Play to your strengths on a double fairway.
“It’s great to have options, if you choose well and commit.”
I like option golf. As a designer, I think it’s good to give golfers choices. And as a player, I enjoy weighing those choices. That’s why I like holes that offer double fairways, where you have to pick one route over another. These designs are becoming popular today. I’ve created these holes on many of my courses, including two at Valhalla, site of the 2014 PGA Championship. Double fairways are nothing new: The Old Course at St Andrews has them on almost every hole.
A good hole works for everyone. If you’re a short but straight hitter, you’ll probably want to stay left here – even if it takes four shots to get on.
USE BUNKERS AS TARGETS
Not all bunkers are penal. Some are directional, placed by the designer as a target or a terminus defining the edge of a hole. Use that to your advantage. This bunker might be unreachable for you from the tee, but you can aim at it and work the ball off it. This principle might apply on the second and third shots as well.
GET THE FIRST ONE DONE
On this par 5, the double fairway doesn’t begin until your second shot, so stay focused on what you need to do off the tee. If you put the ball in the fairway, you’ll have the option to continue up the left side or play to the right.
WHERE’S THE HOLE TODAY?
Because of the bunker in front, if the flag is on the left side of the green, you’ll have a better angle from the left fairway. If it’s on the right, the right fairway offers a much easier approach shot.
MAKE SURE YOU CAN GET THERE
A big hitter who’s less accurate can carry the lake into the wider fairway on the right. Your strategy should take into account your handicap and your strengths and weaknesses.