The Blue Course at Dallas Athletic Club, a Signature Design
by Jack Nicklaus, will test the players in the 110th Texas Amateur at every
turn. The classic parkland layout features tree-lined fairways that dogleg left
and right. The greens are pure. The bunkers and penalty areas will be, well, penal.
As it should, the Blue Course will provide a thorough examination to identify
the best amateur in Texas.
Three holes, perhaps more so than the rest, could prove to
be the most critical. Holes 5, 17 and 18 are all long par 4s; the shortest is 430+
yards. Each of these “Key Holes” are beastly, the type on which par is a great
“If you make a birdie on any of these, you’ll pick up a shot
on the field,” said Lance Patterson, DAC’s Director of Golf. “If you make par,
you’re OK. Birdies are a bonus. There are going to be a lot of bogeys on these three
holes. You just want to avoid the big numbers.”
Course Handicap Rank: 1
With water all the way down the right side, the Blue
Course’s fifth hole can be a nightmare for higher-handicap golfers. For the
skilled players in the 110th Texas Amateur, they’ll have to choose how much of
the hazard they want to take on off the tee. There are options: lay back with
3-wood, hybrid or long iron for safety, but that leaves longer second shots
(anywhere from 150-185 yards). The aggressive strategy is to bust driver and
carry more of the lake to get within 90-120 yards of the green. The second shot
presents just as much stress; the two-tiered green is protected by water in
front and on the left and right sides. Long is no good, either.
Course Handicap Rank: 4
The long, dogleg-left hole plays slightly uphill and usually
into the wind. Drives into the left rough will make the green blocked out by
trees on the second shot. Players need to hammer tee shots up the right side of
the fairway. Depending on the length of the drive, they’ll still have 150-200
yards left into a green protected by three bunkers on the left and a pair of
grass bunkers on the right. A good miss is short and right. Players can get up
and down from there. Any other miss likely will lead to bogey or worse.
Course Handicap Rank: 12
Overall, the Blue Course’s finishing hole is mostly
straight. It does play uphill. Drives into the right rough will have tree trouble
on the second shot. The smart play off the tee is at – but short of – the two
fairway bunkers on the left side. It’s about 310 yards to the first bunker and
320 yards to the second. There’s usually a hurting wind on the second shot, but
it’s difficult to detect because the clubhouse blocks it out at ground level. A
little local knowledge here: take at least a half-club more on the approach to
the well-bunkered green.