Scoring well at any golf course is set up by a well-placed approach shot. A great shot sets the stage for an easy two-putt, at worst. A bad one brings all sorts of trouble into play.
There is more to a great approach than knowing the yardage, though.
Knowing what a golf-course designer is trying to get a golfer to do is crucial. For instance, John Fought’s redesign of Glaze Meadow is inspired by the Donald Ross era of course design, bringing to Black Butte Ranch all kinds of classical elements.
None of those elements dictate strategy more than the “turtleback” greens that slope away from the center of the green.
What’s the best strategy for such greens?
“You have to learn to hit in the middle of the green and have distance control at Glaze Meadow,” advises Jeff Fought, the director of golf at Black Butte Ranch.
That sounds simple enough, but for that strategy to be effective golfers must think about their approach from the start of each hole.
Glaze Meadow’s angled fairways and elevation changes put precision at a premium. Hit a tee shot too far, and it runs through the fairway and into trouble. Find the wrong side of a fairway and a golfer might discover a difficult angle to the pin.
More than that, Glaze Meadow’s green complexes are built on lava rock, which makes for a firmer surface. In other words, longer shots into the green are made more difficult. And on turtleback greens, a ball can roll of the back and into trouble.
“There is no mounding to keep you on the green,” Fought said. “In fact, there is mounding that will take you away from the green.”
Fear not. Nothing at Glaze Meadow is trying to trick you. Golfers will find the best luck by setting up approach shots set at a distance they are most comfortable with. That is good advice no matter the course. Then, no matter where the pin is set, favor the center of the green,
“When I am looking at a pin, and if it’s over on the right-hand side, I definitely aim a little more left of the pin,” Fought says.
Playing conservatively at Glaze Meadow at approach will pay dividends.
Book a tee time online, call 855-210-5305 or the Golf Shop at 541-595-1545.
For more information on how to take a lesson from Jeff or any of our Black Butte Ranch instructors, visit blackbutteranch.com/golf/lessons-and-instructions. The link also includes a calendar of Black Butte Ranch’s golf schools, clinics and camps.