Five for five: Some of the more memorable par-5 golf holes in Orange County, California
YORBA LINDA, Calif. -- They're often the no. 1 handicap hole on the course, but they can be good birdie opportunities as well. We're talking par 5s, where good players can sometimes hit the green in two or at the very least set up a wedge shot for a possible up and down.
On the other hand, the average player has to hit three good shots in a row to set up a birdie putt, a daunting task for most players, but not impossible. Add a few hazards and usually a smaller green and you've got a great challenge.
One of the best par 5s in Orange County is at Black Gold Golf Club in Yorba Linda. This Arthur Hills design is challenging throughout, but the closing hole -- a 535-yard par 5 that features and uphill tee shot and an approach to an wide green fronted by water -- can be a good risk-reward or can ruin your round.
"It's a great way to finish a round of golf," said Mark Perbix, the director of golf at Black Gold. "There's lots of risk-reward in the second shot. And if you hit it long left, it's not easy to get it up and down."
The difficulty begins off the tee, where from the tips you have to hit a drive uphill some 265 yards to get it to a flat spot. It's possible, if you hit toward the cart path on the right that it can roll all the way back down the hill toward a hazard. Regardless, even if you play it as a three-shotter, you have to layup short of the water and hit a deft pitch shot to the green over the water.
The 18th at Black Gold is just one memorable par 5 in Orange County. Here are four more:
San Juan Hills Golf Club: No. 6
At 563 yards, this mid-length par 5 at San Juan Hills Golf Club in San Juan Capistrano is difficult enough, but if you're going to hit driver off the tee, you've got to be able to turn it hard right to left. That's because if you don't you're likely to go through the fairway and into plenty of trouble. The second half of the hole plays uphill, so it seems much longer than it is. In reality, it takes three really good shots to find this green, and it doesn't get any easier from there as all the greens at San Juan Hills feature plenty of pitch.
Monarch Beach Golf Links: No. 7
What shouldn't be lost in the beauty of Monarch Beach Golf Links in Dana Point is the difficulty of the Robert Trent Jones Jr.-designed golf course, especially the course's no. 1 handicap hole, the 612-yard par-5 seventh. Golfers find themselves having to cross Salt Creek not once, but twice before getting to the green. Off the tee, you find a fairway on the left. From that fairway, it's back over the creek to a fairway on the left. From there, you have to hit a shot to a well-guarded green and with the length of the hole, it won't be a short club for most players.
The Resort at Pelican Hill, North Course: No. 17
The par-5 17th on the Tom Fazio-designed North Course at Pelican Hill doesn't make our list because of difficulty but because of its beauty. It is arguably is the most beautiful on a course that excels in scenery, especially on the ocean holes. This 543-yard dogleg right generally requires three precise shots, especially on the layup. The third shot is into the ocean and usually a breeze. Danger in the form of bunkers and a canyon lurks down the entire right side of this hole.
Talega Golf Club: No. 11
Any list of par 5s would have to include Talega Golf Club in San Clemente. After all this course has five of them (and five par 3s). But if you had to pick one, it would be hard to overlook the 11th. Overall, it isn't particularly difficult, but the tee shot is very memorable. Perched high above the fairway, you can see most of the back nine from the 11th tee. Get it in the fairway with a long drive and you have a chance to hit the green on this 558-yard hole. Miss the fairway and big numbers can come into play.
September 20, 2013