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Signature Series

Length and an elevated green mean an uphill battle at Spring Hill Golf Club's 13th hole

SPRING HILL

Drink it in. It's historic, after all. The Spring Hill Golf Club, which opened in 1967, was the first course built in Hernando County. It has many rolling hills, lush pine trees and is one of the more quiet courses despite having nearby houses. "This course is the closest you'll get to a New England course in this area because of the hills," course ranger Jay Cleary said. And the place has its very own oddity — a nuance, if you will. Which is just fine for golfers looking for a challenge. Not only do the hills affect every shot you'll take, every green is elevated. "Every single hole. That's only local knowledge," Cleary says. That's all well and dandy, so here's the scouting report for those who lack the local knowledge:

Straight ahead

One thing this course has is straight fairways. As a matter of fact, three of the 18 holes are a dogleg right. The rest? Straighter than a Robin Hood arrow. Since No. 13 is the longest hole on the course, go ahead and pull out the driver and swing away. However, the fairway is narrower than Olive Oyl on a diet. The best bet is to try to keep it right. That way you avoid upcoming hazards and you'll be on the right side of the rolling green. The second shot is just not going to make the green unless you have a PGA Tour card tucked in your wallet. No need to lay up, but a good second shot will set up a 9 iron or pitching wedge up to the green. Even if you don't drive straight, Cleary says "you have plenty of room to get out of (rough) situations, even with all the trees. There are plenty of open shots to rescue yourself."

Blustery daily

According to Cleary, a 10 a.m. wind shows up every day at this course. Cleary says he's never seen anything like it. "You can just set your clock by it," he says. "(There are) six holes (with wind) in your face, six holes with (wind going with) you and six (with wind going) across you." No. 13 is one that has wind in your face, so this will factor in immensely. The wind is stronger some days than others, something to consider while choosing a club. No matter what, finesse is rarely used on this hole due to the length. Television character "Tim 'The Tool Man' Taylor" would be proud because more power is used to do well on this hole.

Sandy situation

Before you even take that third shot, you'll notice the two large sand traps blocking your path to the green. Yeah, they're there to taunt you, without a doubt. So, obviously, avoid them by either aiming more to the right of the green or clubbing up as to leave to room for a mistake. If you land one of the bunkers, good luck to you because you'll be hitting up a steep incline, not to mention a blind shot to where the pin is placed.

King of the hill

You'll be pleasantly surprised by these greens. They're manicured like a private's military haircut and well tended. That means they're fast. "The greens putt like they read," Cleary said. "They're pure and fast and well done, so those will always be true to you." Also, as mentioned above, every hole is elevated. No. 13 isn't ridiculously high, but getting up there is no easy task. When you do get up there, the green slopes from right to left and then toward the front. Most times, as Cleary says, you want to put your ball on the right side of the green. Any other spot and you'll be rolling onto the fringe.

Community Sports editor Mike Camunas can be reached at mcamunas@sptimes.com or (352) 544-1771.

His two cents

"This is a long hole. Even your big hitters won't make it in two or at least have difficulty doing so. Most who play from the blue (tees) will be scoring a seven or eight. No matter what, though, you'll have to take one club longer to get there in regulation."

Jay Cleary, course ranger

My two cents

"This hole is difficult. Not only is it a long hole, the green is set up on a hill with bunkers. Talk about messing with you. No matter the type of golfer you are, be aggressive. Club up to get up there or else you'll need a spade to get your ball out."

Mike Camunas, community sports
editor and golf enthusiast

Suggest a hole for Signature Series

Like the island par 3 hole on your favorite course? What about the massive par 5 that seems impossible to birdie? Or is there a favorite hole that just seems like a Utopia to play? Then tell us about it for our Signature Series. We take a hole, break it down and give you tips on how to tackle it. Golf courses and their pros are encouraged to nominate holes to community sports editor Mike Camunas. Submission, comments or questions can be sent to communitysports@tampabay.com or call (352) 544-1771.

Length and an elevated green mean an uphill battle at Spring Hill Golf Club's 13th hole 01/06/09 [Last modified: Wednesday, January 7, 2009 2:38pm]
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