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JT's PERSPECTIVE: PLAYING HOLE FIFTEEN at LAKE MERCED GOLF CLUB

HOLE FIFTEEN is a beautiful par 3 that requires absolute accuracy with your tee shot to reach and hold the green. The back tees are ~200 yards from the hole. The green is protected on the left side by two deep bunkers, and on the right side by a long shallow bunker. A steep slope drops off behind the green and below the left bunkers into thick rough. The bunkers, trees on the left, and rhododendrons in back create an appealing frame for the green.

 

The East-West orientation of the green leaves an easy approach from the wide flat bail-out area at the North end of the fairway. Gentle contours and a moderate back to front slope funnel the ball to the center and front edge of the green. The conservative play is to hit the ball to a bail-out area, leaving an easy (slightly uphill) chip shot onto the putting surface. 

The confident play is a high tee shot straight at the hole with enough back spin on the ball to hold the green. If the ball comes in hot, a delicate wedge shot from back of the green or the North-side bunker will be needed to get the ball in position on the putting surface. Par is definitely makable, but it will require attention to details.

The bunkers surrounding the green make the handicaps for this hole somewhat deceiving. We have seen tournament leaderboard positions change on this hole to believe it ranks as the easiest hole at LMGC. The reality is that this green is the most difficult par 3 hole on the course to get on and hold with your tee shot.

Player's key: with your tee shot, avoid hitting left into the deep slope below the left green-side bunkers if you need to protect your score. A tee shot that lands on the bail-out area in front of the green is good for all hole positions.

HOLE FIFTEEN: Par 3,  220 / 197 / 178 / 160 from the tees, rated 18 handicap for men, 18 handicap for ladies.