Over the course of time I am going to use this resource to document my many rounds of golf in the state of North Carolina. Some of the common courses I play are Hasentree Golf Club, Heritage Golf Club, Sequoyah National Golf Club and Pinehurst #2. Well, maybe not Pinehurst but I should be there for the US Open this year. If you want a golf course review please feel free to comment below and I will do my best.
My 2014 golf career started on January 2nd. Hopefully it did not end on this day as well. In December of 2013 I decided it was time to turn up the knob in terms of golf in my life. My goal is to play, at least, 100 times this year. I tend to play nine holes so I cannot say that I will play 100 full rounds. Maybe I will get to 50 full rounds.
Hasentree Golf Club Video Tour
My nephew got the newest GoPro for Christmas so one of the first things we did was take it out to Hasentree Golf Club just north of Raleigh. The address is actually Wake Forest but most people consider Hasentree in Raleigh. Here are all 18 holes from the golf cart:
Many of the rounds I document in this resource will be played at Hasentree. The front 9 is much harder than the back 9 so I tend to play the back 9 more. That said, you will get plenty of reviews of the different conditions at Hasentree in 2014. If you would like a video tour of your golf course please feel free to contact me in the comments below and I will try to make a trip out with my nephew so we can get some HDR photos as well as a full length YouTube video with the GoPro.
Hasentree Back 9 January 15th Round
Today was one of those days that every golfer has. From the outset of my round life was not easy. I was fortunate to be able to start on the back 9 at Hasentree. I enjoy the back 9 much more than the front 9 because it is much shorter and there is a truly gettable par 5. In fact, both par 5s on the back 9 are gettable with good tee shots. Well, here are how things went.
Holes 10, 11 and 12
Most golfers that have played Hasentree will admit that hole #10 is not difficult. It is one of the shortest holes on the course and you really can’t mess up the tee shot. Well, a decent golfer cannot mess up the tee shot. I ended up double crossing myself and hitting my drive to the left rough. It was cart path only and the course was soaking wet. It was also one of those winter days when the sun is extremely bright and it is difficult to find your ball on light brown grass. It took me about 10 minutes to find my ball that was just off the fairway. I had about 135 yards into the green.
The wind was in my face so I clubbed up – 7 iron. I hit a low stinger under a tree, that was in the way, and ended up just in front of the green. From there I two putted to start my round with a par. Hey! This is going to be another great round, right? Well, that was about to change very fast!
The 11th hole at Hasentree that is a dogleg right. It should set up perfect for my drive but I hate hitting a blind drive. This is the only true blind drive on the course as a good drive will carry the hill and make its way down to the green. Today, I popped my drive straight up in the air and it looked like it landed on the fairway. I made my way to where I thought it would be and could not find it. I walked around the fairway for a good 20 minutes and could not find the ball. I hit the fairway!
I ended up dropping but I was already frustrated. I ended up topping a 5 wood. I hit a 6 iron a little bit right of the green, but things were already bad. The 6 iron ended up in the rough. I duffed my chip, which rarely happens and then I three putted. Yes. A freaking triple bogey seven. A seven. I start my round par, triple bogey. I can already predict this is going to be an up and down round.
The 12th hole at Hasentree is the first par 3 on the back 9. It can play as long as 225 and as short as 115. With it being the middle of winter the tees were at the 115 yardage. In all reality, this is a gimme par from this range. I ended up hitting a decent 9 iron and two putting for a par. For those keeping track at home that is par, triple bogey, par. What fun!
My Favorite Part of the Hasentree Course
There is no argument to be made that holes #12 through #17 are my favorite part of the course. Most of the time I will play them at or under par. Hole #12 is the par 3 that is not all that difficult when the tees are up. Hole #13 is my absolutely favorite hole on the course. This is a straight away par 5 that plays about 470 yards. The greatest thing about this hole it is truly straight away. There is a fairway bunker on the left but you’d have to hit a 255 yard hook to get into the bunker. That is not to say I haven’t done it but it is rare with my fade.
The other great thing about the 13th hole is the fact that there is a hill on the right side of the fairway. This means any ball that is faded a little too much will hit the hill and roll right back down into the fairway. This is my dream. I hit a great drive. In fact, it was one of my best drives of the day. I only had about 220 into the green. I took out my 5 wood and absolutely mutilated it right at the pin. Unfortunately, the weather was not the best for hitting lumber. I didn’t get much carry and it just died as soon as it hit the ground. No roll out whatsoever.
On any summer day my 5 wood would have rolled right up to the middle of the green and I would have had a decent opportunity at an eagle putt. On this day, I was about 10 yards in front of the green and the pin was in the back. While the drive and the second shot are not difficult on #13 the green is. In fact, it is crazy tough. It is a two layer green and you have to absolutely kill your putt to get it to the top layer. I knew this so I decided to chip with my sand wedge (60 degrees). This is the look I had:
Well, I ended up going right under the ball and hitting my sand wedge about 15 feet when I wanted to hit it 50 feet. I was left with a treacherous putt from the bottom layer to the top layer. As soon as I hit the putt I knew it was bad. I ended up hitting it just high enough to catch steam and head right back down to lower level. My second putt was from further away from my first putt. I ended up four putting and took a six. I was right in front of the green in two and took a six. What a round!
The 14th hole is a par 3 that was playing about 135. I decided to hit my 7 iron. The funniest thing about this is I was not even concerned with the bunkers on the right hand side of the green and I hit it right into them. I played a terrible first bunker shot and an even worse second bunker shot that I hit over the green. I was putting from off the green for a bogey! I ended up not even getting the putt to the green and taking two more putts to get in the hole. That would be a six on a par 3. I hate golf!
The 15th hole is not all that difficult. It plays uphill about 350 yards. If you hit a decent drive it is a birdie opportunity. Unfortunately, I hit a high slice that ended up on the wrong side of the cart path. I then had to hit a stinger 5 wood just to advance the ball. This left me with about 120 into the green. I hit a decent 8 iron which left me with a par putt from just off the green. I hit a decent putt and tapped in for bogey. This is golf!
The 16th hole is a gettable par 5. It plays about 550 yards but it is a hard dogleg left and it is all down hill. In all reality, if you hit a decent drive, you can cut the dogleg and only have about 220 yards in. I didn’t have a great drive so I tried to lay up with my 5 wood. I ended up topping in and leaving myself with about 210 into the green. I decided to go for it. Once again, I mutilated my 5 wood right at the green. Unfortunately, I still couldn’t get it there. I was left with a chip for birdie.
Instead of trying to chip this time I decided to putt. Well, there was a sprinkler in the way but I didn’t think anything of it; until I putted right into the sprinkler. Three putts later and I was in with a seven. This is the second seven of my round. How on early am I even going to break 50?!?
Holes 17 and 18 at Hasentree
The final two holes of the course could not be any different. Hole #17 is a shorter par 3 that only plays about 145 yards. If you can hit a decent 150 yard shot the hole isn’t that difficult. Unfortunately, the pin placement was on a ridge in the middle of the green which made the hole a little bit harder. I hit a great tee shot with my 6 iron but ended up three putting because of the pin placement. I took my four and drove to the hardest hole on the course.
I really think Hasentree should name hole #18 the “Ole Dirty Bitch”. That is exactly what it is. It plays about 465 yards and it is all uphill. Unfortunately, it is a dogleg left but it is impossible to cut the dogleg. In reality, the hole plays about 480 yards uphill and the wind is almost always in your face. I hit my best drive of the day from the tee box. I had about 220 yards uphill to the green. I hammered my 5 wood and was actually on the green with a putt for birdie. This never happens for me on #18.
In fact, I have only had one birdie ever. I usually just consider this hole a par 5. To make matters worse, the green is extremely difficult on hole #18. I hit a decent putt but leave myself with about six feet for par. I hit a great putt that just slid low. That means I take a five on the last hole. Here is how it ended up playing out.
10 – 4 (par 4)
11 – 7 (par 4)
12 – 3 (par 3)
13 – 6 (par 5)
14 – 6 (par 3)
15 – 5 (par 4)
16 – 7 (par 5)
17 – 4 (par 3)
18 – 5 (par 4)
If I do the math correctly that is a 47 on the back 9. Even though I played terrible I still only shot about 5 strokes worse than I normally do. Let’s just say I have a lot of work to do to clean my golf game up.
Hasentree Front 9 January 2nd Round
Here is how my first nine holes of golf went in 2014:
Outfit and Preparation
I checked my iPhone to see what the weather was going to be like last night. It looked as if the rain would start around 2:00 pm which gave me just enough time to trek up to Hasentree, in Wake Forest, and get nine holes in. The temperature was supposed to be 54 degrees. My rule is any time the temperature is between 54 and 93 degrees it is golf weather. I will adjust that a little bit depending on need. I woke up and called the golf shop at Hasentree. I asked if I would have any problems getting out at 11:30 am or noon. Kevin said, “the golf course will be completely yours.” This put a smile on my face.
With it being about 50 degrees I knew it was sweater weather. Not the song. I went with all black with a little white today. Black golf pants, a black sweater, black belt and a white Nike golf polo under the sweater. I even have all black shoes. The only white you could see was the collar of the Nike polo. Not that the outfit is all that important to me, but it is fun to go with a solid color. Now, to the most important part, the actual nine holes…
First Three Holes at Hasentree
Anyone that has played Hasentree knows just how difficult the first three holes can be. Like any challenging course, it will test your patience early on. The 1st hole at Hasentree is a dogleg left and it plays about 440 yards uphill. To make matters even worse, if you try to cut the dogleg there are three fairway bunkers that you cannot carry. This means it is better to simply hit the ball into the middle of the fairway and take your medicine with a long second shot.
I have not hit a golf ball in about three weeks and the last time I played I played terrible. In fact, I did not hit one drive I liked the last time I was on the course. Instead of going to the driving range or warming up in any way I simply went to the first tee box. One of the best things about Hasentree is the fact that it is almost always empty. When I walked up to the first tee box there was not a soul within sight. This is my type of golf.
I took a few practice swings with my Taylormade R7 driver and decided it was time to give it a go. I made certain my shoulders were square with the little “Phil Mickelson shoulder twist”. I gave it a rip. Surprisingly, I hit it right down the middle. It was one of the better drives I’ve hit on the first hole. Unfortunately, even after a great drive, I still had 180 into the green. I am not good with my long irons so I subsequently pulled out a 5 wood and topped it. Luckily I topped it enough to get it within about 70 yards of the green.
The best part of my game is 100 yards and in. Hasentree will do that to you because the second shots are so dang long. I pulled out my 60 degree wedge and smacked it right on the green. I hit a great putt that just scraped the edge, so I tapped in for a bogey. Honestly, I will take a bogey all day, everyday on the first hole of Hasentree. It is a brute.
The second hole is a completely different type of hole. It only plays about 380 but there is trouble everywhere. If you do not hit your drive straight you are in a fairway bunker to the right or behind trees to the left. I hit a terrible drive that left me about 180 into the green. Yes. You read that correctly. I hit a 200 yard high slice into the wind with my driver. By far, the worst shot of the day. Instead of trying to be a hero and use my 5 wood again I decided to grab my trusty 6 iron and get it somewhere near the green. That is exactly what I did. I ended up just short of the greenside bunker. I had a chip of about 30 yards to the pin. My wheelhouse.
My third shot on the second hole would be a disaster for most amateurs. I had to go over a large, steep bunker onto a green that is shaped like a bowl. This was the hole that taught me how to chip. If you can’t chip you are going to go over this green time and again because it is so steep. I hit a decent chip and ended up with a 12 foot putt for par. I hit a really good putt but left it short. The round started bogey-bogey but I wasn’t all too concerned.
The third hole at Hasentree is the first par 3. Today it was only playing 150 but it is still a challenge. There are two greenside bunkers on the left. They are very steep. You do not want to go there. To the right is a collection area but it leaves you in a very tough spot to chip from. Hitting the green is essential on the third hole at Hasentree. I ended up pulling the trusty 6 iron and knocking it within 10 feet of the cup. Once again, I hit a great putt but didn’t get it there. I took my par. A bogey-bogey-par is not a bad start for me at Hasentree.
Holes 4, 5 and 6 at Hasentree
I would like to say that holes 4, 5 and 6 get easier but I would be lying. The fourth hole actually played as the hardest hole on the course in 2011. That honor now goes to the 18th. More on that at another time. The fourth hole plays uphill on both shots. The tee shot is a tough one as there are fairway bunkers on the left and the right is covered with zoysia grass. If you have ever had to hit out of long zoysia grass you know just how bad it can be. If you do not hit your drive in the fairway there is no way you are going to birdie this hole. Heck, you will be lucky to bogey.
The hole reads about 420 on the scorecard but it plays closer to 460 because it is so uphill. Today I actually hit a dead pull right into the fairway bunkers. This left me with a fairway bunker shot of about 145 that plays closer to 165. Mind you, the lip of the bunker is a huge issue. I took my medicine and played it back out to the fairway to leave myself about 145 into the green. I hit a solid 6 iron up the hill but came up just short of the green.
So, here I am, chipping for par. I hit a decent chip but not good enough. I left myself with about 8 feet. The putt slide to the left, below the hole, at the last second so I took my first double bogey of 2014. If there were ever a hole to have a double bogey it is this one. At least we have a par 5 coming up next!
The par 5 fifth hole is actually a hole I tend to do well on. It only plays about 495 yards and it is dead straight. The tee shot can be hindered by fairway bunkers on each side of the fairway. If you hit into these bunkers you will definitely be laying up. Once again, I hit a dead pull left out of the tee box. It ended up hitting a tree and dropping straight down. I was left with a decent angle into the green. With everything being pulled dead lift I tried to aim just slightly right expecting to hit a bit of a draw with my 5 wood.
Per the usual, nothing in golf works out the way you think it will. I ended up hitting a slice that is headed straight for the woods. This was one of those, “what the hell was that?” type of shots. I was very fortunate in that my ball hit a tree and bounced right back into the fairway. If it would not have hit the tree I would have been dropping. I guess there is some luck in golf. I drove up to my ball and had about 110 into the green. I flushed a pitching wedge that went right over the flagstick. I had a putt of about 15 feet for birdie.
Please understand that the green on #5 is quite difficult. I have a few HDR photos I took of this green I will share below. Unfortunately, if you do not hit the perfect putt you could end up four putting. I hit a putt that I assumed would turn right; it turned left. This left me with a 6 footer for par. I ended up hitting the perfect putt which I needed as I walked off five green and onto six tee box. Here are some photos of #5 green:
Six is the devil. I absolutely hate #6 at Hasentree. It can play as long as 235 yards and the green is covered with bunkers. I was playing from about 190 today so I decided I would play short with a 6 iron and see what happened. I hit a shot that ended up in the front bunker which was not a surprise. There is no way I could get a 6 iron all the way to the pin but my long irons are a disaster. Let me tell you how bad they are.
I pulled a 4 iron out of my bag just to see what would happen. I swung and hit a knuckle ball about 75 yards. It literally hurt to hit the ball. I tried again and this knuckleball went about 50 yards. It only took six holes for me to realize I won’t be pulling long irons out of my bag in 2014. The longest iron I will hit is a 6 iron. If I need to hit a longer shot it will be the 5 wood. Maybe it is time to invest in a 4 hybrid.
The front bunker of the sixth hole is about 20 yards from the green. This is not my strong suit. I bladed the ball but it hit the lip of the bunker. Thank goodness. This left me with a 15 yard chip which is my wheelhouse. I hit a great chip to about five feet of the hole. I ended up hitting the putt for a bogey. If I can escape the sixth hole with a bogey I am ecstatic. For those scoring at home:
1 – 5 (par 4)
2 – 5 (par 4)
3 – 3 (par 3)
4 – 6 (par 4)
5 – 5 (par 5)
6 – 4 (par 3)
The Final Three Holes of My Day
After hole #6 the skies open and things get a little bit easier at Hasentree. The 7th hole is a long par 5 that can play over 630 yards. I play it from about 525. I hit a dead straight drive and it was go time; well, maybe for a lay up. The seventh hole is not a hole to go after on the second shot. It plays uphill and you are dead if you go left or right. Straight is the only option and short is better than long. With this in mind I decided to lay up with an 8 iron. I had 260 into the green so I figured two 130 yard shots would work perfectly.
I hit a terrible 8 iron. Terrible doesn’t even begin to describe it. It was a horrendous shot. I left myself with about 145 into the green and I was at a terrible angle. I pulled out my trusty six iron and hoped for the best. I ended up hitting another terrible shot right. If you go right on #7 you are done. There is no way you are going to get up and down from there. The photo below shows just how bad it is when you are coming out of the rough.
If you notice the little clump of green grass in the middle of this photo that was about the location of my ball. It was just down and to the right of that on a downhill lie.
In this photo, my ball would have been on the bottom right just in front of the clump of green grass. It was dead. No way was I going to get up and down from there.
If you look closely at this photo you will see a ball on the green. This is where I had to land my ball to get it even close to the pin. It rolled all the way out from there into the hole for a chip in birdie.
I had no choice but to go right at the flag. There was a good chance I could knock it all the way across the green and into the bunker. Heck, there was a chance I could blade it and send it into the woods. You only live once, right? As soon as I hit it I knew it was amazing. I stood on the bank and had about 15 seconds to enjoy the moment. Every so often you will hit that shot that you hope lasts forever. This was one of those shots.
As soon as I hit it with my sand wedge I knew it had a chance. It landed just on the green and had to roll out for about 45 feet. The ball hit the crest of the green and started to float left. About 20 feet from the hole I knew it was going in. As it approached the hole it hit the pin and dropped. My first birdie of 2014 was on a chip in from an impossible location. I have never been able to come close to the pin from this location and my first round of the year brings a chip in.
The eighth hole is hard. No other way to describe it. It plays about 420 but you have to hit a great drive. On the left hand side of the green there are trees and a bunker. This means your tee shot should be to the left of the fairway. If you hit it just right you will catch the power alley and get about 30 yards of runout on your drive. Not in the winter though. Today I hit the exact drive I wanted but the ball did not roll out. This left me with 150 into the green.
Once again, the trusty 6 iron came out of the bag. Unfortunately I hit it right into the trees on the right hand side of the green. Luckily it got a decent kick into the bunker. My bunker play is terrible right now. Once again, I bladed the ball and hit it all the way across the green. From there I chipped twice and putted in for a six. My second double bogey of the round. That is not all that unusual for me on the 8th hole.
The 9th hole is perfect. This is a golf hole that fits my swing like no other. It plays about 340 yards and all downhill. If you hit a fade you hit a fairway. If you hit a draw, you hit a fairway. Your only real concern is dead straight about 275 yards. Not an issue for me. I ended up hitting it down the right hand side of the fairway and left myself with about 110 yards into the green.
I pulled a pitching wedge and hit a terrible shot. It was on the green but not the type of shot I was looking for from 110. I two putted from there for a par. That is correct. I ended birdie, double bogey par. Here was the final scorecard:
1 – 5 (par 4)
2 – 5 (par 4)
3 – 3 (par 3)
4 – 6 (par 4)
5 – 5 (par 5)
6 – 4 (par 3)
7 – 4 (par 5)
8 – 6 (par 4)
9 – 4 (par 4)
A 42 on the front 9 at Hasentree is not bad at all. This is a course that will eat you alive early. I tend to play the back 9 four or five strokes better than the front 9. This was not a day that I wanted to stand out in the cold and wait for the people in front of me. I ended up catching up to a threesome on the tee box of #9 and I don’t like to play slow golf. I took my clubs and I went home. Overall, it was a very successful first day of golf in 2014. I am excited to see what happens next time I head out to Hasentree. Hopefully I can play the back 9.