What was the hole and why is it so memorable?
There's an older Donald Ross design in Ohio, near Tiffin, called Mohawk Golf Club. There is a par 3 that's only 125 to 165 yards, but it sits on the side of a crown of a short hill. There is a ravine between tee and green, there's a long, narrow bunker at the rear of the green, so should you over club you are faced with a significant downhill bunker shot with little chance of staying on green — and actually could end up in the ravine. I've birdied it, parred it, bogeyed it, doubled it and, dare say, dreaded tripled it. To me it remains in my mind forever as a great short hole that can giveth or taketh away.
The Villages, Fla.
The 16th at Port Royal Golf Course in Bermuda. You can play whatever tee works for you, but the shot essentially stays the same. You are forced to hit over the ocean and rely on the wind to be your friend and bring the ball back to the green. A bailout out shot to the right only goes farther right and makes your recovery problematic. You can't avoid the beautiful view and surroundings no matter how much you concentrate on the shot.
Cos Cob, Conn.
The best part three I ever played was the 14th hole at Tobacco Road Golf Club in Sanford, N.C., near Pinehurst. It can play anywhere from a wedge to a 4-iron. It has a very narrow green with water right and water left, and a beautiful view of the cabin. I’m a PGA member and played almost 500 courses now and that’s the best one I’ve seen.
The best par 3 I’ve ever played is Pine Valley [N.J.] Golf Club’s fifth hole. Nothing else I’ve played is even close. Uphill, tee shot over water, over 200 yards long, bunkers all along the left side of the green and a big, big drop down a hill into trees on the right. It is the toughest par 3 I’ve ever played. I made a lucky par in 1967 and never made another.
Lou Body IV
St. Helena Island, SC
Had to be the 16th at Carnoustie. Into a wind, uphill, long, with a narrow green. In a wonderful venue … has to be the best.
Actually back-to-back par 3s. Nos. 15 and 16 at Cypress Point Club [Del Monte Forest, Calif.] played with my dad.
The third hole at Lake Shore County Club in Erie, Pa. Hole angles left to right, 195 yards from the back tees over a pond, steep drop off to the right into a creek, with short out of bounds to the left. Anything to right bounces down the gully into the creek; anything full distance to the left of goes OB. Narrow green angled short left to long right. Bail-out shots, which many opt for, are 1-2 clubs short left — pitching uphill to green — one club short left into the lone sand trap, or over the green long into mounds. Hook it and you are OB. When the cup is cut back right, it's a crazy tough-looking shot.
Double bogey is acceptable even for single-digit handicappers, bogey 4 is a pleasure, par is like birdie and sets you in the right frame of mind for when you "cross the highway" to the remaining holes.
See responses to the Oct. 2 question: Where is your ideal fall golf destination?