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

The back tee at HOLE FIVE sits elevated above a relatively wide fairway that gently descends westward ~240 yards before curving slightly left towards the green ~150 yards further away. Trees on both sides of the fairway can stop a wayward tee shot. Two shallow fairway bunkers on the right side at the curve are in play. A large bunker protects each side of the green and narrows an approach that slopes up to the front edge.

The beautiful view and open fairway invite you to stretch out and pound away at the ball. A strong 3-wood is not a bad choice for a strong hitter to help keep the ball in the fairway. Trees occupying a slight dip past the bunkers on the right and trees sheltering a small field of wild grasses directly opposite on the left are in play if a long tee shot strays off the fairway. 

The best approach shot to the medium-sized green is a high short iron or mid iron from the right center of the fairway after a strong tee shot. If the ball comes in too hot it can roll through the green and descend down a steep back slope into a wide patch of thick wild grasses.

The green slopes back to front with subtle contours that feed from the left side into the middle. The green can play fast making for challenging downhill putts. A birdie is a definite possibility after a well-placed approach shot. 

Player's key: a high trajectory tee shot that floats onto the fairway will avoid the punishing rough

HOLE FIVE: Par 4,  400 / 381 / 370 / 357  yds from the tees, rated 11 handicap for men, 9 handicap for ladies.