Playing Advice | The Fourth Holes on The Bend, The Bay, and The Bog
Par fours come in all shapes and sizes, and the fourth holes on The Bend, The Bay, and The Bog offer proof with three distinctive experiences. In some cases, accuracy is paramount—we’re looking at you, Bend #4. Other times, like on The Bog, it’s all about taking conservative lines and knowing when you can (and can’t) be aggressive. And every once in a while you come across a hole that plays so long you’ll find yourself questioning if it’s really a par four. Yup, that’s what you can expect when you get to the fourth hole on The Bay. Fortunately, Willowbend’s Director of Golf, Michael Carroll, is here to provide guidance, helping you play your best on these three very different par fours.
THE BEND – HOLE 4
After playing the third hole on The Bend—a short par four that all but requires golfers to place their tee shots in very specific areas if they want a clear shot at the green—players will arrive on the fourth tee only to encounter a hole that, as Carroll acknowledges, “probably carries one of the greatest premiums for accuracy off the tee.”
In other words, if you have doubts that you can hit your driver on line with the far right fairway bunker in view, you’d be wise to pick a club that offers you that level of accuracy. “Driver can get you into trouble,” Carroll says. “If you miss the fairway to the right—even by a few yards—there’s a steep drop off. Ending up in the woods is inevitable.”
If you’re playing from the forward tees, however, Carroll won’t discourage you from hitting driver, especially since the end of the fairway is still 220 yards away. Just make sure you don’t go past the edge. If you do, you’ll likely find your ball submerged in deep rough and you’ll be hitting from a steep downhill lie. “That thick grass on a downslope is as penal as anything else you’ll find on the course,” Carroll says. “It’s as bad as being in a hazard.”
Fortunately, once golfers get to the green, they’ll find a pretty manageable putting surface. “The green isn’t overly complicated,” Carroll adds. “It’s getting there that’s the tricky part.”
THE BAY – HOLE 4
When you get to the fourth hole on The Bay, your best strategy is to start by thinking of the hole as a par five, even though it’s a very long par four. “Five is a reasonable score here,” says Carroll, “and par is an exceptional score, especially when the wind is blowing.” That prevailing wind blows directly into the player, which according to Carroll, “makes a long hole dramatically longer.” If you hit the widest part of the fairway you’ll be left with a long second shot, but the fairway narrows progressively as you get farther away from tee, so swing easy off the tee.
If you’re playing from the forward tees, positioning becomes paramount … but perhaps not in the way you might think. It’s all about where you choose to play from on the tee box. “The right side opens the hole up a bit more,” Carroll says, “whereas teeing it up on the left side blocks some of the angle, so take advantage of the right side of the box.”
THE BOG – HOLE 4
The fourth hole on The Bog course is all about what you can see—and what you can’t. The medium-length par four doesn’t offer much in the way of intimidating sights from the back tees, but a water hazard looms in a hollow to the left of the fairway and it’s very much in play for all but the longest of hitters. For that reason, Carroll points to the middle or left half of the fairway bunker as an ideal aiming point off the tee. “Aiming at the green or the flag from the back tees,” he says, “brings that water into play.”
For the forward-tee player, the aforementioned water hazard is much less of a factor. In fact, because the forward tees are angled more to the right, the pond only comes into play on a very errant shot. “This hole is much more forgiving for forward-tee players,” Carroll says. “They can aim at the green or middle of the fairway and a decent tee shot will be rewarded.”