Real drivability is a Cool Golf Thing

Yes, *you* can.

Let’s face it - there are drivable par 4s , and there are “drivable” par 4s. The latter tend to be 335- to 350-yard holes where the course website says something like “Big hitters may be able to drive this green...” This might be true for the Dustin Johnsons and Cameron Champs of the world, but it's not really true for anyone else. “Big hitters” who play 99% of courses regularly don’t drive the ball much more than, say 270 yards.

Which is why, at 269 yards from the tips, the 17th hole at Coeur d'Alene Resort, the ur-1990s resort course, is a real, honest-to-goodness drivable par 4. With other scorecard yardages of 257, 236, 229 and 208 yards, it is a hole that almost every single golfer can at least consider trying to drive. It is relatively simple-looking and flat, and the course's 2,500-foot elevation helps shots fly just a skosh farther and straighter than downland visitors are used to. The green, canted almost Redan-style from right to left, facing a huge, deep bunker, sings a better siren song than most peers.

It is a shame that there are so few par 4s in the 255- to 280-yard range. It almost doesn't matter how the hole is laid out; merely existing in that yardage range accords it a unique level of inherent excitement. Coeur d'Alene Resort is all about the famous floating green at the par-3 14th - the quintessential "signature hole," right down to the "Certificate of Achievement" golfers can take home with them after putting out and boarding the "Putter" boat back to the mainland. But from an architectural perspective, the 17th is a superior test because its drivability is a tantalizing fact, not an empty promise.

1 Min Read
May 24, 2019
Stay dry, my friends.

Tim Gavrich is a Senior Writer for GolfPass. Follow him on Twitter @TimGavrich and on Instagram @TimGavrich.
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The 10th hole at Riviera CC site of the Los Angeles Open (or whatever it is now called) is a classic driveable par 4. I have seen touring pros get suckered into trying to hit the green and take a bogey on what is a relatively easy birdie hole if played the way the designer laid it out. One of them was a multiple majors winner who butchered the hole completely. If the tee shot is hit out to the left at the right distance, it is an easy flip wedge onto the green which is at about a 30 degree angle to the tee with LOTS of sand along the right all the way to the green and a front portion that is crowned.

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Commented on

Watching the pros give in to temptation on that hole is an annual golf-watching highlight for me, Bob. The green is really severe (perhaps more so than George Thomas envisioned), which twists them up in knots. I'd love to play it one day.

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Real drivability is a Cool Golf Thing