This article appeared in the 2013 Winter issue of LINKS.
ONE OF THE REASONS we like it is it’s subtle. It’s a hole that has to be played a number of times to reveal its nuances and detail. There’s a central bunker in the fairway that creates all kinds of issues with both the thought process and shot selection. There’s a lot of fairway to the left of it but then you end up in a valley with a blind approach into a left-to-right crosswind over a bunker that’s cut into the dune short and left of the green. You can play straight over the top of the bunker and the ball will bumble down onto the green very nicely, but such a shot is an intimidating assignment. The ideal drive is down the right side next to some beautiful blowout bunkers. The green has a very subtle spine, or ridge, that runs lengthwise, splitting it in half: It’s something you don’t pay attention to from the fairway but if you get on the wrong side of the green, it’s a testy two-putt. There’s also a big, dramatic bunker to the right of the green that gets a workout, but there’s plenty of room to bail out left and short. A natural little ridge in the fairway about 50 yards short of the green is just high enough to mask what’s behind it and make the green seem closer than it is. It’s a lot of little things like that. The 5th isn’t a hole you see many photographs of because its substance is not captured easily in a picture.
The 395-yard 5th hole at Sand Hills Golf Club might not jump out at you, but we think it’s one of the best on the course