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Beginner's Approach To Course Management - Glenmarie GCC Malaysia


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The Approach At The Valley Course
Hi all.

Here's a look at the Valley course of the Glenmarie Golf Course in Malaysia, from a 1-year golfer's point of view.
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Glenmarie Valley Course

The pine trees of this 6,325 metre Valley Course will make you think you were playing golf in Europe, in some Mild Country advertisement. It's so beautiful, I took my camera and hence the pictures you see here.

Fast Facts

•Valley Course : 18-holes caddy/buggy course
•Golf Course Designer : Max Wexler (whom I'll find out later to be quite sadistic)
•Total Length : 6,325 metres from black tees
5,874 metres from blue tees
4,972 metres from red tees
•Course Rating : 71.9
•Turf on fairways : Tifway 419;
Greens: Bermuda Tifdwarf (this should have been a warning, more on this later.)
•Year Opened : October 1993

So, armed with this, on we go for an early morning tee off. Here goes nothing...


(All distance in meters)

Hole 1

Blue 355m
White 322m
Red 299m
Index 3
Par 4

Hole01-DSC_0106copy.jpg


Nice and straight fairway, just keep right slightly to avoid the left bunker, and the approach is nice and centered. Keep the approach shot at the bottom of the flag, as the green slopes back to front.

Those were my first thoughts as I calmly planned my attack of the hole...

Who am I kidding. Actually my first thought was "Dammit, I should've come earlier to warm up. I hope my driver doesn't embarrass me."

True enough, the 1st tee off pulled left into the rough. Lets get the embarrassment over with. Punched it back onto the fairway, no heroics. The approach overshot the pin, to the left (you see a trend here?), for a 1-chip 1-putt. 1 over, not a bad way to start.

So as usual, when you get complacent, golf slaps you in the face in the next hole...


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Hole 2

Blue 338

White 322

Red 293

Index 17

Par 4

 

Hole02-DSC_0107copy.jpg

 

The hole slopes downward in a slight dogleg left, with the green hidden from view. So, aim at the left of the bunker.

 

Index 17 should be a piece of cake. Except I landed IN the bunker. Then I came out short, and had to take a PW to the green. My shot went straight towards the pin, so straight that I impressed myself and I whistled in admiration. Prematurely, it turned out. My shot landed before the flag, and rolled by the flag missing it by just a couple of inches. And kept rolling. And kept rolling. Like Mick Jagger, it seemed like this rolling stone just wouldn't stop. Eventually it disappeared out of sight.

 

I was speechless. I finally understand what Tifdwarf means - grass with no grip!

 

I find myself in a collection area 10-foot deep. Long story short, blew the hole. I don't even want to post the score here.

 

So, moral of the story for this hole is, when the green slopes severely front to back, landing short is waaay better than landing on or long. Avoid the trap laid by the designer to go aggressively at this hole.

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Hole 3

Blue 203

White 192

Red 144

Index 7

Par 3

 

Hole03-DSC_0108copy.jpg

 

So, the designer (Max Wexler) knows you're shaken now, and gives you a par 3 to give you a break. Except he made this par 3 more than 200m long! With deep valleys waiting to catch any short drives. And OB to the right. Now I'm thinking, this Max fella must be a sadist.

 

So? Keep left. Lay up left of the bunkers for a safe upward chip. Long drivers can go at the green but make sure you carry the right bunkers and valleys.

 

My confidence severely shaken, I duffed my 3-wood into the valleys of course. My approach flew over the pin into the rough. I now faced a downward chip. Somehow, I chipped to a gimme distance, and made a bogey. Thanks to Phil Mickelson and his recent book on the short game.

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Hole 4

Blue 361

White 330

Red 308

Index 1

Par 4

 

Hole04-DSC_0115copy.jpg

 

The landing area is deceptively narrow, so a rather accurate tee-off would help. Right is OB, so keep left. With that strategy in mind, my driver decided to hit right, of course.

 

 

Hole04-DSC_0120copy.jpg

 

Next, the left bunkers are waiting to catch your shots as you keep left to avoid the OB. So the approach shot must be accurate.

 

My hybrid decided to push to flirt with the OB. The caddie earned her tip by locating my ball in the thick jungle (calling it rough would be insulting mother nature.) I chipped for 3 on and 3 putts. Hey, it's an index 1 hole, and I'm a beginner.

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Hole 5

Blue 469

White 440

Red 411

Index 13

Par 5

 

After the torture of the last 3 holes, Max gives you a reward for your perseverance, the magnificent hole 5.

 

Hole 5 is the prettiest hole in the course. A 3-tiered hole, the view from the elevated tee is breathtaking. A stream borders your 1st shot, inviting you to cross it if you dare. After the stream is a circular landing area for the wise who lay up. For the bold, you can attack the green directly, but you must have the distance to reach the island green.

 

It is an intelligently designed risk-reward hole. This is where strategy really comes into play.

 

Hole05-DSC_0121copy.jpg

 

Hole05-DSC_0122copy.jpg

 

For a change, just to surprise me, my tee-off landed exactly where I intended. Sufficiently befuddled, I was bold and foolish enough to throw caution to the wind and decided to attack the island green. The ball is in a clean lie, sitting up nicely. However, it was sloping down slightly. I took my 3-wood, which thus far has duffed on me when I last used it, and proceeded to talk to my ball.

 

"Ball, I hope to see you again. If I don't, it's been nice to know you." The brand-new Titleist Prov-V1x blinked at me as if to say "Are you sure boss?"

 

One whack, and the ball landed on the island. I couldn't be happier if I made a hole in one! So, moral of the story, weigh the pros (good position, good lie) and cons (sloping down, 3-wood not working well) before making your decision.

 

I chipped over to the fringe, lag putt, but missed my 4-footer par putt. But, like a childhood romance that almost but not quite worked out, it was a most satisfying and unforgettable bogey though.

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Hole 6

Blue 155 (wrong!)

White 135 (wrong!)

Red 99 (wrong!)

 

Hole06-DSC_0123copy.jpg

 

The distances in the score card and distance marker in this hole are all wrong, since they moved the green during the refurbishment. A fact which my caddie helpfully informed me. After I've hit my ball into the water. I wanted to hit my caddie into the water too... Just kidding. Barely.

 

But anyway, just take 1 club more, and go for a draw. If you get caught in the bunker, don't top your bunker shot into the water.

:roll:

 

Thanks to my distance-impaired caddie, and some equally distance-impaired putting, I did a 7 here. Must remember next time, a 6-iron won't make it, go for 5-iron.

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Hole 7

Blue 321

White 301

Red 262

Index 15

Par 4

 

 

Hole07-DSC_0126copy.jpg

 

This hole is quite interesting strategy-wise. Look at the slope. If you go for the center of the fairway and you push your shot, you are under the trees, or worse, in the water.

 

If you go for the left, and you push your shot, you are in the center of the fairway. If you pull, the slope will kick it back down.

 

So, aim left. I did, and made a bogey. OK la.

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Hole 8

Blue 379

White 348

Red 332

Index 5

Par 4

 

Hole08-DSC_0127copy.jpg

 

This is another hole where the green is blind from the fairway. It is key to avoid the left slopes.

 

I forgot to use my hips, and hooked my shot into the left slope. From the severe slope, my over-compensated hybrid shot pushed my ball into the right trees, and it promptly disappeared, caddie or no caddie. Long story short, did a 9. Lesson learnt; stay away from the left slope.

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Hole 10

Blue 351

White 317

Red 289

Index 4

Par 4

 

OK, coffee break over. With renewed energy, we forge on.

 

Hole10-DSC_0129copy.jpg

 

Another lovely hole with a beautiful view from the tee box. Plenty of water, but it's not a real cause for concern if your driver is reliable. Choose the landing point wisely. Because of the dog leg, your next approach shot distance can vary quite a bit. Going a bit more left is ok (and even better if you're long) because as usual, the slope will kick it back down. Going right is risky, but is rewarded with a shorter approach, as long as you stay out of the bunker and water. Just remember your next shot will be on a down slope, so take a higher lofted club.

 

It is an index 4 hole, so plan your approach carefully to land at pin height or below. Else the multi-leveled green can be tricky.

 

I got caught in the greenside bunker, took me two strokes to get out, and did a 7. Not nice....

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Hole 11

Blue 448

White 417

Red 355

Index 18

Par 5

 

Hole11-DSC_0130copy.jpg

 

Long and straight, hug the trees on the left to avoid the right bunkers. Easiest green on the course, so should be able to get par or birdie.

 

Again, the green is not biting. I got bogey as usual. Gotta improve my putting, darn it, or aim to land short and let it roll on.

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Hole 12

 

Blue 303

White 262

Red 236

Index 16

Par 4

 

Hole12-DSC_0131copy-1.jpg

 

A mid-length upslope hole, teasing you to take the driver. There's a nice bunker waiting for you if you get the distance wrong. Do the smart thing and lay up with a 3-wood. Your next approach shot should be on nicely. Remember, the green doesn't bite, so land short.

 

And in order to do a bump and run up to the green, you need to be on the right. Watch out for the bunkers there though.

 

Why didn't this occur to me while I was playing? That's why I did a double-bogey. Darn.

 

I must learn to think on my feet during a game. That's why course management is important. You can save some strokes just by planning ahead.

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Hole 14

Blue 463

White 441

Red 407

Index 8

Par 5

 

Hole14-DSC_0133copy.jpg

 

This hole will test both your driving accuracy and length.

 

Can you do a fade? This is what the hole calls for. The trees on the right are mature, and tend to catch the straight shots. Keep left, but watch for the slopes. A 3-wood might be a safer bet here, but you'll have a longer 2nd shot as this hole is quite long. Decisions, decisions. Who says driving is not as important as the short game? You gotta get to the green first.

 

Managed to get a bogey here. Luckily my driver has settled down.

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Hole 15

Blue 339

White 310

Red 294

Index 2

Par 4

 

Hole15-DSC_0134copy.jpg

 

The course map is out dated, and they've enlarged the left bunker to trap you tee off, so watch out for it.

 

Again, I would aim right to get a clear approach to the non-biting green to try a bump and run up. This is the 2nd most difficult hole and you're going to need all the help you can get. If you approach from the center, with the glassy green, there's little chance of holding on.

 

I found this out the hard way. My approach shot was right on the target line, landed before the hole, but it rolled off anyway. Got a double bogey. Darn those slippery greens!

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Hole 16

Blue 324

White 310

Red 278

Index 12

Par 4

 

Hole16-DSC_0135copy.jpg

 

This is another gorgeous looking hole. It slopes down menacingly to broad body of water, and you've got to carry that watery valley to get to the green on the other side. But it's harmless if you negotiate it correctly.

 

First, look for the distance marker right down the center line. That's the 100m marker. Aim for that with a 3-wood (it's sloping down, remember.) From there, it's an easy PW or 9iron to the green. If in doubt, use the 9 iron, and let the slope catch you if you overshoot. But chipping back down requires a good touch.

 

I took a 9 iron, overshot the green, and chipped into gimme distance. My first par for the day!

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Hole 17

Blue 174

White 151

Red 130

Index 6

Par 3

 

Hole17-DSC_0137copy.jpg

 

This is another beautiful and intimidating hole that tests your nerve. It's a par 3 that needs to carry another deep watery valley.

 

Whatever you do, don't leave it short as it's quite an uphill slope, difficult to judge your chip. Go long, and the slope will limit the damage.

 

I've concluded the green is actually level to the tee box because I took a 3-hybrid and it landed true to my hybrid distance of around 180m. Which of course meant that I overshot it.

 

Being an index 6, the green was quite lumpy, and I had to chip delicately on to one of those lumps and roll it back down. The ball hit the flagstick and stayed within inches of the hole. I was ecstatic with my 2nd par of the day on this 6th hardest hole and did my best TW impression. This is why I LOVE this game!

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Hole 18

Blue 315

White 290

Red 240

Index 10

Par 4

 

Hole18-DSC_0138copy.jpg

 

By now, Max knows he's beaten you up quite a lot, so he lets you end with a medium-difficulty par 4. Nonetheless, it is still a beauty, another one that carries a valley and stream. There's a risk reward bunker to tempt the long drivers to carry it.

 

You take a hit, WHACK~ and pause to admire your ball sailing over the valley..... only to see the bunker catching it.

 

I've learnt my lesson; keep RIGHT, and run it up safely with a mid iron.

 

Thanks to good lag putting, managed to get away with a bogey.

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So, overall, it was a beautiful course, with many cunning elements to test the golfer's course management strategy.

The green is fast as glass, so always look to land short and run it up if possible. If not, look for a slope to catch it.

The scenery is beautiful, with hole number 5 being the prettiest, and will relax you while the cunning course attempts to destroy your score. Hole number 2 gets my vote as the most evil hole.

That concludes my review of the course management for the Valley Course of the Glenmarie Golf and Country Club.

Hope all my fellow golfaholics enjoyed it and found it useful.

Being a beginner, I probably overlooked many things; would love to hear your feedback, suggestions, and other comments.

Thank you for reading.

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