In Tribute to the Riviera's famous 10th, what are the best short par 4s you can play?
The 10th hole at Riviera Country Club is one of the holes I’d most love to play some day. Seeing as though my Hollywood and SoCal connections probably couldn’t score me tickets to a George Lopez Tonight taping, I’m left with settling for some of the great, public access short par 4s I’ve teed it up on.
First off, is the 9th hole on the River Course at Blackwolf Run. I love the three options off the tee: aim well left and safe and be left with a long, short iron in, take it over trees and leave yourself a shorter, but delicate wedge shot - or play it over the river and through trees and go for the green.
I don’t automatically love everything Pete Dye does, but thanks to holes like the ninth that bait you into trying to be Superman, the River course is one of my favorites. (Course review: Where bad course management goes to die: The River Course at Blackwolf Run).
While the 16th at Bandon Dunes is another must-play, A controversial shorty is the 14th at Bandon Trails at Bandon Dunes Resort. It’s got one of the prettiest tee box views at the whole resort, even though its well off the coastline. The green is practically un-holdable if you’re in a bad position in the fairway, and plenty of golfers have muttered to me it should be blown up. I’ve never parred the thing in three tries, but I’d rather it was left the way it is.
Over in Scotland is a great, short par 4 closing hole at North Berwick. I love this hole because it’s a lot like the 18th at the Old Course in St. Andrews (wide, double fairway shared with the 1st hole on the left, and parked cars all down the right side). It’s even got a “valley of sin” but it guards the right, not left side of the green.
I like how so many links in Scotland, like St. Andrews, Gullane No. 1, North Berwick and Prestwick end with short, par 4 birdie tries and not the typical, 450-yard dogleg left you see so often in modern course design.
My favorite new short par 4, or at least the best blend of scenery and decision-making, is the Makai Golf Club at Princeville’s 14th hole, which I’ve written about plenty by now.
None of the above are as tough as the Riviera’s 10th though (Maybe Bandon Trails’ could come close). It just goes to show that all it takes sometimes is a tiny, awkwardly-shaped green to cause fits to anyone’s game.
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