Go low: How to score well at Orlando's Bay Hill Club & Lodge
ORLANDO, Fla. -- After a renovation in summer 2009, the Championship course at Bay Hill Club & Lodge is more visually intimidating than ever. But if you can look past the more exposed bunkers and famous jagged rocks that protect many of the greens, you can still shoot a good score. Here's a look at how to attack each hole:
No. 1 -- With OB left and bunkers right, your first swing of the day is an important one. Favor the right side with your tee shot to set up a straightforward approach.
No. 2 -- At one of the finest par 3s in Orlando, favor the right side of the green no matter where the pin is. Even shots too far right have a chance of feeding back onto the green, while anything even slightly left leaves you with a tough up-and-in.
No. 3 -- Accuracy off the tee is important here, but if you can manage a good tee shot you'll have a mid or short iron in your hands. Aim away from the water and your golf ball will thank you.
No. 4 -- A wide landing area off the tee means you can let it rip at this par 5 -- just favor the left to avoid a meandering creek along the right. A big bunker 100 yards short of the green will make you think about your layup, but if you place it properly you're left with a simple short iron into an elevated green. Big hitters should avoid the temptation to go for this green in two as the risk outweighs the reward.
No. 5 -- There are two options at this short par 4: Go for it, or lay back. If you choose the latter you'll still only have a mid to short iron into the green. Those who choose to go for it should favor the left side. Birdie can be had with either tactic.
No. 6 -- As it doglegs around a large lake, Bay Hill's signature hole asks you to bite off as much as you can chew. There's little consequence to bailing out right -- certainly less-so than missing left. If you can block out the intimidation of the water and hit two good shots you're left with a short iron into the green.
No. 7 -- It's the easiest par 3 at Bay Hill Club & Lodge, but keep your ball below the hole if you want a good chance to make birdie.
No. 8 -- The fairway landing area is wide, but the approach shot demands your full attention. Favor the right side of the green to avoid the lake left. Long is better than short here.
No. 9 -- At this, the longest par 4 at Bay Hill Club & Lodge, you'll need a solid drive down the right side to even have a chance of getting home in two. Two great shots and two good putts will give you a solid end to your outward nine.
The back nine at Bay Hill Club & Lodge
No. 10 -- From the toughest par 4 to one of the easiest, big hitters can cut the corner and have a wedge into the green. Though the green is elevated it's one of the flattest on the golf course.
No. 11 -- Looks and plays similar to No. 3. A good tee shot is important to avoid water left and bunkers right. Play to the center of the green and get out of here with par.
No. 12 -- The longest hole at Bay Hill lets you smash driver, but favor the left side. Once again, a layup is recommended, as the neck into the green is narrow and littered with bunkers. Long of the green is better than short.
No. 13 -- The shortest par 4 at Bay Hill Club & Lodge can also be the most disastrous because of a lake fronting the green. A 3-wood or hybrid off the tee is your best bet. Consider the wind and swing confidently on your approach shot to ensure carrying the lake.
No. 14 -- What used to be the most undulating green on the golf course has been flattened. The proper miss is right, because a closely mown chipping area is easier to play from than the bunker-protected left side.
No. 15 -- A solid tee shot is a must at this tough par 4. While a shot down the left side takes the fairway bunker out of play, it could also leave you with an approach of 200 yards-plus. Challenging the dogleg brings the OB right into play. Two solid shots and two good putts and you're out of here with a solid par.
No. 16 -- Though it's the shortest par 5 at Bay Hill Club & Lodge, long hitters must hit the fairway to have any chance of going for the green in two. The smart play is to lay your second shot up short of the water fronting the green. No matter where the pin is you'll want to aim for the center of the green to take the water and bunkers out of play.
No. 17 -- It may be the shortest hole on the golf course, but the lake short of the green is impossible to ignore. Commit to your club selection and aim for the center of the green. A two-putt par is well earned.
No. 18 -- Depending which tees you're playing and how far you normally hit it, you may not want to use driver here. A tee shot down the left side of the fairway will give you the best angle into the green, but no matter how well you place it, an approach shot over water is guaranteed. Two great shots are required at this finishing hole -- the true mark of a PGA Tour-caliber golf course.
February 19, 2010