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Archive for July, 2015

Hole 17: “Hell’s Half Acre” Par 3; plays 173 to 54 yards

By: Brian Rhodes on July 29th, 2015

#17 golf hole at Purgatory Golf

 

Hell’s Half Acre is probably the most visually interesting or dramatic hole on the course. This hole is an island green, par 3 surrounded by a sea of sand. The 8 bunkers total just over a half acre of sand. This was one of the first hole that was designed, it naturally fit into the topography and very little ground was moved during construction on #17.

 

The hole is designed to where the longer distance tee boxes have a more difficult angle of approach. The forward tee boxes have a more receptive and inviting angle to the green. The green is slightly elevated and appears much smaller than actual. Hell’s Half Acre has a very large green with the total depth being 37 paces. Depending on the hole position, this could mean up to a 3 club difference in selection for most players.

 

There is an on-going debate as to whether this or #13 is our signature hole.

 

Hole #16: “Blinding Cloud of Smoke” Par 4, plays 474 to 293 yards

By: Brian Rhodes on July 24th, 2015

#16 golf hole at Purgatory Golf Club

Blinding Cloud of Smoke is one of the most intimidating tee shots on the golf course. The hole is framed on both sides of the fairway by bunkers. There is a total of 10 fairway bunkers on this hole. If you play the either of the back two tee boxes the aiming line is over the right edge of first bunker on the left, just before the fairway starts. From either of those tees boxes the fairway is mostly hidden which raises the player’s anxiety over the tee shot. The fairway widens out in a couple of areas, making club choice off of the critical and leaving the player several options to attack the hole. The approach shot is uphill to a kidney-shaped angled green, with bunkers surrounding most of the green.

 

 

The interesting thing about this hole is as intimidating as it looks from the tee to the green, upon the completion of the hole, turn around and look back toward the tee, the bunkers magically disappear, just like smoke. Now it looks like the easiest hole on the course. While we wish we could take credit for this unique design feature we actually honored Alister MacKenzie, who was the first architect to implement this into a course design.

Hole 13: “Everlasting Torment” Par 5; plays 741 to 357 yards

By: Brian Rhodes on July 15th, 2015
Hole #13 Everlasting Torment

Hole #13 Everlasting Torment

The Thirteenth hole is named Everlasting Torment since it is the longest hole on the course at 741 yards from the red tees.  The prevailing summer wind is usually at your back so the hole plays downwind.  Most people want to make the hole as short as they can and aim too far right and that brings into play bunkers or the rough.  The aiming point off the tee is the bunker on the left hand side at the very corner of the dogleg.  The aiming point bunker is not reachable on the tee shot.  The second shot should also be aimed at one of the bunkers on the left, either one or two bunkers farther up from the tee shot.  That leaves you the best angle with your approach shot and the green is most receptive from that position.  The green slopes to the left, so the approach shot should be slightly to the right of the pin.

 

The green is one of the most interesting on the course.  The tournament “Sunday” position is back right.  That position brings in a very deep swale on the left of the green, which very often brings 3 putts into play.  If your ball is right of the pin, you are left with a very fast downhill putt.

 

Everlasting Torment was not originally designed to be 741 yards.  During construction, the owner Mike Merchent was standing behind where the original red tees were to get a better sight angle and said “This would be a great place for a tee.”  The next day when he arrived on property a tee was constructed on that spot, be careful what you wish for, you might get it.

Hole 11: “Eden” Par 4; plays 406 to 251 yards

By: Brian Rhodes on July 7th, 2015

#11 golf hole at Purgatory Golf

 

Eden is a subtle hole, similar to number one on the front, not very long, with a generous fairway.  A barn used to reside in the landing area.  The mailbox post is still located in the left rough.  The barn had a watering hole for the cattle that was surrounded by rocks.  We took the rocks and repurposed them into a rock wall protecting the green.  The rock wall was designed to frame the green, not to penalize poor shots.

 

There is a hump on the left side of the fairway that is the aiming point for tee shots.  The three bunkers on the right side of the fairway can come into play if the wrong aiming line is chosen, or the tee shot is poorly executed.

 

We paid tribute to Bill Diddle on the green by installing one of his famous design traits “Diddle Bumps.”    The green complex doesn’t appear to be overly difficult, but if you have some little bumps in the right places it can really add to the difficulty of the hole.  We have a “Diddle Bump” in front of the green that actually blends into the green complex.  This can really have a determining effect on the shot that you hit into the hole. It’s a very subtle bump out there, but it really impacts the play of that green.

 

If you play golf in the Midwest, Michigan, Indiana, Illinois, you’ll come across a lot of Bill Diddle designed golf courses where he used these bumps to add a degree of difficulty on what appears to be an easy hole.  Bill is one of the five founding members of the American Society of Golf Course Architects.  He was born and raised right here in Carmel, IN.  Our architect, Ron Kern, is a direct descendent of the Diddle design tree.