The Course at Woodstock Golf Club
The course is short but challenging, measuring 5,546 yards from the white and blue (men's) tees and 5,004 from the red (women's) tees. Long, deep rough; rock walls; and bodies of water more than compensate for the modest length. The nine-hole layout is typically played twice, with the placement of tee boxes varying from a little to a lot between the front and back nines. For men the course rating is 67.9 and the slope rating 124; for women the respective ratings are 70.4 and 124. Following is a hole-by-hole tour of the course by the club's head golf professional, ....
No. 1, "On Your Way": 300 yards, par 4, handicap 13
The starting hole at WGC is a relatively short par 4 that puts a premium on accuracy and proper club selection and sets the tone for the rest of the course. On the tee the player should select a club that will produce a shot of 190 to 210 yards. The ideal target is the left-center part of the fairway. A good tee shot will leave a middle-to-short-iron approach to an elevated green; as a result of the elevation, the shot generally plays from a half to a full club longer than the actual distance. A front pin can be problematic, and a shot missed long or left of the green can bring significant trouble into play. The general slope of the green is from back right to front left. When the hole is cut in the front, putts from the middle or back of the green tend to be very quick, requiring the player to take careful note of speed. A play to the middle of the green generally leaves a makeable putt and thus a nice opportunity to begin the round with a birdie.
No. 10, "Halfway Home": 289 yards, par 4, handicap 16
This hole plays one to two clubs shorter the second time around. The bunker to the right of the green is to be avoided, while an approach shot just short of the green leaves a makeable chip. The hole offers a good chance to begin the back nine with a birdie.
No. 2, "No Time to Relax": 366 yards, par 4, handicap 1
This medium-length par 4 offers a stern test from tee to green. It demands an accurate tee shot of no more than 230 yards, in order to avoid a creek that crosses the entire fairway. Favoring the right side of the fairway is an easier shot off the tee, as trees line the left side, but the creek is closer on the right side and is brought into play by a tee shot that carries too far. A drive to the right side of the fairway leaves a challenging, medium-to-long-iron shot from an uneven lie, with the ball above the feet of a right-handed player. A tee shot that finds the left side of the fairway rewards the player with a level lie and a less difficult approach to an elevated, two-tiered green that is narrow, deep, and bunkered on three sides. Because putting uphill is easier than putting downhill, the cautious golfer will play to the front of the green even when the hole is cut on the upper tier. The area in front also offers the best chance to get up and down for par, regardless of where the pin is located. The surface of the green on both tiers is relatively flat. The putting surface generally slopes from back right to front left. If your ball winds up on the wrong tier in relation to the hole location, the putt will be an adventure. Par is always a good score on this hole.
No. 11, "Decisions, Decisions": 315 yards, par 4 handicap 6
From the tee players must decide whether to carry the creek by flying the ball 200 or more yards in the air, leaving a very short shot into the green, or to lay up and face a mid-to-long iron into a small, well-guarded target. This is a true thinking player's hole, which can be played more than one way. Par is a good score here.
No. 3, "Looks Easy": 357 yards, par 4, handicap 7
This deceptively difficult short par 4 demands a well-placed drive to avoid rough and trees that will complicate any approach to the green attempted from outside the fairway landing area on either side. A good tee shot will leave a short-to-medium-length approach to a green that slopes significantly from back right to front left. Coming into this green from the left side of the fairway allows the player to use the slope to his or her advantage in stopping the ball. An approach that finishes short and left leaves the easiest up-and-down opportunity, while any ball hit right or long is likely to wind up out of bounds or in jail. Few putts conceded on this green, which requires accurate control of both speed and line from any distance.
No. 12, "Two Trees": 340 yards, par 4, handicap 14
The hole takes its nickname from trees that are positioned strategically in the rough on either side of the fairway roughly 100 yards from the green, emphasizing the importance of an accurate drive. A tee shot that finds the fairway makes the player's task somewhat easier. Like the 10th hole, this one plays a club or two shorter than its counterpart on the front nine. The challenging green always commands respect.
No. 4, "Show Your Mettle": 147 yards, par 3, handicap 15
A truly exceptional par 3, this hole plays downhill and over a pond. A well-struck tee shot is required to carry the water and find the tiny green. Don't be lulled to sleep by the tranquil setting; with the Sawkill Creek behind the green, a bunker protecting the left side, long rough on the right, and the pond in front, there is no good place to bail out. The green is generally flat, with a gentle slope from back to front. A small ridge dividing the back of the green into left and right sections imparts subtle movement to any putt toward a hole location in that half of the green. Meanwhile, shots to the front can easily fall back off of the putting surface. Anything coming to rest on this green is a good shot. If the wind is blowing, as it often is, hitting the green from the tee can be extremely difficult. Bogey is an acceptable score, par is excellent, and birdies are a cause for celebration.
No. 13, "Stretch It Out": 177 yards, par 3, handicap 2
This hole, which can play as long as 185 yards, is one of the best par 3s in the region. With a pond occupying most of the territory between tee and green, the hole requires a solidly struck shot, with no room for error. This is a pivotal hole in every round of golf because of the wide range of scores that are possible. A tee shot that finds the center of the green leaves a makeable birdie putt to any hole location.
No. 5, "Take a Chance": 444 yards, par 5, handicap 11
An enticing risk-reward opportunity awaits many players on this short par 5. A good drive of 250 yards leaves an approach of less than 200 yards, over water, to a green that is surrounded by bunkers. The rear bunker on the right side should be avoided, as it requires a skillful play to find the green and great touch to get up-and-down. A high shot that settles quickly is preferable, in order to avoid all the trouble around this green. If you choose to lay up on your second shot, take care to avoid the water at the end of the fairway and the bunker that lies about 100 yards from the green, off the right side of the fairway. From inside 100 yards up to the edge of the water hazard, which begins about 65 yards from the green, the ground slopes from right to left, which often complicates the execution of an accurate approach shot. Lies tend to be more level from between 120 and 200 yards out. The putting surface can be quite speedy in the front half of this green, while putts to back hole locations tend to break more than expected. This hole offers an excellent opportunity for birdie and often provides stronger players with a putt for eagle.
No. 14, "Risk/Reward": 449 yards, par 5, handicap 12
The tee box on this hole is usually set 20 to 30 yards in front of the no. 5 tee, creating a very short par 5 that offers the longer hitter an opportunity to make up ground. The hole demands two well-played shots, however, if the player is to avoid potential disaster from a failed attempt at carrying the pond in front of the green. The putting surface is one of the flattest on the course, so most players will fare better taking the traditional, three-shot approach for a good chance at a birdie.
No. 6, "The View": 346 yards, par 4, handicap 5
Our signature par 4 offers an awe-inspiring view of Overlook Mountain that can distract anyone from the task at hand. A well-placed drive down the left center of the fairway avoids the long rough left and thick trees lurking on the right, leaving a mid-to-short-iron approach to a large, well-protected green with numerous subtle breaks. Shots played from the rough on either side of this fairway are difficult to control. The bunkers in front leave a longish sand shot that is tricky to judge. The left greenside bunker is deep, with the putting surface sloping away from it. To the right of the green lies a deep grass bunker. The ground behind the green drops off sharply, leaving a delicate pitch back to the hole. Although the overall slope of this green is from left to right, every hole location can prove challenging. Par is a good score here; birdies are rare.
No. 15, "Northeast to Overlook": 335 yards, par 4, handicap 10
Playing one to two clubs shorter the second time around, this hole requires a well-placed tee shot down the left side of the fairway, which will avoid the stand of pine trees on the right side and leave an open approach to the green. A very spacious putting surface, with a left-to-right slope and subtle breaks, makes club selection on the approach shot critical if the player hopes to emerge with a birdie.
No. 7, "Just Around the Corner": 335 yards, par 4, handicap 3
The tee shot on this dogleg-left par 4 requires the player to demonstrate exceptionally precise control of ball flight and distance in order to find the fairway. Trees on both sides squeeze the landing area into a very small target. Players who try to overpower this hole will most likely find trouble in the form of long rough, dense trees, or a lateral water hazard that lines the right side of the approach. An accurate tee shot of 180 to 220 yards yields a clear view of the small, elevated putting green 100 to 150 yards away. The green is challenging to hit, difficult to hold, and treacherous to putt. On all sides the putting surface slopes away from the center, while a ridge divides the surface and makes reading the green a tough assignment. Surrounded by bunkers, steep slopes, and that lateral water hazard, the green offers few chances to get up and down. This hole looms as a potential turning point in any round or match. Par is a very good score, with an unwelcome big number a constant possibility.
No. 16, "The Slot": 330 yards, par 4, handicap 4
A slight right to left ball flight off of the tee can create a real advantage for the approach into this diabolical green complex. The absence of any room for error on this hole establishes it as one of the toughest on the course. Reading this green correctly can make up for an earlier mistake.
No. 8, "The Ledge": 275 yards, par 4, handicap 17
This picturesque hole rewards both strategy and power. At around 225 yards off the tee, rock outcroppings divide the lower, beginning portion of the hole from the last 50 yards, tempting the longer hitter to carry the rocks and drive the green. To do so, the player must risk a lost ball or various types of interference from the rock ledge. Although an aggressive tee shot may be rewarded with a putt for eagle, the conservative choice of an iron off the tee and short shot into the green often results in a better score. The change in elevation from the lower to the upper fairway forces a blind approach into the smallish green and makes club selection critical when taking the conservative route. Caution is the byword on the back-to-front-sloping green. The front half falls off sharply, and a careless play from the back half may by punished the ball's running off the surface and onto the fringe, leaving an unexpected chip. This hole offers a great chance to pick up a shot—or maybe two.
No. 17, "Think Twice": 269 yards, par 4, handicap 18
Only very strong players have a realistic chance of negotiating the uphill forced carry of over 200 yards that is required to land the tee shot on the upper level on this hole. Attempting this carry brings a multitude of risk factors into play and has derailed many good rounds of golf. Alternatively, a layup tee shot of 180 yards leaves a blind approach of 100 to 120 yards to a green with a false front. A player with sharp wedge game can count on an excellent opportunity to pick up a birdie by playing the hole conventionally.
No. 9, "Cross Creek": 193 yards, par 3, handicap 9
Club selection on the tee shot is of paramount importance on this classic long, downhill par 3. Playing over the Sawkill Creek to a target well below the level of the teeing area, the home hole is protected by bunkers on both sides and out of bounds behind the green. Shifting winds are frequently a consideration. The putting surface slopes significantly and is tough to read.
No. 18, "Homeward Bound": 184 yards, par 3, handicap 8
Swirling winds, a steep drop in elevation from the tee to a well-protected green, and the distraction of a scenic mountain view combine to offer a stern final test. Both accurate club selection and a well-struck shot are required to meet the challenge that confronts the player on the tee. When you reach the green, examine the putting surface carefully, commit to the line and speed that you have chosen, and confidently roll your putt. This hole routinely yields an exciting finish in which scores can change dramatically and the outcome of a close match is never a foregone conclusion.