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

The second hole at LMGC has been extended to a length of 420 yards from the back to add a little more incentive for hitting a straight tee shot. The fairway narrows somewhat at a slight dogleg to the right about 150 yards from the hole. The dogleg is bordered on the left by a shallow fairway bunker, and on the right by cluster of tall trees with overhanging branches that come into play if your shot off the tee has a significant fade. A tee shot that lands in the left center of the fairway gives you a clear look at the green. 

The fairway descends gently towards the green at the beginning of the dogleg. A ball that reaches the downslope will pick up enough extra yards to reward a long drive down the middle. The opening to the green is characterized by an uphill slope that starts about 20 yards from the front edge that is narrowed by shallow bunkers on both sides of the fringe. 

The green is guarded on the back left and right by moderately deep bunkers, and the back center by thick rough with a margin of trees and large bushes. A prominent contour extends across the center of the green from left to right and is a significant factor in approach shots. A ball landing in the center can easily roll off the back into a wide fringe, while a ball that lands in front of the ridge can drift to the right side of the green.

The contours and gentle slopes of the green can be deceptive. Most competitors' medium-length left/right putts roll below the hole for a miss. I feel their pain. The subtle undulations on the front slope of the green are difficult to detect. But when you make par or birdie, and they are there to be found, the satisfaction makes you want to challenge this hidden gem again and again.

Player's key: hit the tee shot to left-center of the fairway and catch the downslope for a soft short-iron approach shot.

HOLE TWO: Par 4,  420 / 390 / 350 / 337 yds from the tee. Handicap 13 for men, 11 for ladies.