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Hole Number One

From the start you know that you face a test at Hickory Hills. This hole starts you off with a narrow fairway which rises up a hill. There is a severe drop off to the left and a somewhat less severe slope to the right. Add trees to the left and right and what you need is what we all need...a great drive right down the middle!. A large tree at the top of the hill is a good place to aim for on your drive. Once on top, the fairway opens up to a green flanked by traps on the left and at the rear. The green is quite sloping and a ball played too far left will continue to run. Head for the right or center of the green and you may have a chance of staying on! We told you this was an exciting course!

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Hole Number Two

If you have survived hole number one you probably think it couldn’t get any worse! Well, thank goodness you are right. Number two is a par five which presents an optical challenge from the tee but it looks worse than it is. Once safely out on the wide fairway, a well placed fairway wood to the right will put you in a perfect position for that iron shot to a large green surrounded by bunkers on the left and right. For the more adventurous there is a more direct route over a fairway bunker but watch out! Many a shot has been collected before it cleared this trap which is only about a hundred yards out. Once on the green you shouldn’t face too difficult a challenge since this is one of the flattest and therefore benign greens on the course.

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Hole Number Three

Well actually there are two hole number threes. It’s a long story but lets just say that play alternates from one hole to the other for a week or two at a time. The original number three is relatively short with the teeing area on a high bluff overlooking the green about 50 feet below. The green is trapped on both sides with a narrow opening in front. A creek, flowing along the left side and behind the green, catches long or off-line left shots. The green has a rather severe slope from right to left.

The "new" number three was built in the late 1980s during a period of harsh weather when it appeared there was some difficulty maintaining the original green because of poor ventilation. "New" number three is somewhat longer with the green totally surrounded by trees and trapped left front, right front, and right rear. The green has some severe undulations; you don't want to be above the flag when it is right front behind the trap.

Alternating these holes provides a variety of shot-making challenges.

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Hole Number Four

Number four is the number one handicap hole and it's ranking is well deserved. This hole is wooded from tee to green on both sides with balls unplayable (and lost) in a hazard on the left. The tee shot is supposed to go over a narrow creek onto a level fairway with the creek winding around on the right side also. Heavy woods are on the left and if you can hit the ball long, woods in the back also. Being in the fairway over the creek is a good start, but your difficulties are far from over, because the hole makes an abrupt turn up a steep hill (with no fairway; only rough) to a severely undulating green. If you are lucky enough to get on the green, three putts are common. The green is fronted by a long, deep trap. If you are in the front end of the trap, you will have a 15-20 yard carry to get out of the trap. Needless to say, bogey is a good score unless your handicap is zero or less.

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Hole Number Five

Number five appears to be a welcome relief after playing number four, because there are no trees, water, or hills to worry about. However, if you get careless, you may be surprised. The relatively level fairway is fairly wide with traps on both sides to catch the fairly long wayward drive. A badly hooked drive(for a right hander) will put you in sage grass rough about a foot high. The green has a large trap on the left side and a smaller one in front. The green has some subtle contours so three putts can happen, especially if the pin is down in front.

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Hole Number Six

Number six is a long tough par 4. The fairway is relatively wide but is pinched in by traps on both sides where relatively long drives end. The green is tucked in the woods with trees surrounding and behind it and a large trap at left front. Some pin positions on the green lead to difficult putting, especially back left. For the low handicapper, this hole is a tough par but usually a fairly easy bogey. For the high handicapper, anything can happen because of the traps and woods.

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Hole Number Seven

Number seven is a tough par 3 playing back in the opposite direction from Number six. It is slightly uphill and often into the wind. You will always need more club than you think. The green is not large and severely sloped; it is easy to putt off the front of it if the flag is forward. The green is also trapped on both sides and left front.

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Hole Number Eight

Number eight is a good par five. There is a lake off the tee on the left generally out of play unless you hit a duck hook (for a right hander). The fairway is framed by traps on both sides, but it is very wide and level so that these traps don't usually come into play. The second shot is planned to go to a valley, the floor of which is 80-130 yards from the green. Poor shots encounter woods on both sides. There is a large trap 50 to 80 yards from the green on the right and another one at about 30 to 40 yards on the left side. These traps collect very poor shots to the green or shots intended for the valley that are overhit. The green is elevated with a large trap in front and very difficult to hold. If you clear the trap, more often than not, you are over the back of the green. The green is severely undulating so that three putts are numerous.

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Hole Number Nine

Number nine is a relatively short par four with woods on both sides of the fairway.  The fairway narrows down in the landing area because of a large tree on the left.  The tree is referred to as "Louie's tree" after one of the Founders who apparently had an affinity toward the tree.  The fairway doglegs slightly left around the tree and slopes to the right.  Long drivers sometimes try to carry the tree and if the shot is pushed slightly, the ball can kick down in the woods and, if far enough, into a creek.   The approach shot from a good drive in the fairway is slightly downhill over a large swale and to a smallish green severely sloped from back to front and left to right.   The green is trapped left rear and right-side.  There is also a small pot bunker at the right front corner of the green. If the pin is right front, it is protected by the pot bunker.  If the pin is in almost any other location, putting is a problem.   Scores can range from birdie to double digits on this hole.

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Hole Number Ten

Number ten is a beautiful par four through the woods.  The tee shot must clear a creek at the bottom of a hill.  The carry is not extremely long but if you miss the shot it will be in the water.  The creek  turns and goes along the right side (in the woods); a big slice (for a right-hander) will bound down the slope through the woods and into the hazard.  There are also woods along the left side.   The fairway doglegs slightly to the right but the slope requires that you keep the drive to the left unless you hit a very long ball and can get up on top where it is flat.   The fairway rises back up from the creek where most tee shots hit and the ball either stops or rolls back down the hill.  Thus, most second shots are blind up over the hill.  The green is severely contoured from back to front with two traps leaving only a narrow opening into the green.  This hole is similar to number nine in that scores can vary all over the map.

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Hole Number Eleven

Number eleven is very interesting par four.  Out-of-bounds is fairly close on the left for the big hook or pulled shot.  The fairway is fairly wide with a trap on the left and another farther ahead on the right.  A natural area with sage and other vegetation one to two feet in height is farther to the right which will catch very wayward shots.  The green is fronted by a large pond that extends out about 50 yards.  The key to the hole is to get a drive which is good enough to permit a comfortable shot over the water to the green which is trapped in front and on the left side.  The green is quite wide and not very deep.  It is not severely contoured but does have some tough pin positions.  Stay in-bounds, out of the water and out of the natural area and you should get a decent score.

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Hole Number Twelve

Number twelve is a long par five with a well-warranted number two handicap rating.  This hole doesn't have any traps; but it doesn't need them.   The tee shot can be worrisome because of out-of-bounds on the left, a natural area on the short right, and a lake on the long right.  The key to scoring on this hole is to get a drive that avoids the problems mentioned in the previous sentence and is long enough for the player to be able to carry the second shot down a hill to a fairly level area in front of a creek that crosses the fairway.  This favored position is 100 to 130 yards from the green. From this position, use about two clubs more than you think as the green is elevated. However, if you have left the ball on the down slope, 140 to 180 yards from the green, you are faced with a very difficult shot from a steeply down-hill lie.  If the pin is down in front, it is difficult to get the approach shot close.   Three putts with a forward pin are not uncommon. 

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Hole Number Thirteen

Number thirteen is a difficult par 3 (number 10 handicap rating for men). The hole is fronted by a large pond and a deep trap. A reasonably good shot will clear the water but many good shots catch the trap. The green is very contoured and sloped back to front. Pin positions in the back right are very difficult to reach because of the trap. If you play left to avoid the trap, you are in three putt territory. Also, if the pin is forward left and you get above it, you may easily putt off the green. Par is a very good score.

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Hole Number Fourteen

Number fourteen is a difficult par 4 (handicap number 4) which plays much longer than its yardage because the drive is slightly uphill and the approach to the green is all carry.  Bad drives are plagued by dense woods on the left and grove of trees on the right separating the #14 and #15 fairways. Long drives may catch fairway traps on both the right and left. The approach shot to the green is all carry as the green is fronted by a steep slope leading to a large valley that goes across the fairway. A missed second shot may leave you a severely downhill lie on the opposite slope leading to the valley. A short second shot down in the floor of the valley will require a difficult half wedge shot to an elevated green.  The green is trapped in back, but the traps keeps some overly long shots out of a hazard where the ball is usually lost in the bushes.   The green is sloped sharply from front to back, especially near the front.   Unless you are a very accomplished golfer, be pleased with bogey here.

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Hole Number Fifteen

Number fifteen is a delightful par four which plays slightly shorter than its yardage going in the opposite direction and parallel with the tougher #14.   Keep the drive to the left (but to the right of the large tree out about 120 yards) permits hitting the approach shot to the right side of the green which is much easier to hold.  If the drive if too far right you may have tree trouble unless you get lucky.   Even  in the right side of the fairway, the right side of the green is protected by a large tree about 75 yards out so that  the approach shot may have to be directed to the left half of the green which is shallower and trapped in the rear.   Another trap extends across the entire front of the green preventing roll-ons.   An interesting feature of this hole is a nice trouble-free lay-up area left of the green if a long second shot is required.  The pitch shot from this area goes into the green toward the friendly right side and gives a reasonable chance for a one putt par or for a birdie for the extremely long driver.

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Hole Number Sixteen

Number sixteen is the #18 handicap hole.  This hole is a relatively short par three with a friendly green which will hold shots and has little contour.   However, a pin placement in the back left can be troublesome as the green slopes toward its left edge.  A  missed drive can leave you in a grove of trees and bushes to the right.  A drop from an unplayable lie here won't get you out of the trees.  The green is also trapped in the rear and front left.  Hit a good tee shot avoiding the traps and the trees and you should get a par or birdie here.

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Hole Number Seventeen

Number seventeen is a very interesting par four.  The teeing area is on an elevated bluff with the landing area being a wide up-hill fairway which is trapped both left and right at the top of the hill.  If you miss the drive badly to the right, there is a natural area with knee high sage grass and other impediments.   The long driver may encounter a pond over the trap on the right or with a fade (for a right hander) that looks like it should be in the right hand side of the fairway..   The green is trapped both left and right and, except for the front quarter,   is not severely sloped.  This hole yields many pars and birdies but some large numbers can occur also.

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Hole Number Eighteen

Many people believe number eighteen is one of the finest golf holes in central Ohio.  The drive must be kept left to avoid a big tree on the right. However, there is a trap on the left which is both good and bad.  You don't have much of a shot out of the trap but it stops many balls from going down a steep slope from which you have no shot.  Long hitters may use a long iron or fairway wood to keep the drive from going down a steep bluff into a creek.  Some venturesome very long hitters may try to drive over the bluff and creek into a flat fairway 50 to 90 yards from the green leaving a pitch to the elevated green.  Miss to the left is woods and to the right is a creek. The approach shot from the fairway at the top of the hill is from 140 yards up across this broad valley to the elevated green with a very deep trap in the right front.   Trouble abounds left, right, and over. Short shots leave a difficult pitch to the green.  The green is two-level  with the left front being accessible but difficult to hold.  A right-rear pin position often results in three putts or approach shots in the deep trap in front.  For men, a very difficult #6 handicap hole to say the least.  Ladies play the hole as #12 handicap as a par 5 at only 335 yards.

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