The 12th at the Lester George designed Providence Golf Club in suburban Richmond, VA is a downhill par 5 that plays to 553 from the back tees and 530 from the middle. It would be ridiculously easy to get home in two if it weren’t for a pair of trees that sit directly in the line of play. Like Anthony Davis and DeMarcus Cousins, these twin towers clog up the middle and dominate the hole.
Highly skilled players will be thinking about getting home in two, but the trees impact your strategy right from the start. Unless you’re up for aiming at someone’s back yard and snap hooking it around the trees with your approach, you’re better off hitting a fade into the green, as you have room left of the green for days. The bunker left of the green is not a bad spot for a bail-out. The cart path and out of bounds are dangerously close on the right. In order to set up that approach, your tee ball needs to be in the right spot. Hugging the left edge of the fairway leaves a straighter shot into the green. If you can put it right on the left edge of the fairway, you have an angle at a sliver of the left side of the green without curving the ball. If you hang your tee shot out to the right, you’ll need to hit a left-to-right banana to have any hope of hitting the green. That left bunker looks better and better the farther right you hit your tee shot.
The trees may be even more difficult for mere mortals. In order to have a reasonable angle into the green, golfers are forced to lay their second shot uncomfortably close to the cart path and out of bounds fence. But the braver you are with your lay up, the more you are rewarded with a better angle and shorter approach. You can bail out to the right with your second, but you’ll likely leave yourself in the rough with an extra 20-30 yards to get home.
George is famous for strategically placed specimen trees, and the 12th at Providence is a perfect example of this.