10 of the Best Risk and reward holes

By: Golf Shake | Wed 30 Sep 2015 | Comments


Everybody loves a risk and reward hole. They stand out more and after your round they are often a key talking point in the clubhouse. In social rounds most golfers will have a go at the risk option on these holes but once they get a card in their hand, confidence drops and often the safe option is taken.

So here are ten of our favourite risk and reward holes in the world.

Hole 15 – Celtic Manor 2010 Course

The 15th hole at Celtic Manor’s 2010 course is a great risk and reward hole. I’m sure all the keen golf fans will have noticed this hole more than most during the Ryder Cup and various Welsh Open’s as it offers something different.

For the shorter hitters it is played as a sharp dogleg right. A long iron or wood up the left side of the fairway leaves a short iron or wedge over a creek. But for the longer hitters, such as the pros, the green is reachable.

From the elevated tee you can just see the green. You must play your tee shot over the ridge of trees but you cannot miss left. Any tee shot that misses left will almost certainly fall away into the creek. If you go right, you leave yourself an almost impossible chip and putt.

Hole 9 – Harbour Town Links (320 Yards)

Although a simple looking hole, there are two ways to play it. The hole plays at just 320 yards but most would lay-up to around the 100 yard mark. This leaves just a wedge into the nasty heart shaped green.

The risky player may opt to smash driver down this tight, tree-lined hole and get on or near the green. There is a large bunker that surrounds the front of the green and two at the back of the green. If you’re a brilliant bunker player then hitting driver into one of these may suit you.

If you do get lucky and you find the small heart shaped green, you must make sure you’re on the correct side of it. The green is practically two small greens joined together by a narrow slice of green. Some may even have to chip from one side of the green over to the other.

Hole 10 – The Belfry Brabazon Course

The Belfry 10th

The 10th hole on the Brabazon Course at The Belfry has seen many a great moments such as Seve Ballesteros setting the tactic for Tony Jacklin’s winning Ryder Cup side in 1985.

For the shorter hitters it is certainly a lay-up down the left hand side followed by a simple pitch shot over the water hazard to the green. However, for those who can fly the ball far enough, the green is reachable.

The ideal shot is a slight cut. If you set the ball off on the line of the water next to the green with a slight cut you should see your ball land on the green. However, if you do over cut the ball you come at risk of catching the trees on the right hand side. Which could leave a near on impossible second shot or knock your ball into the water.

Hole 11 – Rhodes Ranch Golf Club (297 Yards)

Las Vegas is known as the gambling capital of the world and gamble is just what you can do at the 297-yard par 4 11th hole at Rhodes Ranch Golf Club.

Water runs down the entire right hand side of the fairway meaning most golfers opt for the safety of a wood or an iron. But for those tempted, if you hit driver down the left hand side of the fairway and get a bounce to the right off the sloping fairway then your ball may end up on the green.

You must pitch the ball at least 280 yards if you want to carry the water directly. The front left and back right of the green is protected by bunkers to gather any balls that are slightly off line.

Hole 13 – Augusta National

Number 13 at Augusta National is an iconic par 5 in the world of golf and has seen some incredible shots over the years, most notably Phil Mickelson in the 2010 Masters.

From behind a tree, lefty saw an opening of around 4ft and had to carry the ball at least 187 yards. The rest is history. This is a perfect example of a risk paying off but what happens when the risk doesn’t pay off on this hole?

A little draw is the aim (for the right hander) off the tee at 13, as this will leave you on the flat part of the fairway. This means you leave a long 2nd shot and if you go for it you must clear the beck short of the green. Anything that misses the green left leaves a difficult downhill up and down.

Hole 18 – Pebble Beach

Joan Dost Pebble Beach

Image credit - Golfbreaks.com/Joann Dost


The 18th at Pebble Beach is one of the most recognised par 5’s in the world. It runs alongside the Pacific Ocean with two trees that come into play on the right hand side off the tee. If you manage to avoid these trees then you leave a great chance of reaching the green in two.

You must then however, avoid the vast bunker that runs alongside the left hand side of the fairway as well as the overhanging tree short right of the green on the approach shot. The second shot has to be perfect to end up on the putting surface on this incredible hole. More often than not you see the ball end up in one of the greenside bunkers.

Hole 17 – TPC Scottsdale

The Waste Management Phoenix Open is one of the most popular tournaments on tour due to its stadium hole (16) at TPC Scottsdale. At the beginning of the year you often see footage from 16 a lot. But people seem to forget that the 17th is a great risk and reward par 4 especially if your confidence is high off a positive reaction from the crowd on 16.

The waste area and the bunkers need to be avoided off the tee but the main concern should be the water to the left of the green. Any tee shot that is slightly pulled will bound towards the water and can turn the hole from an excellent birdie chance to a disappointing bogey or worse.

Hole 16 – Dudsbury Golf Club (393 Yards)

Dudsbury Golf Club has been the host of many prestigious events such as EuroPro Tour events, the BMW PGA Order of Merit Championships and the EGU McGregor Trophy.

The course itself has an excellent risk and reward hole towards the back end of your round at 16. The par 4 plays around a lake and most golfers choose to play it safe around it.

However, the more aggressive you are with the tee shot, the shorter and easier the second shot over a ditch and more water will be. The longer hitters may choose to just carry everything and shorten the hole with the driver and open up an eagle chance.

Hole 4 – Loch Lomond Carrick Course

The fourth hole at the Carrick Course is arguably the most memorable on the Carrick Course. Water runs along the left hand side of the fairway and green which is aesthetically pleasing yet terrifying at the same time.

Most golfers would opt for a short iron or wood to hit the widest part of the fairway however, this leaves a long approach shot into a green with water short and left and out of bounds long.

Those who risk the driver will be rewarded with a shorter approach shot which makes the hole a lot simpler as you can play a more controlled club into the green.

Hole 10 – Celtic Manor Roman Road Course

The 10th hole on the Roman Road Course at Celtic Manor is a great risk and reward hole. The hole is 420 yards long but plays severely downhill. The safe play off the tee is to hit a long iron or wood leaving a long approach shot over a ravine to a green protected by three bunkers.

If you dare to hit driver, you risk running out of room and being blocked out by the trees or, if you get a lucky bounce, you risk ending up in the ravine. However, if the risk does pay off, you face a simple approach into the green and a great birdie chance.

These are just a few we picked of many great risk and reward holes. What is the best one that you have ever played? We would love to know. Feel free to comment below:

 

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