Last week I wrote about holes-in-one and posed some questions about how your course takes advantage of the marketing and customer relationship opportunities arising from these blessed events.
In doing my research for that article, I spent some time studying the “Perfect Shots” feature on the Minnesota Golf website and noticed that in 2018 4 Minnesota golfers reported experiencing the rare feat of scoring a hole-in-one AND a double eagle at the same time by acing a par 4.
Two of those miracles occurred on Wapicada #7, one at Deer Run #17 and one at Medina #9.
In my experience, most golfers love “drivable par 4s” … until they get burned and then they hate them… and then after a string of birdies they love them again. If you’re a big stick, drivable par 4s offer the chance to let the big dog eat with a realistic chance at eagle… and they remind the other players in your group that you can do things that others cannot. For shorter hitters like me, drivable par 4s offer legitimate birdie opportunities and a break from those punishingly long approach shots that we’re forced to hit on many holes. And if a drivable par 4 has some personality around the green complex, it can often offer a variety of thrills and spills and the possibility of a very wide range of scores.
Among my favorite close enounters with drivable par 4s:
- My young playing partner John G. absolutely crushed a drive on one of the several drivable par 4s at the old Lakeview Course in Mound just a month before the course was scheduled to close. We watched the ball draw gently and take a bounce up onto the green and directly toward the hole. Due to the course contours, we lost sight of the ball when it was about 20 feet short of the hole but it was tracking right online. I think we broke a cart land speed record speeding up to see whether the ball was in the hole and we didn’t actually spot the ball for quite awhile as it had settled directly behind the pin about 3 feet from the hole. Of course, John missed the putt and I chipped up and made a tricky 10 footer for my birdie… 2 routine 3s.
- My playing partner James took a run at the aptly named “Tease” at StoneRidge (#13). All you had to do from the tees James was playing was hit the ball about 285 yards in the air over tall grass and a huge waste bunker. The ball faded a little too much and disappeared into waist high grass about 40 yards short and right of the green. Aha, I thought with my own ball squarely in the middle of the fairway a short wedge away from the green… I’m picking up some shots on this hole. A few minutes later, James had his miraculous 4 and I had my tail between my legs after an ignominious 5. James had made a spectacular out from what I had thought was an unplayable lie and the tiny elevated green had not been kind to my approach shot. I resolved to get even next time (not with James… with Tease).
- One of my old Accenture colleagues sneakily zipped a low runner to the left of the infamous tree guarding the short par 4 #3 at Chaska Town Course. Three of us in the foursome thought it was a great shot that was going to leave a makeable eagle putt. Our fourth just smiled and said “too bad… that’s gone”. Sure enough, the pessimist was right as the ball had traveled just to the left of the ideal line and apparently kept on trucking right into the pond guarding the left side of the green… that ball was never heard from again.
- As a teenager, I loved playing the short 11thhole at Hillcrest Country Club in Eau Claire.Everyone in our group would take as big a swing as we could with our old persimmon woods and every so often someone would hit a screamer directly on line with the pin. Once the ball cleared the huge slope in that fairway, the ball was out of sight and you wouldn’t see it again until you got up on the green. No one I knew ever holed out from the tee, but there were several times when we were in suspense right up until we got to the apron of the green.
The bottom line… drivable par 4s create great anticipation and many vivid memories.
Does your course have at least one drivable par 4? If not, why not? Give your big-hitting customers a chance at some real glory… and give everyone who plays your course at least a shot at a birdie and a possibility of seeing something spectacular happen.
Feel free to share your favorite drivable par 4 anecdotes below.