Hole by Hole Lowdown of Harding Park
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Here's a hole-by-hole description of Harding Park Golf Course, site of the eighth Presidents Cup matches to be played this week in San Francisco:
- No. 1, 562 yards, par 5: The opening hole likely will require a birdie or better to win the hole. Bunkers guard the right side of the fairway on this gentle dogleg to the left. Players will be able to go for the green, which has a false front and is guarded by three bunkers.
- No. 2, 200 yards, par 3: This hole plays down the hill, meaning players will be using a middle to short iron to a small green that has bunkers on both sides. The prevailing wind is right-to-left, so any shot at the flag might have to start over the larger bunker.
- No. 3, 475 yards, par 4: Even though this has been converted from a par 5, players might opt for a fairway metal off the tee for position, leaving a middle iron to a green that sits among the trees and has two sets of bunkers on each side.
- No. 4, 428 yards, par 4: The bunker to the right won't be in play for most, although players might aim over the left corner. Any tee shot too far to the left could be blocked by the trees. The second shot offers the first view of Lake Merced. If the wind is up, it becomes difficult to gauge the right distance to the green, which hooks around a bunker on the left side.
- No. 5, 606 yards, par 5: The shape of the hole, more than distance, might keep most players from reaching the longest hole at Harding Park in two shots. The hole bends to the left off the tee, then turns hard to the left in the final yards toward the green. It still might require birdie to win the hole, whether that's getting it close to the green in two or going in with a wedge for the third shot.
- No. 6, 429 yards, par 4: This is the only hole at Harding Park without a bunker, although the fairway is among the tightest. The green is long and narrow. Look for players to hit iron off the tee for position.
- No. 7, 473 yards, par 4: A dogleg left and one of the toughest driving holes. The tee shot must negotiate a corridor of trees, with the preferred shot a draw around the tall limbs at the corner of the dogleg. The only bunkers are to the front and left of the green, which has a subtle hump in the middle.
- No. 8, 449 yards, par 4: Another tree-line hole, this one with a bunker on the left side of the fairway. The tee shot should favor the right side of the fairway, leaving an approach to the green, which is protected by a front bunker to the right and gentle mounds all around. A crowned putting surface means it's best to stay below the hole.
- No. 9, 183 yards, par 3: The front nine finishes with an uphill par 3 that is so steep players won't be able to see the bottom of the flag. Bunkers protect both sides of the green, which is deeper than it appears from the tee.
- No. 10, 467 yards, par 4: One of the stronger par 4s because it is uphill, with wind that is tough to judge cutting through the trees. The fairway slopes to the left, and two bunkers protect the green -- a grass bunker to the right, sand to the left. The approach looks longer than it plays, and the green can be quick from back to front. Par might be enough to win this hole.
- No. 11, 230 yards, par 3: This plays downhill, yet the green is hard and difficult to hold. A grass bunker is on the left side, with sand to the right. If the flag is on the right portion of the green, players will have to clear the bunker and hope their shot stays on the green.
- No. 12, 405 yards, par 4: This modest par 4 curls to the left and heads back toward Lake Merced. A fairway bunker to the right means some players might hit iron off the tee. A bolder tee shot could leave a side-hill lie for the wedge shot. The green sits on a small plateau and slopes from back to front.
- No. 13, 336 yards, par 4: The first of two risk-reward holes on the back nine that should make for some intrigue in match play. The hole can be reached with a big drive, yet the small green is nestled among the trees and surrounded by bunkers -- three on the left toward the hole, another to the right.
- No. 14, 164 yards, par 3: An ordinary par 3 made slightly difficult because it is tough to judge the Pacific breeze. The green is guarded by bunkers and is somewhat crowned, making it difficult to hole putts.
- No. 15, 468 yards, par 4: This played as the closing hole in the 2005 World Golf Championship. The tee shot must carry Lake Merced and a stand of tall trees, yet anything to the right is likely to find two large, fairway bunkers. Once in the fairway, the approach is to a green that is pitched subtly from back to front. Anything short could spin back toward the fairway.
- No. 16, 393 yards, par 4: Traditionally the opening hole at Harding Park, this should yield birdies because players can drive close to the green. The right side of the green is guarded by a large bunker.
- No. 17, 344 yards, par 4: Another short par 4 that can be reached from the tee. The tee shot is simple enough. The options for those missing the green could include bunker shots and chips from around the green. A birdie might only be good for a halve.
- No. 18, 525 yards, par 5: Three bunkers are on the right side of the fairway, but this is a tee shot to rip. Most players will have no trouble getting home in two, which could lead to some fireworks if the match gets this far. The green features bunkers in the front and slopes gently from front to back.
Copyright Associated Press / NBC Bay Area