In this 18-part email series, we'll give you a sneak peek and a chance to get to know the new Braemar Golf Course Championship 18 Course.
Hole 4 - Par 5
(530, 504, 474, 409, 345 Yards)
The first of three par-fives on the front nine, the fourth hole is also the first of the split-fairway holes at Braemar. Starting from the ridge that also serves the third green, the tee shot hugs a grove of Oaks to the right to a landing area that fades away from the golfer. Beyond the grove, the expansiveness of the Braemar site comes into view for the first time.
Design Perspective from Golf Course Architect Richard Mandell
One reason I am not a big fan of trees on golf courses is because, frankly, they cover up some of the best land features of a site. At Braemar, that was very evident to me in the design of the fourth hole. A scattering of random trees covered up a bluff that sat about thirty feet above another flat directly to the left. Right away, I zeroed in on the possibility of a series of bunkers cut into the slope that connected the two areas.
From there, the strategy of the hole began to evolve with the split fairway idea, something I am always seeking out in my design efforts and was able to pull off multiple times at Braemar. In order to make both routes work, I had to develop strong incentive for golfers to take the longer route to the right considering it was much higher than the direct route.
One feature of the upper route we emphasized is the chance for the better golfer to use the strong right to left slope to shape a wood or long-iron from right to left. Properly executed, the shot should kick on the downslope and roll onto the putting surface from there. Another favorite aspect of the hole is the way the upper fairway seamlessly rolls into the putting surface, allowing for the approach to affect the shot.