Northumberland Links Golf Nova Scotia

Strategy – Hole #14, Grim Reaper

By cultural definition ..A figure commonly used to represent death. The Grim Reaper is a skeleton or solemn-looking man carrying a scythe, who cuts off people’s lives as though he were harvesting grain.
So there you have it……this hole can slice and dice a good round like the aforementioned Reaper’s scythe.

Why so scary?

The tee shot demands accuracy. As you stand on the tee, you look slightly right and there’s water, left there is the ocean crashing against the shoreline, a smartly placed bunker and 3 large mounds covered in fescue. To suggest trouble is lurking is to describe Freddy Kruger as having sharp fingernails.

So let’s get to it. Aim left of center with whatever club you have confidence. If long enough to reach bunker or mounds on left, you’ll still live to hit another shot. Too far left or long left, and there is a penalty area running parallel to the Strait.

Second shot requires the player to place the ball somewhere left of the green looking down the fairway. Distance isn’t always rewarded as the fairway runs out and away into heavy rough.

The angle into this green is of the utmost importance. If you’re inside the 150-yard marker on the short stuff, you have the chance to hit the elevated green and hold it. It slopes from back to front. A shot long will put you on defense. Getting the ball close from back of green or longer will be a stringent test. Bunkers in front and one long….along with fescue mounds, protect the putting surface. A two putt here for any score on this hole will be a good two putt…..period.

Everyone faces the Grim Reaper. Be brave and try not to let it keep you up at night!!!

Strategy – Hole #10, Bold Reward

There are two strategies that, executed properly, can lead to a stress-free par or maybe a birdie.

The first, take a driver over the trees on this dogleg left with about a 240-yard carry if on correct line. This has the reward of a chip shot onto a sloped back to the front green. Sounds enticing! Thing is, it’s a blind landing area that has funny kicks. There’s the irrigation pond just left of the green and then if you’re a little right, it could run across the fairway through the rough and into trees.

The second is a 185 yard carry down the middle, avoiding the fairway bunker at the 210-yard range. This will put you just inside the 150-yard marker. A “member’s bounce” will go left and get closer. You’re left with an elevated second shot looking at the Northumberland Strait and a very receptive green.

So which one will you choose?

Strategy – Hole #9, Blind

Tee shot up and over a slight hill to a blind landing area. From the white tees nothing more than a 180-200 yard tee ball will put you in good shape. With normal Summer conditions, that should get you well inside the 150 yard marker.

Why not hit it further? Sure….you got this. Ripping one down inside the “Hundie” sounds delicious! A saucy wedge in and you’re feeling a 3 is possible.

However…….the flat fairway is guarded with some Spruce trees on the left and the pond sneaks in from the right. The Maple on the right and aforementioned firs are great goal posts.

The advantages of hitting your second shot from outside the 100 yard marker is spin. The front half of the green is rather sloped. A well struck lofted club from the tight lies of the short stuff will produce more spin than desired. A chipping you will go.

A larger green with a back tier. Very tempting indeed. Putting and chipping from the back like most greens here……daunting.

Middle is always good if hole location from that point is farther back. It will serve you well to be short of a front hole location. Much easier putt or chip!

Strategy – Northumberland Greens

So a lot of us just watched the US Open from Winged Foot Golf Club in New York. There was a lot of chatter about their famous greens. Often referred to as “green’s complex “. What does that even mean??

As a noun, “a group of similar buildings or facilities on the same site.” As an adjective, “consisting of many different and connected parts.”

To try and put that into context here at Northumberland Links, it’s the size and shapes that give the course the characteristics. How the green looks from the tee or fairway, how the ball gets accepted with approach shots and of course, how they putt.

There is no question as to how our members and guests view the Northumberlink Link green’s complexes.

FAST!!!!

True…..they are smooth and true. If you’re putting down hill or down wind…..it can be mind mushing. However, if you approach your round with the intention of playing the ball from certain parts of the greens or chipping, you’ll find it quite manageable.

After you finish your last piece of pumpkin pie and place your plate upside down on the table, you’ll get the gist of what you’re dealing with. Imagine the hole location on the plate bottom. It would be a lot less stressful if you can put the ball between the front edge of the plate and hole. Even chipping from short of the green, you’ll see that it’s a simpler strategy. You’ll always be going uphill and the full effects of a .120 or .115 cut height will be lessened.

The green can sound firm but will always accept a good shot. If you don’t have the club speed to spin it, how high you flight the ball with a steep descent angle will be effective as well. When you putt, the intention should be getting the correct speed. A great warm up could start with putting from one side of the practice green to the other.

With correct speed, it will be much easier to read the greens correctly. When greens are like they are now, the ball travels slowly because it’s struck with less force, therefore spends more time in the break …ergo breaks more.

To summarize…….
Play short or place the ball on the front of green short of pin high, use the appropriate club that will either spin the ball or create a descent angle that will stop it. Play more break and find the speed.

Sleeping with your putter the night before your round will not hurt either!!

Strategy – Hole #13, Lobster Pot

The play seemingly trite….hit the ball over the bunker onto the large green.

With the remnants of an old lobster boat framing the back of the green and a small, very well placed bunker in the front middle, “Lobster Pot” is Northumberland’s signature hole. It sits, awaiting the next errant shot, anticipating its own catch of the day.

Donald Ross could not have “turtle backed” the putting surface better. A shot just over the bunker will stop marvelously. However, when you have a superintendent that has the putting surface……well….perfect, the ball slowly trickles left off the green with the echoes of “uggghhhh” heard from adjoining holes!

Whether it’s the full shot from the tee or short pitch, the hole design requires the ball to get to the center of third of the green. No matter the hole location, from this position you stand a chance of making a putt.

On May and June mornings, one could almost reach out and touch the lobster boats offshore as crews scour the Strait for our favorite crustaceans. Just breathe in the salty air and allow your mind to wander. Inconsequential of the score card.