Tips from Brent Taylor, head pro at the Springs Course at Radium Resort
Brent Taylor, head pro at the Springs Course at Radium Resort in Radium Hot Springs, B.C., shares a course tip and a general playing tip
A tip for playing Hole 9 at the Springs Course
The Springs Course at Radium Resort in Radium Hot Springs, B.C., is considered one of the top public courses in Canada. It is situated along the Columbia Valley between the Rocky and Purcell mountains—and with panoramic views wherever you look, it has long been one of the Valley favourites.
The uniqueness of the golf course itself is that it is playable for all levels of ability. Due to the nature and beauty of this course, there is no one signature hole. However, one of the best par 5s we have stands out, as it provides you with a challenge second to none. This hole is the No. 9—a difficult par 5 with a total yardage ranging from 460 from the forward tees to 550 from the tips.
This hole requires both length and accuracy, as off the tee you need to hit your drive towards the barber pole while trying to avoid the large bunker on the right—which is known to catch many stray shots. If you are a long ball hitter, you can periodically hit the green on your second shot. However, there is also water all down the left on your approach, with the fairway sloping from left to right. With the new mounding in place on the right, it now saves several shots from going into the trees. The smart play on your second shot is a lay-up just inside the 150 marker, leaving yourself a mid-iron shot from the hole.
The important thing to note on your approach is taking into account two main items: the green is elevated and the water continues to be a factor all the way to the left-hand side of the green. Therefore, it is important that you do not under-club with your execution on the third shot. My advice would be to take one more club and make a nice, smooth swing, holding the finish until the ball comes to rest on the green. Once you have landed on the green, you are pretty much home free, as the putting surface has some undulation sloping from back to front, though it’s not too severe. Take your two putts and walk off with a comfortable par on what is ranked the Springs’ toughest hole.
General golf tip: the driver
The club that each golfer has the most fear of but wishes to hit well is the driver. This club can make or break your day, as it is entirely responsible for setting up approximately 14 holes per round. If by chance you are hitting the driver all over the map, you will be chipping out of the trees continuously. This immediately starts to add strokes to your game. And we all know how we feel when the driver starts to go astray, grrrrrrr! You must now try and find that warm and comfy place where you can calm down and move on to the next shot.
What can we do to hit the driver more effectively?
- Posture: The key to good ball striking in particular is your posture. Ensure you have worked on this and received feedback on it from your local CPGA professional. You must be set up for success.
- Tee height: The typical height to tee the ball up is approximately half the ball above the top edge of the driver. This is done to encourage an upward blow on the ball rather than a descending one. Also, learn from the height of your shots how high to tee the ball up. For example, if you tend to hit the ball high, tee it up lower—and if you tend to hit the ball low, move the tee height up.
- A balanced finish: It is important that the individual completes his or her backswing and follows through to a balanced finish, holding that finish for a period of two to three seconds. This encourages a consistent motion and a swing through the ball, not at it.
- Tempo: Swing the club at approximately 75 per cent of your maximum. It should be a speed that you can repeat and that allows you to swing into that balanced finish on a consistent basis.
Finally, yes, you’ve heard it before: practise. Utilize these suggestions on the driving range prior to applying the techniques on the golf course. This will allow you the opportunity to achieve the success you are looking for.