Tag Archives: Sherwood Country Club

No. 18 at Sherwood CC: Well Done, Mr. Nicklaus

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What you see above is the view that greets you after you walk through the clubhouse at Sherwood Country Club. This is the green view of No. 18.

Seeing Torrey Pines for the first time and seeing Sherwood rank as my most memorable California golf course first impressions. At Sherwood, you can’t help but just stand there, take in the scene and then begin to contemplate what it’ll be like walking down that 18th fairway. And then when you do it, it completely delivers on the experience.

No. 18 could well decide the tournament on Sunday as Tiger takes a two-shot lead into the final day of the final World Challenge at Sherwood, where Woods will seek a sixth title.

I’ve thoroughly enjoyed watching this event on TV the past three days and found especially entertaining the travails the field had at the par-3 No. 15 on Saturday (11 balls in the hazard, making it the course’s toughest hole).

No. 18 doesn’t seem to trouble the pros too much, despite a tight tee shot. Tiger in particular has been content to fly a 3-wood to 160-170 yards or so and play from there.

But the second shot is what makes this hole so memorable. What golfer wouldn’t want to be looking at this for a second shot? Isn’t this the challenge we all live for?

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It’s about as pretty as it gets, but daunting as well. The day I played, my drive found the right rough of the fairway. I had a clear shot at the green, but I was very leery of the water. The last thing I wanted was to execute the drive and then rinse my approach. So I clubbed up and hit a fabulous 4-iron that carried to the back of the green. It was a club more than I needed, but I was dry.

That approach shot replays in my head every time I see the 18 green on TV. Yes, it was one of those shots.

From the replays, I expect the pin position to be in front today, as it was the day we played. That left me a super slick downhill that I mishit and then I lipped out my par putt. Oh, well. Being on in regulation was one satisfying feeling and rates among my better golf accomplishments for the year.

But enough about me. Let’s give credit here to the designer, Jack Nicklaus, and his fabulous creation. Check out sherwoodcountryclub.com’s hole description to gain a little more appreciation for No. 18.

Nicklaus calls the 444-yard par-4 eighteenth hole the finest finishing hole he has ever created. The tee shot is blind and must be played down the left side allowing the left-to-right slope to take the ball to the middle of the fairway. A mid-to-long iron approach awaits.

The second shot must be played to a multi-level green that presents an extremely visually intimidating shot. The green is protected in front with a rock-filled pond that flows into a waterfall on the right and is connected to another waterfall and stream on the left leaving very little room for error short of the green. There is also a bunker on the left that will catch balls that are missed slightly left. The back right portion of the green is protected by the waterfall, a deep pot-bunker, and a deep grass-bunker. Most shots left short of this green find the water, but balls over the green face a chip or pitch from the deep rough to a green sloping away from the player, taking the shot right back toward the bunker and water.

This is truly a classic finishing hole that ranks as one of the finest in the world.

I’ve hardly played everywhere in the golf world, but I don’t know of a finishing hole I’ve played that rates above it.

So take a minute to appreciate No. 18 today and lament that we might not see it on TV again.  It’s a masterpiece to play and a wonder to watch and a hole that can’t help but make you love this great game just a little more.     Image

The view as you walk off No. 18

Sherwood CC Bonus Hole: No. 17

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Seeing as Tiger won’t be back next year, might as well clean out my Sherwood files, right?

Yesterday’s post got a fairly good response, so thought I’d post another hole. I realized this morning I’ve also got a great shot of the 17th hole at Sherwood, another par-3.

Again, I’ll let sherwoodcountryclub.com do the introductions for No. 17:

The tee shot on the 166-yard, par-3 eighth hole is from an elevated tee to the smallest green on the course. A large, very deep collection bunker gathers most of the shots short of the green, and a small hazard with a waterfall protecting the back of the green. Missing the green to the right will often result in a bounce off the bank onto the green. Needless to say, club selection is very important on this innocent-looking hole.

From the tee, this looks like a sure par. What I didn’t account for was flying the green and having to hack out of a tough downhill lie to a green sloping away from me. That turned par into bogey.

Doubt the pros will make that mistake, but will curious to see how many birdies this hole yields. Hardly the toughest hole at Sherwood, but certainly a fun one.

photo-131The view behind the green

Highlight Hole: No. 15 at Sherwood CC

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Tiger Woods’ World Challenge plays its final rounds at Sherwood Country Club this week, making this possibly the public’s last view for quite some time of a remarkable private golf venue.

Besides seeing how the pros play No. 18, a tight downhill par-4 to a heavily sloped green fronted by a pond, I’m curious to see how the sixth hole represents on TV.

No. 15 is an incredible par-3 and the course’s signature hole, designed by Jack Nicklaus. Before adding my two cents, here’s the description you get of No. 15  from Sherwood’s web site.

The 189-yard par-3 is the signature hole of Sherwood Country Club. You are greeted by a spectacular view over seven pools and 14 waterfalls with beautiful mountains set as the backdrop. The tee shot is all carry over the water to a green that is only 21 paces deep, so make sure you have the right club, or par will become unattainable.

It’s a stunning amphitheater for a golf hole, one you just want to bask in during your round.

The mountain backdrop is absolutely huge and is part of what makes this hole so awe-inspiring. And the water features are some of the most intricate I’ve been around.

Taken together, it should make for great TV, or a destination hole for you if you’re making the trek to Sherwood.

The day I played it, thanks to being probably clubbed by my caddie, I had no trouble hitting the green. The putt, however, was another matter. It was as touchy as any on the course. The green tilts back-to-front and has subtle undulations I underestimated the first time. Curious to see how the pros do.

You can find descriptions for the rest of the holes under the country club tab at www.sherwoodcountryclub.com. Looks like the weather should be better than last year for the weekend and will hopefully make for a memorable sendoff. If you tune in, look for No. 15 and enjoy a last televised glimpse at a truly great golf hole.

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Highlight Hole: No. 18 at Sherwood CC

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I was fortunate enough to be included in a media tournament on Monday at Sherwood Country Club in Thousand Oaks, where the field for Tiger Woods’ 2013 Northwestern Mutual World Challenge was announced. The tournament, which benefits the Tiger Woods Foundation, will host 18 of the world’s top players, including Woods, Rory McIlroy and defending champion Graeme McDowell, on Dec. 2-8.  You can find the full field and ticket information here: www.worldchallengegolf.com.

This is the 15th year Sherwood has hosted the event, but Monday was my first time ever experiencing it beyond TV. It’s quite a place to say the least and would be well worth the trip just to bask in the beauty of the surroundings and appreciate Jack Nicklaus’ masterpiece course design, much less to experience elite golf.

I’ll be writing two or three Sherwood-related posts this week, but wanted to start with this because this is what you see first when you emerge from the clubhouse. What a glorious and impressive site it is, and in one snapshot, it captures all the elements that make this course a mesmerizing golf experience: spectacular mountain views, majestic mature trees, strategic use of visually stunning water features. You get incredible and awe-inspiring combinations of the three over and over here. Oh, and views of a bunch of multi-million dollar homes, too. Probably worth mentioning that.

Anyway, No. 18 is a downhill par-4 (we played it at 412 yards, but it’s 446 for the pros) off an elevated tee that plays to a severely sloped green accentuated by a waterfall on the left and fronted by a pond. On your second shot, if you’ve avoided the trees on the right, or the opposite fairway – No. 9 – you’ve likely got a long iron or more into a green that is sloped heavily front to back. The hole has Sherwood’s stately clubhouse as a backdrop. I went driver, 4-iron here and ended up peering down on a front pin with a long, slick downhill put, but I was only too happy to not be in the water. I three-putted, but that the didn’t spoil the fun of executing the approach shots.

No. 18 is a stunning finishing hole, whether you’re looking at it from the fairway or the clubhouse, and a marvelous way to end a truly unique round of golf. I can’t wait to go back in December and watch the pros play it.

Thanks to the folks at the Tiger Woods Foundation and Sherwood for being first-rate hosts, and thanks to my boss at Southland Golf for thinking to include me. My appreciation goes out to all of you.