Play Your Best: StrategyFebruary 17, 2015

It's a Beast

How to handle a par 4 that goes forever

As a designer, I sometimes like to create what I call a "drive and a hit" par 4. In other words, the hole is so long that you're required to play your Sunday-best drive, and then you still have to hit a lengthy approach shot to reach the green. In the case of the 18th hole at Trump National Doral (illustrated here), site of the WGC-Cadillac Championship March 5-8, a really long hitter can knock it on in two with an iron. The amateur golfer, however, might be wise to play the hole as a three-shotter and purposely lay up for a pitch-and-a-putt par or no worse than bogey.

Trump National Doral

Mark McCumber

ON THIS HOLE IN HISTORY

WHEN SAFE TURNED SCARY

Back in 1985, I was playing the final hole of the Doral-Eastern Open in a group with Mark McCumber (right), who had a two-stroke lead. McCumber purposely drove his ball 50 yards right, protecting against the water. But for a couple of minutes, panic set in, as some fans and a TV cameraman said his ball had lodged in a tree. Soon McCumber's ball was found in the rough. He played out to the fairway, then wedged on and two-putted for a bogey and a one-stroke victory over Tom Kite.