Riverdale Knolls Detail
This review is written from the white tees, which are 6436 yards. I played this course on a day in December when the wind was howling out of the west (30-40 mph). The greens ran very slow, probably because they were soft and wet from a chinook which had finally melted off a recent snowfall. The blues play at 6784. Overall length is certainly not out of reach for a bogey golfer; however, some individual holes play pretty long from the back tees, especially when uphill and into the wind.
The first hole is a 402 yard par 4. There's a pond off the right side of the fairway, and OB left, but neither is really much of a threat here. The fairway is plenty wide enough to hit your driver, and the hole is long enough that you need to. On your approach shot, you'll notice that there are bunkers fronting both sides of the green. They're not too large -- if the pin is back you can fly over them easily if your ball isn't exactly on line.
The second hole is another 400 yarder, also straightaway, and also plenty wide. Hit your driver again, you'll need it. The green doesn't really have any trouble around it, so you can pretty much go after the pin, regardless of where it's placed, and regardless of what angle you're coming in from.
The third hole is a little shorter -- only 350 yards. You no longer need the distance of your driver on this one, however, the fairway isn't really any narrower, so if you've been hitting your driver okay, keep after it. There's really no excuse not to get a par or bogey on this hole. Yes, you guessed it,I made a double. I hit the approach shot wide, made two bad chips, and two mediocre putts.
The fourth hole has a bit more character. It's still long (390 yards), but it's also uphill, has a big dogleg to the right, and has a big ditch cutting across the fairway. The ditch is out of reach off the tee, so it's still safe to hit driver. Make sure you don't try to get too cute and cut the corner off the dogleg. There's a bushy little pine tree on the right side of the fairway, not to mention a big cottonwood up by the ditch. Play the hole the way it's set up -- hit the ball down the middle, or even left of center. On your second shot, remember that the green is up the hill, and you'll need at least one extra club, maybe two. The green is basically two-tiered. You definitely want your appraoch shot to land on the right tier, so take yet another club if the pin is back.
The fifth hole is a 175 yard downhill par 3. There's a huge bunker on the right side of the green, and of course you have to go back across the big ditch. Take one less club, but take a full swing.
Number 6 is another uphill dogleg right. The tee shot is back over the big ditch. A well-struck drive can easily clear it, but it needs altitude and confidence. If you're not sure, lay up. Take at least one extra club on the approach shot. Mind the trap on the right by the green.
The seventh hole is a par 5. It only plays 507 yards, and it has an elevated teebox. But (and this is an importnat caveat), most of the hole is uphill. So hit a driver off the tee, and then for your second shot, hit the longest club that you can hit well. And on your third shot (assuming you're in position after the first two), take one extra club coming into the green.
Number 8 is a 192 yard par 3. There's a bunker on the left, so, obviously, the bail-out is to the right. 192 yards is a challenging distance for a bogey golfer. Hit it 170 or 180 yards, and try for an up-and-down.
The ninth hole is short uphill par 4. Remember that "uphill" part when you hit your approach shot. This is another scoring opportunity. I shanked my approach shot and wound up with a six...
#10 is a 368 yard par 4, so it's not that long. It's also a little bit downhill. The day I was playing there was also a 40 mph tailwind. So I wound up with my driver and went for it. In one of those incredibly rare moments, I hit the ball well, and hit it well over 300 yards. Still made bogey. Oh well. The percentage shot off the tee is to hit your three wood, and a short iron into the green.
The eleventh hole is 419 yards, to an elevated green. Our old friend, the big ditch, is back in play on the second shot. Driver is a good play here, but don't stray too much to either side. (Personally, I hit a tree on the left and wound up in the next fairway over.)
#12 is a short par 5, at 485 yards. The ditch is in play on this tee shot. Like #6, you need altitude and confidence, but it's definitely makeable. From there, you can either play the hole as the ho-hum piece of cake that it is, (seven iron, pitching wedge), or go for it (three wood? two iron?). (Psst... the fairway's plenty wide...)
#13 is a 546 yard par 5. You may not realize it from the teebox, but there's a pond in play to your right. Aim well left, even though the hole dog legs right. The second shot is the real juice for this hole. That's because there are two (count them, two) ditches. You have to fly over the first ditch, and lay up for the second ditch. The day I played, there was a howling headwind, so the right club for the second shot turned out to be a really well-hit four iron. On a still day, you might get away with a five, six, or even seven iron. The approach to the green is pretty straightforward, since there aren't any bunkers. But definitely the second shot is the real key to this hole.
#14 is a 179 yard par 3. It's straighaway, flat, no bunkers, just the ditch. You can be short, but not too short...
#15 is a 402 yard par 4, yes, back across the ditch. Driver is a good play here, since the fairway is plenty wide. another kettle of fish entirely. A mid-iron into the green should leave you with an easy birdie putt (I missed mine...)
#16 doesn't look that hard on paper -- it's a 358 yard par 4. In real life, it's up this steep hill. You need a good drive off the tee, because however far you have left into the green, you really need two extra clubs. One extra club was definitely not enough. Be aware that in addition to the general uphill grade of the hole, the green also sits on a five-foot crown. It's also pretty large, so try to get as close to the flag as you can.
#17 is a gorgeous little par 3. It's 146 yards, and has a huge bunker directly in front. If the pin is placed front left, land the ball short, and let it bounce on. If the pin is behind that bunker, well, make sure you put a good hit on it...
#18 is another gorgeous hole. It's 389 yards, downhill. There'a s pond on the right that you want to pay attention to. If you have a tendency to hit fades, you might want to consider backing off from hitting driver here.
That's the story -- this is a great course, and it's well set up for walking. With lots of mature trees, it pays you to keep it in the fairway. However, the fairways are amply wide enough to let you use driver on most of the par 4s and 5s. While the course is mostly flat, there are several places where you need to be mindful of the elevation changes, especially when selecting your clubs for approach shots. Great course, lots of fun, peaceful surroundings, reasonably priced. Really nice clubhouse too.