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Looks Can Be Deceiving

February 26, 2008

A hole-by-hole look at the Newport Beach Country Club, par 71, 6,598 yards.

Hole 1, Par 4 – 339 yards

This dogleg-left opening hole is the easiest par-four on the course. The key is to take the right club off the tee, aim inside the fairway bunker on the right and leave about 100 yards to the hole. You don’t want to be too close to the green.

Hole 2, Par 4 – 390 yards

The fairway slopes right to left, so you want to keep the drive to the right-center of the fairway. The bunker on the left side of the fairway is trouble. The uphill second shot is relatively easy unless the pin is tucked behind the greenside bunker.

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Hole 3, Par 5 – 549 yards

The third hole, while the longest on the course, plays significantly shorter, as it is downhill and usually rides the wind. Look for most players to reach in two. The double palm on the left-hand side is the go point. Guys who make it past there can hit the green in two, but getting home isn’t easy because of the lake on the left and bunkers on the right. Three is also a difficult putting green because it slopes pretty dramatically.

Hole 4, Par 3 – 143 yards

The fourth hole was significantly redesigned (along with the third and fifth) prior to the 1998 Toshiba Classic. This hole is pretty straightforward, so most pros don’t have much trouble getting it close. Depending upon the weather, they’ll probably hit 8- or 9-irons. The green is difficult because it has big undulations.

Hole 5, Par 4 – 430 yards

The fifth marks the beginning of a brutal stretch of five straight holes that are among the seven most difficult on the course. The drive on this hole is challenging because the fairway is uphill so there’s no landmark to aim for — you can barely see the crest of the fairway. On the approach, players hit mid-irons to the green now, so it’s not as difficult as it used to be. With the mounds behind the green, there’s also more definition and background.

Hole 6, Par 4 – 418 yards

The important thing is to drive it far enough and straight enough so that you have 150 yards to the hole. From the fairway, the green looks like it runs off in all directions and doesn’t accept an approach shot. The sixth is also one of the more subtle-breaking greens.

Hole 7, Par 4 – 368 yards

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