HOW DO YOU GET YOUR HEAD AROUND THESE?

Written by Story Impact Media, LLC

August 29, 2018

I’ve come to play one hole. Which is kind of like saying you’ve gone to Smoky Mountain National Park to see one hill. Fact is, it requires a guide to figure out the 18th green at The Creek Club when playing it for the first time — maybe the second and third times, too. Unless you’re in Japan, it’s rare to see a hole with two separate greens. Having three greens is downright unheard of, no matter where you are on the planet.

“No matter how many times you play this course, when you get to this spot you have to think,” says Reynolds Director of Golf Wes Forester, standing 100 yards off the green — um, greens.

When Jim Engh designed the unholy trinity of greens, he called it a “Trust me” part of the project. And that describes how the most successful Members play the hole: Trust the greens to help you.

“Golf is all about winning the mind game and this hole challenges the mind as much as any,” says Wes, who was Head Professional at The Creek Club from the time it openedin 2007 until 2017. All three greens are elevated, two of them so high that they require extra-long flag sticks just to be visible from the landing area. “I’ve played at least 150 rounds here and have rarely seen a ball land.”

Twelve balls are scattered near our feet, ready for us to play the greens from left to right. Wes says in every case to hit long and trust the design. After he seemingly shows the way to all three greens, I hit two shots between the pine trees protecting green number-one, high and deep. They feel good.

“You got every bit of the sand up front,” says Wes. Local knowledge serves the player well on this course — and trust.

Green number-two is narrow, 40-yards long horizontally. “Aim for the cart path behind the green,” Wes says. I follow his advice instead of my instinct and hit two shots toward The Creek Club dining room. It doesn’t feel right at all.

“Nice. Those should be rolling back toward the hole,” says Wes.

I rotate my feet another 15 degrees and line up green number-three. “Some players try to cut those trees and go for it in two,” he says, pointing to the peninsula of forest along the fairway, “so we’re already safe.”

After I hit, Wes walks up to the greens like the kid who wants to be first in the lunch line. No wonder. All six of his shots decorate the various greens. I arrive on the scene to find my six balls sprayed around as if shot from a rotary sprinkler. Wes smiles. “It’s all about trust,” he reminds me.

Obviously, I have a lot to learn.