Horses for Courses.
That saying rings ever true especially in golf. I have a friend who plays to a rather high handicap most of the time, but everytime he steps onto Tropicana, he beats the crap out of us. Another guy I play with plays his homecourse blindfolded and probably can beat me with just a driver, wedge and putter; but when he steps into other courses, he ends up like a wet towel on a walrus’ head. Which absolutely does not make sense, but it sounds like a nice saying for being crap.
And the same for me. There are just some courses that suck the life out of you even before you step on the first tee box (I am looking straight at you, Seri Selangor), but there are also some courses, that you simply cannot explain how the hell you cannot score there. The course is good, the maintenance is good but everytime you step on that course you play like a tapir who just stepped into a pile of horse dung filled with rusted nails. Palm Garden is one such course. Tropicana, for me, is another ridiculously looking easy course that I just cannot score on.
Ah, Mines. Mines is like a warm chicken soup cooked by my mother waiting for me on a cold, rainy evening. Mines is like the wondrous smell of my favourite noodles cooked by my mother’s loving hands whenever I come home from a long day at college. Mines is like the delicious taste of my mother’s version of french toast, with eggs and butter, the way that Elvis Presley loved it – and the way my mother does it – on a Saturday morning, where I would eat the entire loaf in one go.
Playing there after struggling a lot with my new weight loss and my complete loss of distance in my irons, I managed an 11 over 82. It was GOOD. I had a very good game with 2 near birdie misses and 2 par saves that did not happen due to me burning the hole. The last time I stepped into mines was before my game went south, it was almost a year back where I shot 81.
This time, I’ve come to accept my fate as a normal distance golfer after my weight loss. Do not tell me it’s my swing. When I was 81 KG, I was hitting my pitching wedges into 130m and my 9 iron into 150 meters. It was delightful. Now, I am using 7 irons to 150 and 8 irons to 130. So while losing weight does have its benefit, now that I am a manageable 73kg, hitting distance with my irons ain’t one of it.
So seeing I am sort of averaging a low 80s for Mines, here’s a writeup on how to navigate it if your skillset is more or less as limited as mine.
Let’s start with Hole 1.
You are standing at Hole 1, trying to loosen up on your first tee. Hole 1 is a nice broad fairway, so go ahead with a driver. Don’t aim too far right because you might end up in the first bunker, but if you play a draw like I do, then aiming at the second bunker will do. You will never reach it. Once teed off, you should be about an 8 iron or 7 iron away into an uphill green. Aim right. It’s ok. Left is disaster and anything long is disaster, so make sure you don’t end up going long. Short and right of green is fine. One chip, one putt for par or two putt to escape with bogey.
This is a dastardly par 5 that curves almost like a horseshoe. The tee off is easy, you won’t screw it up. Just don’t go left. Right is fine but you may end up in the rough. The key is your second shot. Always play to the right. I don’t care if you are up on a slope, but stay away from the left like it’s a gigantic pile of cat shit. It’s all water there. Third shot, depending on where you are, I would opine to play short again. If you overhook it you are in the water. So take away the problem, play short and one chip and putt or two putt – par or bogey.
Very tough hole. It’s the index. Hardly anyone will reach in 2 here, so you can take a 3 wood or a driver, but the key is to stay away from left. Right rough is also fine. For the second, you may want to lay up to a distance you are comfortable with, or like me, I usually just take a 3 wood and try to hit as far as I can. To escape again with bogey here is a big deal.
Don’t go right. There is deceivingly big area to bailout on the left, so go left and go long. Even if you are in the trees, it’s sparse enough to hit out from. From there, an 8 iron or 9 iron should see you in front of the green or you can even go a bit long. This should be a par hole or even a bogey is OK.
This is a difficult par 3. I used to go in here with an 8 iron or 7 iron, but nowadays I need a 5 iron in there. You probably want to aim a bit right and see if you can tease it back in. In any case, a bogey is absolutely fine for this hole.
This is a very short par 4 and if you avoid water on the right, you should definitely try to score here. A smart play is to just hit your irons and with a wedge put it on the green. We usually go for the driver, leaving us with a very awkward flop shot which I won’t recommend. You should par this or better.
This is a very intimidating par 3 but actually, if you aim left at the flowerbeds with the “MINES” word, you will find yourself reasonably safe for a bogey at the least. Don’t mess with the right, bail out if necessary.
Very very nice par 5 and definitely scoreable. Your job is just to hit a reasonable drive that doesn’t go right, then place it to around 100m from the green. DO NOT GO RIGHT. There is a valley of death down there. With a wedge you should be able to put it on. Careful of this green, it’s devilish tricky because of the severe slope, so even you do not par, a bogey is a good score here.
The final hole isn’t easy because if you go right on the drive, you are pretty much dead, and the fairway is narrow. You can opt for a 3 wood to stay on fairway, then a hybrid to get near the green – one chip, two putt for bogey.
So you have completed the first 9 with hopefully 8 bogeys and 1 Par. Not bad at 44.
This is a tough hole to tackle because if you go too far right, you have to contend with the giant tree in the middle of the fairway. Too far left you end up in the hazard. You are better just taking a wood and steering it slightly left. You will be with a 6 iron or 5 iron and you can punch it to the green if possible. Bogey is a good score here.
Tough par 3. Don’t go right, that’s it. Bail out on the left, and focus on chipping on the green, two putt for bogey.
Scoreable par 5 for sure. It’s short. If you can avoid the bunker on the right on your tee, this hole opens up a lot. A hybrid second should set you within wedge distance to a generous green. You should par this or better!
Index hole, you need your driver to work here. Stay right and then try to not be aggressive on your second. Too much trouble right and left. So avoid the temptation for a hybrid but instead play to a chipping distance to the green. Chip for 3 on and if you escape with a bogey, I guarantee there will be your playing partners (fellow hackers) who will blow this hole.
Don’t mess with the right. Take a 3 wood and pop it to the middle of the fairway. Too far left and you are also dead. From there, either a long iron and a hybrid into the green should set you up for par or bogey.
You should be able to score. A 3 wood on this very short par 4 should leave you with a wedge to a downhill green. Take a club shorter, because anything long here is dead. You should par this or better.
Take advantage of the easiest par 3. A 9 iron or 8 iron should get you on the green – two putt for PAR!
We call this Tun’s hole, because you can see our Prime Minister’s house next to the green. It’s also a tough par 4. You absolutely need a good drive to the left, as right is dead. From there, a long iron or a hybrid should get you on the green…you might opt to play short to avoid the bunkers, but go for conservativism here. Bogey is a very good score.
The Top Glove hole because we always aim for the Top Glove sign. NEVER challenge the left! You think you can cut the dogleg but it’s hard because the OB eats into the hole on the left which we cannot see. We always think we make it but we never make it. So aim right and whack it. You probably want to set yourself up for a 3 on here and two putt for bogey.
So on the back 9, you should hopefully get 6 bogeys and 3 pars for a fairly good score of 41 because this nine is a par 35. A score of 41-44 is 85 which is a very good score for a hacker!