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teethofthedogvsthelinks Ok, let’s refresh some memories. I thought it would be fun to have a battle of the Best Holes at Casa de Campo, so I featured some of my favorite holes on campus and we are moments away from learning the results of the first round! I have prefaced at great length before that this is merely for fun and opinions and comments expressed by yours truly do not reflect those of any rational or well educated person. Off to the battlefield…. To read the ‘battle’ introduction, published last week, click here. Match-up #1: Teeth of the Dog #5 (1) vs. Links #12 (8) First of all, do not ask me if I stuck a hole in there from the Links for charity. Ridiculous. For that matter, if I hear one more person tell me how much they dislike playing the Links, I may have Maite take them out back behind the woodshed. The Links is legit, no questions asked. Quite honestly, there are a handful of holes I could have snuck in here from that course. Ask yourself this: If #13 and #16 from Links had ocean bordering their green sides and not an inland lagoon, would your opinion of them differ? One of my biggest rules of golf course architecture is a great golf hole is not so simply because of it’s proximity to beauty. With this rule in mind #5 at Teeth has a spectacular setting with the Caribbean Sea crashing up against the breakers and bunkers catching errant shots that aren’t quite bad enough to find Davy Jones’ locker. The beauty is breathtaking, that much is irrefutable, but that is not enough. Mr. Dye realized way back in ’71 that a par three didn’t need to be 200+ yards to be challenging. Pete eased off on the yardage and only busted our chops for 176 yards from the tips on this gem. He knew it was slightly downhill and predominantly downwind so that hitting this intimidating and smallish green would require only a middle to short iron. I am a strong believer in the green needing to suit the length of the approach shot. The right bailout area is well guarded for the faint of heart and the green undulation is minimal. Great holes do not need funky greens. It is obvious I am a Teeth #5 fan, but not just because of the pretty water, folks. This hole is a masterpiece because of the thought that went into it, not simply because it’s proximity to a beautiful setting. Yep, Links #12 had better really bring it, right? #1 seeds are #1 seeds for a reason, so Teeth #5 will be tough to beat. Links #12 is a gorgeous par four of 376 yards. A predominant wind of in and left to right makes it play longer and with the water on the right seeming like a bully that wants to steal your lunch money. The smallish and narrow green challenges, but provides an adequate target, especially since most golfers will attack the approach with a mere wedge or short iron. The tee shot provides options depending on your accuracy and courage. The closer you chose to get your tee ball to the green the narrower the fairway. My only critique of the landing area is not so much that the left side is riddled with bunkers, but more that said bunkers strike a resemblance to the long jump pit at the Rome Free Academy high school track. I have always struggled with bunkers, whether greenside or fairway, that have no form or lip…just one man’s opinion. This hole is an excellent one. Well done Pete. However, the vote is in… Teeth #5 defeats Links #12 by a score of 4 and 3. Below are our photos of these holes – just click on them to enlarge:
Article contributed by Josh Cupp, Casa de Campo’s head golf professional. Thank you Josh!