Suffolk Golf Course’s scenic stop

Published 10:46 pm Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Suffolk Golf Course’s signature hole is No. 12. The par four, which winds along Lake Meade (or is it the other way around?), is not a long hole, measuring at 365 yards from the back tees. It’s not a particularly difficult hole, at least at first glance.

Even the course’s club pro, Eddie Luke, nominates Suffolk’s sixth hole, a long, uphill par three, or No. 11, a par four with a sharp dogleg that often causes players to need a longer second shot than a drive, as tougher challenges. No. 3, a long par four with its fairway lined on both sides by heavy, unforgiving woods, is also tougher than No. 12.

As for getting the most out of a round, and if needed, a penalty stroke or two, No. 12 is his recommendation.

“It’s certainly the most scenic hole we have. There’s a lot of nature, a lot of wildlife out there,” said Luke.

“Most people playing the hole for the first time will come back (into the clubhouse) and tell us that was their favorite,” said Luke.

Luke tells about golfers who’ve gone back out to the hole to take photos and says that when professional photographers have come to the course, No. 12 winds up being the subject.

Geese are common spectators on the hole, as are folks fishing on the lake.

Just a few days ago, Luke said, he was on the hole crossing the long wooden bridge that connects the tee boxes to the rest of the hole.

“You catch anything?” said Luke to a fisherman. “He reached down and held one up. It had to be four pounds. It was a big fella.”

As for playing the hole while taking in the views, other holes around Suffolk might be bigger tests, but two good shots are still needed to avoid a big number.

The drive must clear a small branch of the lake, but the water also is in play for a ball going too far left. A drive sliced right makes the angle to the green range between tricky and dangerous.

Lake Mead is most obvious from the tee, but it’s most threatening on the approach to the green, which is something that gets newcomers by surprise, said Luke.

“If you miss by about three feet off the left of the green, it goes down the hill, and everything rolls into the water,” said Luke.

The lake curls from short and left of the green, just in front of a large, deep bunker, along the left side of the green, to behind the green to penalize any approach misjudged by an iron or two.

On the right, shrubs and the 13th tee mean a player doesn’t have a lot of room to miss there. The sand short and left of the green is a fairly safe spot, until seeing it from inside the bunker.

“The bunker’s 10-12 feet deep,” said Luke. “There’s really nowhere to bail out except for missing short, in front of the green.”

“You need a solid drive and a good, accurate second shot,” said Luke. If nothing else, a good camera can make up for missing out on either of those.