Posts Tagged ‘Jimmy Clay’

Donnie’s Friday Focus: Jimmy Clay back-nine


Last Friday I focused on how to maneuver your way around the front-nine at Jimmy Clay. This week, we’ll continue our navigation through the back-nine to complete your successful round.

#10 par 5 495 yds.
This par 5 is not very long, but it’s going to be a three-shot hole because of how the green is positioned (more on that in a minute). Therefore, anything in the fairway off the tee will do. There is a small pond on the left of the fairway, but don’t go too far right or you’ll end up O.B. in the driving range. No matter how hard you hit your drive, it’s still very difficult to reach the green in two. The green is extremely elevated, not very large and rolls sharply off the front and back all the way down the hill. You’re going to be hitting a long iron or fairway wood on your second shot. If you think you can get it elevated, with a high enough trajectory to be able to stop it on a small green, more power to you. I know I can’t. So I take a mid-iron and place my second shot at the bottom of the hill, leaving me a wedge up to the green. The putting surface slopes from back to front, so it’s best to be on the front of the green putting uphill. Just make sure you get it on, don’t flirt with leaving it short and rolling all the way down the hill.

#11 par 4 411 yds.
This is a fun driving hole because if you hit it far enough, you’ll catch top of the hill and roll for a while. It’s always fun to tell people you hit a 300+ yd. drive, even if you did get a little help from a hill. There are thick woods marked by white O.B. stakes on your right so stay center or left unless you want to be hitting your third shot from the tee-box. Your approach is fairly easy. It’s downhill, to a flat green that slopes from back-left to front-right with no real run offs. The only threats around the green are two front bunkers, but neither one is deep and both are easy to get out of.

Sharp run-offs cause a lot of problems around the green on the long, par 3 12th.

#12 par 3 185 yds.
I find this to be the most difficult of the four par 3’s a Jimmy Clay. It’s the longest, 185 yds. from the blues, and is well guarded for a hole with no bunkers. Deep woods guard the right hand side of the hole and the green rolls of the right sharply down the hill and into the thick trees. If you leave you tee-shot short, the green slopes from back to front and also runs off the front of the surface. If you’re near the fringe, your ball will roll all the way down the hill. If you go long, make sure you don’t go left and long because there is a small pond that will come into play. Basically, you’ll find that any tee-shot, other than on the green, will be a rather unpleasant place to try and get up-and-down for par.

#13 par 4 376 yds.
This hole is all uphill. It’s not terribly long in terms of yardage, only 376 yds., but it can feel like a par 5, especially if you’re hitting into the wind. There’s no real trouble off the tee. Get as much distance with your drive as you can. Your approach is uphill to an elevated green guarded by two bunkers and features a sharp run-off the front-left of the putting surface. I always get my distance and grab one club higher than what I would normally hit to make sure I get it up there. Once you get there, you’re probably going to be in the middle or back of the green putting downhill or across the green with a quick right to left break. I’ve had a lot of three putts on this green from being too aggressive and rolling all the way to the front of the green. Be firm, but be careful.

#14 par 3 174 yds.
This par 3 is almost as long as #12, but the surrounding area around the green is flat. Meaning you won’t be punished as much for a miss-hit as you were on #12. There are trees on the left and right of the green, but nothing too thick where you can’t find your ball. The green itself is narrow and two-tiered, sloping from back-right to front-left. The two front bunkers are not deep and because the green slopes toward the front, bunker shots to the middle of the green are easy to stop. The only place you really don’t want to be is in the trees on the left. You’ll have to clear the front-left bunker, but you’ll have no room to land it because of the narrow green. Go too far and you’ll find yourself in the other bunker.

#15 par 4 358 yds.
This is one of those holes where players who can hit a draw will be at a definite advantage. The hole isn’t an extreme dogleg, but if you can cut the corner around the trees, you’ll have a wedge left into the green which is important on this hole. The green slopes off three sides, front-left, back-left and back-right. If you didn’t hit a draw and are on the right hand side of the fairway, not only will you not have a wedge in your hand, but you’ll also have to clear a front bunker and stop your ball on the green before it reaches one of those run offs. Don’t get frustrated on this hole. Play smart around the green and take your par. You can get your birdie on #16.

#16 can be a turing point in your match if you play it the right way while it frustrates your opponents.

#16 par 5 526 yds.
If you’re trailing your buddy with three holes to go, this is where you can make up some serious ground. I play this as a three-shot hole, so your drive doesn’t have to be perfect. Just hit it firm. The green is tucked in between a back-right bunker and a front-left pond. The surface is small, and slopes sharply down into the pond. I don’t recommend going for this green in two, but you should encourage your buddy who’s in the lead to try it. Take a mid-iron and place your ball by the cart signs in the fairway leaving yourself 100 yds. into the green. No matter where the pin is, land your third shot on the front-right of the green. Your birdie putt will break right to left but trust me, it’s better than being in the bunker or on the back putting downhill toward the water. This is an easy birdie hole if you play it smart. Let the others pound their chests while they bomb their drive and go for the green in two. You’ll get the last laugh when they miss the green and have difficulties stopping the ball on the surface with their third shot.

#17 par 4 399 yds.
The drive is wide open on this hole so just give it a rip. The problem lies in the area around the green. The green is guarded by two front bunkers and rolls of the front of the putting surface. You’ll want to clear those obstacles, but don’t go too long. The back and back-right of the green roll off all the way down a hill. If you’re down there, you’ll face an almost impossible chip back up because of the green’s slope from back to front. If you’re not on the green, the bunkers aren’t a terrible place to be. It’s a lot easier to get up and down from the bunker than it is if you fly the green and have to pitch back up to it.

You'll need two perfect shots to be on the 18th green putting for birdie.

#18 par 4 420 yds.
In my opinion, this is the hardest hole on the course. You have a very narrow landing area in between trees that line the left and right of the fairway. A small pond on your left comes into play if you hit driver and if you spray your ball right into the woods, you’ll have absolutely no chance of reaching the green in two. Grab a fairway wood, or any other long club you know you can keep straight, and aim to land your drive in the middle of the fairway where the tree lines come together. If you did that, you’re still not home free. Your approach shot is long to a Y-shaped, elevated green that drops off all sides, especially the front-left that rolls into the water. You don’t want to flirt with the water or the front-right bunker so long is better than short. The green does run off the back, but it’s better to be dry than wet or in the sand on this hole. Par is an excellent score on this hole. Birdie is something to celebrate.

Next week: Donnie’s final focus on Lions Municipal G.C.

Donnie’s Friday Focus: Jimmy Clay front-nine

The Jimmy Clay/Roy Kizer golf complex is far and away my favorite place for public golf in Austin. All in one place you have two 18-hole courses, two putting greens, a driving range with lights for night practice and a short/practice course consisting of four par 3’s and its own separate putting green and practice bunker.

The two courses are both moderately priced, Jimmy Clay features a more American country club style with narrow, tree-lined fairways and Roy Kizer is a wide open links-style course and a bit more expensive. If you don’t have time for an entire round, it’s only $5 to practice on the short course and you can play it and use the putting green and practice bunker as much as you like. Great deal.

Today I’m going to focus on Jimmy Clay because I find the layout more challenging due to the doglegged, tree-line fairways. I have no problem with links-style golf, I just find Jimmy Clay is a bit more difficult to navigate if you’re new to the course due to the abundance of trees.

#1 par 4 385 yds.
The first hole is a sharp dogleg left with water all along the left side. You may occasionally see golfers intentionally hit the ball over the water and on to the ninth fairway to get a better, closer angle to the green. Even if you don’t feel it’s your place to correct them, notice that there are white stakes along the outside of the water hazard indicating that playing that route is illegal, out-of-bounds, and the golfer should be taking a stroke and hitting his third shot from the tee-box. Your approach shot must be straight because the water still lurks on the left and thick trees pose trouble on your right. The green slopes back to front and features two bunkers, one on the left and one on the right. Finding yourself in these bunkers isn’t terrible. It’s better than being in the water or punching out of the trees.

#2 par 3 134 yds.
This is short par three into an hourglass green that gets pretty narrow around the neck. The surface itself is fairly flat but does roll of the back of the green down the hill. It’s much better to be short, below the hole than to be long or in either bunker guarding the front-right and back-left of the green. Club selection is key on this hole. Get a good feel for what the wind is doing before you tee-off.

From the blue tees, #3 might be the most difficult driving hole of all the public courses in Austin.

#3 par 4 361 yds.
From the blue tees, this might be the most difficult driving hole of all the public courses in Austin. The narrow fairway doglegs sharply to the right and both sides are heavily guarded by thick trees. If you push your drive right, blast it. There is a clearing in the trees. You have to hit it pretty far to get there but trust me it’s there and you’ll have an open shot to the green. Whatever you do, don’t go left. The fairway itself slopes from right to left toward the trees and there’s a steep run-off along the tree-line that will cause your ball to roll down into the creek. The green itself is turtlebacked and not terribly difficult to put on. Getting started off the tee is the problem.

#4 par 5 540 yds.
From the tee it looks like you don’t have much room on your drive. The truth is, there’s plenty of room on your right once you get past the immediate trees right in front of you. Don’t go left. The trees are too think and you won’t be able to find your ball. Aim toward the pair of bunkers on top of the hill and hit a slight draw if you have one. From there it’s a straight shot, or two depending on how aggressive you are, to an elevated green that runs off the back. The surface is two-tiered and is guarded by two front bunkers. Whatever tier the pin is on that day is where you want to be.

#5 par 3 98 yds.
A 98 yd. par 3 with no bunkers or water should be a walk in the park, but for some reason this hole drives me crazy. It’s all about distance and wind. The green itself is narrow from front to back and runs off if you’re short or long. You’re definitely going to have a wedge of some sort in your hand for this shot, but which wedge to chose is always my problem. Study the wind, trust your distances, decide on a club and strike it clean. If you land on the green, putting is cake on this hole. If you go long and find yourself at the bottom of the hill, you’re not alone. I’ve been there plenty. Just be careful on your chip back up to the green. The last thing you want is to go long and run off the front of the green and be in the same position you are now, from the other side.

It sure looks pretty, but the island green on #6 can play tricks with your mind.

#6 par 4 291 yds.
If you’ve never played here before, you can’t see the green or the water from the tee-box. Just know that they are definitely in reach. Oh yeah and by the way, the green is an island. Keep the driver in your bag, grab a long iron and hit a straight shot. From there you’ll be left with a 100 yd. wedge into the island. If you go left off the tee, you’ll lose your ball in the woods. If you go right, you’ll be able to find your ball, but will have no shot at reaching the island green in two. So here you are, 100 yds. away from the green with a wedge in your hand. Under any other circumstances you can hit this green 10-out-of-10 times. There’s just something about island greens that cause you to doubt yourself. Fight through it. Trust your swing. If you’re undecided when you address the ball, step back and go through your routine again. Forget about where the pin is and aim for the middle of the green. Bragging rights for the rest of the round are yours for the taking.

#7 par 5 468 yds.
Number 7 is a short par 5 in terms of distance, only 468 yds. long, but it’s all uphill. No real hazard threats on this hole, just put together two or three good, solid shots and work your way up the hill. The green is elevated, guarded by two bunkers and has a ridge that runs through the middle of the surface. The green drops off back-right and off the front so landing in a bunker on your second or third shot is actually better than catching the run-off and rolling all the way down the hill. Don’t be tempted by a flagstick that’s tucked near one of those runoffs. Aim for the middle of the green and give yourself an opportunity at birdie or par.

Walking away with par on #8 is just as good as making birdie on other holes.

#8 par 4 425 yds.
This par 4 is long, doglegs hard the left and is extremely narrow. Off the tee, you have to be either straight of slightly off to the right. If you go left, you’ll have absolutely no chance of reaching the green in two. Your approach shot demands precision because of the thick trees on the left and right of the fairway. There are two bunkers on the front-left and front-right that you must clear but don’t hit it too far, because the green runs off the back and right down the hill. I’m not going to lie, this is a difficult hole. Walking away with par is a great victory.

#9 par 4 386 yds.
You’ll see people take a lot of different angles off the tee on #9. The safest route is just to the left of the cart-path with a slight fade back to the right. A lot of players will aim to blast it over the two trees right in front of you, but be careful about going that route. There is a wooden fence just to the right of the trees that is out of bounds. If you push the ball even a little to the right, you’ll be O.B. and teeing off again on with your third shot. The green itself is elevated and guarded by a deep bunker that stretches across the front of the green. Once I get my distance, I always use one club higher than what I would normally hit because of the green’s elevation. From a perception standpoint, it’s misleading because it looks a lot closer than it really is. The surface slopes from back to front and rolls of the left and right of the green. You want to be on the front, putting uphill rather than on the back putting down, but make sure you don’t leave your approach too short. That bunker is deep and can be extremely unpleasant.

Next Friday: back-nine at Jimmy Clay G.C.

Donnie’s Friday Focus: Morris Williams back-nine

Last Friday, I focused on how to maneuver through the front-nine at Morris Williams G.C. Today we’ll take a look at the back-nine and I’ll tell you the places to want to be, and places you want to avoid on your way to a successful round.

#10 Tee

#10: par 4 406 yds.
There’s no tricks on this drive. You have to hit a straight ball of the tee. The fairway is fairly wide, but you have trees and water on either side so keep your drive as straight as you can. The rest of the hole is extremely open and easy.

#10 Green

There’s a lot of room around the green and no bunkers. If you pull your uphill approach far left, the street may come into play but you would have to be way off target to reach it. The green is flat and easy to putt. If you avoided trouble off the tee, this hole is yours for the taking.

#11 Tee

#11: par 5 486 yds.
In my opinion, this is the most difficult hole on the golf course. That doesn’t mean you can’t score well, it just means you’ll have to earn it. The tee-shot is partially blind because the hole drops significantly down the hill and doglegs right. Aim toward the double power lines in the distance and let it rip if you want a chance to make it over the creek in two.

#11 Green

Even if you decide to lay-up on your second shot, the lay-up is difficult because there’s not a lot of room in between the bottom of the hill and the water. Be careful with your distance. The green is all the way back up the hill and guarded by two front bunkers that are deep. The green itself slopes from back-left to front-right. If you make birdie you should be proud, but even walking away with par on this hole is as good as a birdie on others.

#12 Tee

#12: par 3 196 yds.
Another scenic par 3, #12 is on the side of a hill that rolls sharply toward the woods. You must clear the creek and avoid the woods on the right.

#12 Green

However, even if your tee-shot is left of the green and safe from the hazards, you’ll still have a nasty chip or pitch shot on a fast J-shaped green that rolls hard right down the hill and toward the trees. Trust your swing and do your best to land the ball on the surface.

#13 Tee

#13: par 4 337 yds.
This hole is where course experience pays off. What I’m about to tell you sounds crazy but take my advice and watch everyone else lose their balls. Aim for the trees straight in front of you. They are situated on a mound that will naturally kick your ball right to a narrow fairway at the bottom of the mound and you’ll be left with a 100 yd. shot into the green.

#13 Green

If you try to squeeze your way with a draw into the fairway, you’ll either end up in the woods on the right, hitting it past the narrow fairway and into the woods or pulling it left behind the trees with no chance of reaching the green. Aim toward the mound and roll the dice. The green is guarded by water on the front-left and deep woods guard the right and back. Hit a high draw and bail-out long and left if necessary.

#14 Tee

#14: par 3 175 yds.
There’s not a lot of danger on this par three. The water is literally right in front of you and posses no threat barring a complete duff off the tee.

#14 Green

The path to the green is straight and uphill and the surface itself is flat with no bunkers and plenty of room around the edges. This is a simple hole. Take advantage.

#15 Tee

#15: par 4 376 yds.
This hole doglegs right and downhill. Aim for the cart path off the tee and hit a high fade allowing your ball to roll down to the bottom of the hill.

#15 Green

From there, you’ll have a 100 yd. uphill shot the green. This green is unguarded but slightly two-tiered. The low-point of the green is on the front-right. Depending on pin position, try to stay below the hole giving yourself an uphill put to the pin.

#16 Tee

#16: par 4 409 yds.
If you have a draw in your swing repertoire, this is the time to showcase it. This hole doglegs very sharply to the left and you’re faced with trees on the left and right off the tee.

#16 Green

The fairway slopes from left to right so if you can’t draw the ball, aim toward the left of the fairway because the slope is going to inevitably bring your ball to the right. Your approach is slightly uphill to another unguarded green. The surface funnels toward the middle from the front and back. If you avoid trouble off the tee, the rest of the hole should be a breeze.

#17 Tee

#17: par 5 503 yds.
This is another partially blind tee-shot that rolls to the bottom of a hill. Aim just left of the big tree and remember a miss left is better than a miss right. The trees are much more dense on the right.

#17 Green

Your second shot is completely blind back up the hill toward the green. Once you get up there, the narrow green is turtle-backed with sand on the left. Judge your distance carefully when approaching this green to avoid rolling off the sides if you miss the surface.

#18 Tee

#18: par 4 415 yds.
You’ve made it to the 18th tee and you’re rewarded with the widest fairway on the course. The fairway slopes from left to right but there’s plenty of room on both sides for you to grab your driver one last time and send him off on a glorious note.

#18 Green

The green is fairly narrow so don’t get caught in the bunker on the left. You wont have very much green to work with at all and the surface rolls off the right making it very difficult to stop your bunker shot on the green. It’s better to be short or long with your approach to the 18th and final green.

Next Friday: front-nine at Jimmy Clay G.C.