Old Marsh Golf Club Course Design

Pete Dye’s Course Notes

Pete Dye’s Course Notes


Hole 1

Par 4
Number one starts with a wide open fairway, with the sand hazard on the left along the lagoon.  There’s a knobby mound at the front right of the green, which partially hides the putting surface and establishes the character of the hole.  Make sure you don’t pull your approach to the left. There’s plenty of green to work with.
Tour       368
Championship    363
Member    338
Middle    316
Forward    283

Hole 2

Par 5
This is a downwind par five over water to a landing area plenty wide.  From the members’ tees, it’s 150 yards of carry to the fairway.  For your second shot, there’s a liberal landing area to the right.  Because the pin is on the left, most people want to hit it toward the green on the left side, but play it right and the green will open up to you.  The green is like a little upside down saucer, with one little pot bunker in front. 

Tour       537
Championship    500
Member    490
Middle    449
Forward    417


Hole 3

Par 3
This is a hole to make everyone environmentalist’s heart leap.  The entire right side of this par three is man-made, migrated marsh.  That is what looks to you like Mother Nature, was put in there by hand, carefully re-creating the natural wetland.  Keep your tee shot left, if anything, because there’s a little blind bailout area to the left of the green which you can’t see from the tree.  One of the tough things about this hole is that you can catch it early in the round.

Tour       200
Championship    194
Member    170
Middle    161
Forward    110


Hole 4

Par 4
Hit your tee shot across the marsh to the right side of the fairway, even through you can see the flag and the green toward the left.  There’s plenty of landing area right, and the green is receptive from that side.  The menacing bunker on the left is shallow enough to allow for a good recovery in the event of a big time hook or a pull, however.

Tour       401
Championship    371
Member    343
Middle    308
Forward    287

Hole 5

Par 4
A golfer could play this hole 100 times and never really figure out how to play it.  Hit the tee shot 120 yards short of the mound, so that you can then hit a full nine iron to the green. The wind prevails from the southeast, so the left side of the green is safe no matter where the rock is (the rock on the top of the hill gives you a line to the flag).  Get it on the green and go for two putts.  Don’t use too much club. There’s a pond beyond. You’ll find this hold to be a love-hate situation.

Tour       362
Championship    362
Member    318
Middle    287
Forward    230

Hole 6

Par 4
This is one of the few “brute strength” holes at Old Marsh, where placement and club selection usually prevail over power. Once again, aim away from the green to the widest part of the fairway, straight at the bunker of the left. You’ll then have a wide open shot to the smallish green.  The bunker on the right in front of the green is more to prevent the player’s errant short from going into the water than it is to provide another hazard.

Tour       469
Championship    444
Member    418
Middle    399
Forward    349


Hole 7

Par 5
Since you’re faced with a lake and a long bunker on the right side, you should favor the left for better results.  Your second shot should favor the left side of the fairway, which will provide you with the best angle to approach the green from (figure on three shots to get on here).  Again, the strategy at Old Marsh is to hit the ball where the percentages are best- and that’s by no means always at the green or the flag.

Tour       556
Championship    556
Member    540
Middle    500
Forward    430

Hole 8

Par 3
This is the best little downwind par three I’ve ever built.  Although you’ve got to carry it over water all the way, once you get there the green is the size of a football field.  The natural marsh on the right and the deep pine woods on the left should be enough to force your attention to the pin.  When it’s set on the right, you must aim your tee shot to the left side-cut it in over the marsh.  You’ll be very satisfied to get here in one, and then two putt for your par.

Tour       173
Championship    155
Member    146
Middle    137
Forward    116

Hole 9

Par 4
This should be a relief hole from the player: the members have the widest approach and fairway on the whole course. You shouldn’t have any trouble carrying the lagoon to a generous landing area.  Once there, be wary of the next shot.  The approach seems so bland, with nothing in front of the green, that you might be lulled into choosing the wrong iron.  Pay particular attention to the pin placement.  You could wind up with a 60 to 70 foot putt if you take too little (or too much) club.

Tour       458
Championship    437
Member    396
Middle    385
Forward    315

Old Marsh Golf Club Hole 9 from LINKS Magazine on Vimeo.

Hole 10

Par 4
I personally like this hole a lot: it proves that finesse is more important than brawn in the game of golf.  See the little cluster of pines and palmettos out in the fairway?  Place a long iron or five wood to one side or the other, then pitch over the bunker to the green.  Here’s another throwback: you can roll the ball onto the left side of the green, which is built to the existing grade.

Tour       313
Championship    313
Member    300
Middle    271
Forward    227


Hole 11

Par 4
Eleven has a liberal driving area, especially if you keep it to the right side.  Once again, the straight line is perilous as it means you have to cut off a  lot of the marsh on the left.  You’re better off keeping your tee shot to the right, where you’ll wind up with an open shot to the green.  The green itself is narrow and contoured, so get the approach up in the air and let it drop softly.

Tour      399
Championship    391
Member    345
Middle    328
Forward    278

Hole 12

Par 5
This is the shortest par five on the course.  The hazards here are chiefly mental.  The marshes, the wet prairie and the feeding birds frequently will distract you from what should really be a not-that-difficult tee shot.  The carry from the members’ tees is only 160 yards, and the landing area very generous.   Once there, hit your second shot to the right, short of the green.  The big hitters who go for it will find hard packed sand in front, and disaster in the form of a marsh beyond.  Like all the greens at Old Marsh, twelve has a planted collar of 419 Bermuda around the green, just high enough to make you chip, but low enough to make you want to putt. Chip it close.

Tour       502
Championship    478
Member    465
Middle    429
Forward    381


Hole 13

Par 4
The most difficult tee shot at Old Marsh features marsh on the left and out of bounds on the right.  Aim for the right-center of the fairway as there is more room on the right than is visible from the tee.  When you see that flag down to the left, you’ll subconsciously want to hit it to that side of the fairway, but resist the urge.   Greenside, there’s a bunker built along the right, and the green itself is flat, which is our motif at Old marsh.  We built the bunker up, the way 19th century courses were built, with “blind” parts of the greens.  Thirteen is a perfect example of the semi-blind green, due to the old time mound on the right. 

Tour       406
Championship    377
Member    366
Middle    336
Forward    274

Old Marsh Golf Club Hole 13 from LINKS Magazine on Vimeo.


Hole 14

Par 4
This is the longest par three on the course.  There is nothing in front of the green, and to the right there is a big collar of 419 Bermuda.  Hit it toward the right rather than to the pin, and you’ll wind up with better scores.  I have.  (The whole thing about Old Marsh, throughout the course, is to stay away from the marsh.  If you miss it right here, for example, you can at least keep it in play.  Miss it left, and it becomes part of the local ecology.)

Tour       215
Championship    190
Member    175
Middle    152
Forward    128

Hole 15

Par 4
This is a lovely dogleg left hole, with enough landing area on the right side for two football fields.  But because the green is to the left, over the marsh, players persist in cutting off too much of the dogleg.  Play it straight, and you’ll wind up with an open shot to the green.  From mid-fairway, you’ll have a medium iron to the contoured green.  If the hole placement is to the rear, make sure you take an extra club.

Tour       471
Championship    393
Member    387
Middle    323
Forward    312

Old Marsh Golf Club Hole 15 from LINKS Magazine on Vimeo.

Hole 16

Par 3
This par three, over water, is the tightest bunkered green on the course.  There’s no bailout area, but the green is quite large.  Although the bunkers don’t blind the green, some of the contours can fool you.  I will tell you this, however: a good iron off the tee will be rewarded on this green.

Tour       176
Championship    176
Member    162
Middle    145
Forward    124

Hole 17

Par 5
This fairway narrows away from the tee, but has plenty of room on the left side.  Aim your tee shot to the left.  Your second should be a position iron shot, aimed towards the right center of the green.  There’s really no reason to gamble here, since unless you hit it as far as a touring pro, you can’t get home anyway.  Whatever you do, don’t go left with your second shot, or your ball will become the property of the resident pair of Sandhill Cranes who live there.  By the way, their names are Pete and Alice.

Tour       573
Championship    530
Member    510
Middle    468
Forward    401

Hole 18

Par 4
The final hole plays downwind, and is a mirror twin of nine.  This one plays from left to right, and the member player has the widest landing area.  Keep it left, away from the lake.  You can roll it on from the front left, from where the contours make it more receptive.  With the sight of the Old Marsh Clubhouse in the background, your round should now be complete.

Tour       460
 Championship    440
 Member    395
 Middle    376
 Forward    316