but from the tips, dropped in the wedge I meant to hit and walked off with an easy two-putt par.
But I’m at least sold on the tee strategy. I’ll never hit anything but driver here again.
To see a flyover of No. 6, click on http://www.maderasgolf.com/fly-over.html FYI: This gives you all 18. You need to scroll to No. 6.