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The visually stunning hole #8 of the Teeth of the Dog is one which has helped the course claim the title of the Caribbean’s best golf course on multiple occasions- and one of the holes affectionately referred to by course designer Pete Dye as the “seven holes created by God”.
This is the last of the first four holes skirting along the edge of the Caribbean, so beautiful it even boasts its own beach! Yet as breathtaking as it is, with all three tee boxes precariously perched on the water’s edge, as well as more than its fair share of bunkers this, my fellow golfers, is one of the most demanding holes on the course. Follow my tips and let me help you avoid the Caribbean and drive off a happy camper.
1) Tee Side
My mentor, Jim McLean came up with the 25% theory of basically breaking the game of golf into 4 categories; short game, long game, mental game, and management game. You see, when standing on the 8th tee you can be mentally distracted by the crashing waves, which is why it is a great time to focus on where you will tee your ball up. For the right handed player, if you tee up on the right side of the tee box your focal point is to the left – or rather the Caribbean Sea – a shot which will equal a double bogey or more. If you tee off in the center of the tee box you have a better chance of keeping the ball dry. However, if you tee off on the left side you have the best chance of avoiding the water. So, remember trouble left… tee up left. Trouble right… tee off right. Trouble on both sides… good luck!
2) Club Selection
This is not a long hole, but it is very narrow. So you have to choose a club off the tee that you hit the straightest and are most confident with. That means you don’t have to hit your driver or 3 metal.
So you have hit a confident tee shot to the right center of the fairway. Now you are faced with a slightly downhill blind shot. As you know, this is a very demanding shot because you have a bunker short left and the Pete Dye signature “deep pit” on the back right side of the green. The best way to approach this green (no matter where the pin is) is short left because 90% of the time the ball will roll down to the center of the green and you will finish with a nice birdie putt.
4) Deep Pit
So if you have failed to hit the green and ended up in the “deep pit”, my first tip or word of advice is – good luck! This is probably one of the most difficult shots in golf. No matter where the pin is you do not have much green to work with – so that rules out a regular chip/pitch shot. You need to use your highest lofted club and play a flop or lob shot. The checklist in order to play this shot correctly is; 1) stand in a very wide and slightly open stance (because we want the club to come into the ball on a very shallow plane), 2) loosen your grip and 3) open the clubface (enough so that you can rest a wine glass on the face). Now with the setup mastered, we are going to swing fairly aggressively at it and slide right under the ball. This is a very difficult and risky shot that I recommend practicing before experimenting on the course. If you are still a little uncertain of actually trying the flop, use the putter.
5) Green Contour
Like I stated before, the right side of the green slopes towards the Caribbean sea and the center of the green. The center of the green flattens out a little bit, but there is still an influence for the ball to break towards the water. The left side of the green is sloped slightly back to front. The total green contour is not too difficult with many mounds or slippery slopes. Actually getting on the green is the tricky part!
Good luck and hit ‘em straight!
Director, JimMcLean Golf Academy
Contact:(809) 523-3333, [email protected]
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- Adult: US$150
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The “Golf Tips” by Eric Lillibridge series of articles is a re-print of “Conquering Casa’s Most Challenging Holes” published in every edition of TODO Casa de Campo magazine-guide, the ultimate resource for everything TO DO in the Casa de Campo resort – from sports, to dining, to just admiring the views and the nature!