Toughest holes in the High Country | VailDaily.com
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Toughest holes in the High Country

Golf Guide Staff
Special to the Golf GuideThe picturesque hole No. 11 at the Snowmass Club is also one of the toughest.
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Altitude is hardly the only challenge awaiting golfers at high-country courses. Test your mettle (titanium, or whatever) on some of these:SUMMIT COUNTYNo. 16, Keystone River Course, 509 from tips, par 4Photo credit: http://www.keystoneresort.com/Vail Resorts/John & Jeannine HenebryPros Survival Tip: With a vertical drop of over 200 yards from tee to green, this hole makes you feel like youre on top of the world. An accurate tee shot is key to setting yourself up for a long iron approach into a fairly open green. Beware of hitting a driver some long hitters can actually overhit their shot and leave themselves with a severe downhill lie to the green. The putting surface is very large to accomodate a variety of second shots coming into the green. Tom AndersonNo. 11, Raven at Three Peaks, 559 from tips, par 5 Photo credit: http://www.ravengolf.comPros Survival Tip: This is a great risk-reward hole, and its nicknamed Waterloo because its home to the largest lake at the Raven. A long tee shot presents an opportunity to get on the green in two, but that would require a fairway wood and 200-yard carry over the lake and its monster trout. The survival route is to lay up on the fairway to the left of the lake. Challenging the water on the third shot with a short iron gives you the best chance at avoiding your own personal Waterloo. Par is a victory on this hole. Rick FretlandBreckenridge Golf Club, No. 8 on Beaver Nine, 580 yards from the tipsPhoto credit: http://www.breckenridgegolfclub.comPro’s Survival Tip: The fairway and green of this hole are both flanked by beaver ponds and forested areas. Although the hole offers an option for the big hitter to hit the green in two shots, the best opportunity for par or birdie will come from hitting a long iron or fairway metalwood from the tee box. Follow that up with a mid-iron to an approach area that will leave you a 75 to 100-yard shot over the beaver ponds. Dont let the natural beauty of this thing fool you. This is one tough hole. Erroll MillerASPEN/SNOWMASSAspen Golf Course: Hole No. 9, par 4, 482 yardsYoull need a Happy Gilmore-esque drive to survive Aspens ninth hole. The 482-yard par 4 plays like a par 5, with its sloped fairway and a tee box that typically faces the wind.The drive is the key, said Aspens head pro, Les Klahm. If you dont carry that first shot, youre in trouble. Youre going to have a very long way to go.A big drive isnt the only key. A ravine crosses the fairway and then jogs to the right, and there are bunkers on each side of the fairway before it doglegs right toward the green. Another small bunker protects the green on its right side.Its just a wide open hole thats very long, Klahm said. There arent a lot of trees or anything. If you reach the green in two shots, thats pretty impressive.Aspen Golf Course: Hole No. 13Tricky even if you are not superstitiousIts all in the tee-shot. Its a tight shot through an alley of trees. Theres out-of-bounds on the right, but the right side of the fairway is the better line if you can stomach it. Its a hole thats broken a lot of hearts. Les Klahn, Aspen Golf CourseSnowmass Club: Hole No. 6, par 3, 279 yardsThe award-winning Jim Engh-designed course at the Snowmass Club bills itself as a one-of-a-kind Irish links course with mountain flair. Just dont expect a leprechaun to help you navigate the 279-yard sixth hole the longest par 3 in the Roaring Fork Valley. The view of the green from the elevated tee boxes can be a bit misleading, said head pro Ken Everett. The green is the biggest on the course, but there are two hidden bunkers on the left and another flanking the right side.The green looks like a nice big target, but theres trouble on all sides of it, Everett said. Hitting the green on your drive doesnt ensure that you are going to two-putt. It has some rolls in it and its real long.Snowmass Club: Hole No. 11, par 5The most picturesque hole at the Snowmass Club is also one of the toughest. The par-5 11th plays right up the valley toward 13,300-foot Mount Daly. The fairway doglegs to the left and is flanked by a man-made stream on its right side.There is also a large bunker hidden to the left of the elevated green.Youre hitting up to a green that you cant see, Everett said. Theres water down the entire right side, which also poses a problem. Its a beautiful hole, its just really tough.RIFLE/NEW CASTLERifle Creeks High Country Amen Corner: Holes No. 12-14No. 12, par 4: Its uphill 371 yards and wide open enough to deceive the unsuspecting into a false sense of bravado. Trouble waits around the green where the hole tightens downlike a noose.No. 13, par 5: Its 448 yards, and the voice luring you to try to make it in two is a sirens song that ends with you crashed on the rocks. If youre itching to find trouble go ahead and try to make it in two. Better to do it in three, take your par and thank the golf gods for giving you the gift of good judgement.No. 14, par 4: This hole gives you some idea what its like to ask directions in PPariis, France. You cant get there from here. Its 405 yards uphill and tight with evil lurkin on both sides. Big hitter will grab a 3 wood and play it safe. Regular mortals feeling bulletproof are encouraged to grab a driver and bust it.Go ahead, go for it. Bust out the driver and go for it. Lakota Canyon: Hole No. 8No. 8. You need an oxygen mask to walk up to the 100-foot elevated black tees. From the tee box you can see four holes and a fantastic view of Burning Mountain. As you can see theres three pot bunkers in the fairway, followed by a rock river and pond beyond the first fairway. The best play is to lay up short of the bunkers hitting a mid to long iron. Then you’ll have a slightly downhill approach to an accessible green. Good luck!! Tom Underwood, Lakota Canyon Ranch Golf Club, New Castle


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