Wilderness Ridge Golf Club Detail
The first hole is a par 4, playing 385 yards, slightly uphill. The relatively short length gives you a chance to ease into the round, so hit something off the tee that's going to be reasonably accurate -- the bunker on the left is potentially in play, but the one on the right is 254 yards out. A long iron or a three wood might be a good choice. Your approach shot brings a big bunker into play on the right of the green, so miss short and left.
The second hole is a devlish par 3. The view from the front is pretty straightforward, with a bunker fronting the green on the right. The devlish part is the severe left to right break on the green. I made a pretty straightforward chip from the fringe in front and was flabbergasted to see it run away to the right. Take a close look at any chips or putts from all sides before you make a shot.
#3 is a narrow 368 yard par 4. It's narrowness is exacerbated whenever the winds blows left to right toward the OB line. Hit something down the left side on a line with the far bunker. The green has water behind it, wrapping around to the right a little bit, so don't miss long!
The fourth hole is a picturesque par 3 over a pond. Playing 164 yards, there's room short and left for a bailout shot if you're nervous, which can still leave you a fighting chance for an up-and-down par.
#5 is a wide open par 4 playing 403 yards. There are fairway bunkers left and right, but this is still a good driver hole, owing to the relative spaciousness, not to mention the yardage. As you approach the green, you need to be aware of a pond on the left which angles in behind the green. Any misses (especially long ones) need to be to the right.
#6 is a 512 par 5, which plays much longer because it's mostly uphill. There's a pond off the tee, but it's mostly there for visual effect, and really shouldn't come into play unless you top your drive. Of more interest are the fairway bunkers. The first one on the right is about 219 yards, and it's cavernous. Hit your driver only if you're confident you can keep it in the middle of the fairway. Otherwise hit something that you are confident will go straight, or not reach it. On your second shot, be aware of a pond that runs for 200 yards down the right hand side. The green is slightly elevated, and has bunkers left and right.
#7 is a downhill par 4, playing 366 yards. There's a huge trap on the right, which you might be able to fly over (it needs 185 in the air). The alternative approach is to aim at the bunker on the left which you can't reach. Since the hole is short and downhill, you really don't need driver off the tee here.
#8 is a masterpiece of trouble. First, there's the pond. It's 233 yards off the tee, and it's downhill, so a well-struck shot in the wrong direction could bring it into play. Second, there's the bunker on the right. You can reach it at 201 yards, and need 227 to fly it. Third, the fairway necks down in between the pond and the bunker, leaving a pretty narrow opening. This suggests multiple strategies:
- Thread the needle like a touring pro
- Lay up, and play it like a par 5
- Hit the mother of all drives directly over the trap (risking a hook into the water, or a slice OB)
#9 is a par 5 playing 552 yards. The tee shot is blind and uphill. The trap on the left can be flown at 195 yards (again, uphill). Or just stay right of it. Past the sand, it's pretty much all downhill, and straightforward since the wind will be at your back more often than not. However, the green is a piece of work. It's crowned in the middle, and the day I played, the pin was on the crown. Perhaps the greenkeeper's love life is inadequate?
The back nine starts with a relatively short par 4 at 352 yards. The best tee shot is down the left hand side, because a) there's a big honking tree on the right, and b) the green angles away in such a way that a left side approach shot gives you the most green to work with. There's plenty of room to hit your driver, but no need to if it's been balky for you.
#11 is an interesting par 4. It's only 359 yards, playing downhill, but there are plenty of obstacles to ponder. There's a pond down the left side, and bunkers down the right. Furthermore, you run out of fairway if you hit it too far. If you're carrying one of those 220 yard straight shots in your bag, here's the place to use it. The green is well-bunkered to boot.
#12 is a tame-looking par 3, with a two-story green. Get to the right story, even if you have to lay up and chip on. The speed on these greens is hard enough without taking into account a two-foot ledge.
#13 is a fun hole. It's a 352 yard par 4 with a dogleg right, over a pond. It's 271 yards to reach the water, but it's downhill and you might have a tail wind, so I would not recommend a driver here. The approach shot over the pond is pretty straightforward, and the green is huge, so pay close attention to your yardage. Think confident thoughts, and knock it close!
#14 is the signature hole at Wilderness Ridge. It's a 576 yard monster par 5 (598 from the tips). There's a tree smack in the middle of the fairway off the tee. You can miss it either side (there's a little more room on the right), and big hitters can even go straight over it. I was playing with a college kid who drilled it dead center and still went on to birdie the hole (kids!). The important thing is not to obsess about the tree. Focus on hitting a good shot, and let the chips fall where they may. The second shot is pretty straightforward, with no trouble to speak of coming into play. The key strategy on both the first two shots is to get good distance, because the approach shot is going to be hairy, and getting closer is better. It's basically an island green, with picturesque rocks and waterfalls everywhere. Behind the green is an honest-to-goodness cliff, with about a 30 foot drop to the water (don't go long). The hole is a visual treat, and it tests both your long and short games.
#15 is another visual treat, with an artsy-craftsy stone-lined stream wandering down the right side of the fairway. (The stream actually pops out of the burm behind the green in the form of a waterfall, and disappears under the green...). It's a 172 yard par 3, with no trouble to speak of (except the stream). Bail out left, try for the up-and-down if you're going to miss.
#16 is wide open, and spacious. Grip it and rip it! The hole is 409 yards long, and there's a huge bunker complex on the right. Keep it to the left side, and you should do fine.
The seventeenth is yet another visual treat, with a big pond on the right. The rough on the left is really wide (to protect the line of houses there) and liberally sprinkled with bunkers. Despite all the trouble on both sides, there's still a lot of room in the fairway, and this is a good driver hole. The green is shady (big row of trees behind and right), and large, so pay attention to the pin placement as you select your club for the approach.
The home hole is kind of the mirror image of #17, with the added attraction of seeing the clubhouse silhouetted behind the green. It's a 444 yard par 4, which is designed to make you earn that post-round libation. Because of the length, driver is the best choice here. Favor the left side of the fairway to stay away from the water.