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As you approach hole #15 of the Teeth of the Dog, the first thing you see as you drive the cart along the winding path lined with bamboo on the left and past Oscar De La Renta’s old home on the right, is the breathtaking clear blue water of the Caribbean sea.
With the Caribbean sea lapping along the entire right hand side of the hole – including the green, hole #15 of the Teeth of the Dog is without a doubt one of the most spectacular, yet challenging holes of the Teeth of the Dog course. So once you’ve finished admiring the view and are ready to tee-off it is normal to feel a little intimidated as your caddy hands you your driver.
Here are a few tips to make your memories of this hole as sweet as the view.
1.) Steer clear of the Caribbean!
A water hole is the most daunting hole in golf for higher handicappers that slice the ball. I recommend 2 things for these golfers; a) Aim left b) Take a lesson from me, so that we can curb that slice! For all players, obviously a shot to the right (directly into the sea) is a double bogey or more, making the left the obvious solution – especially as most people don’t realize how much room there is to the left! Yes there are a few fairway bunkers and a couple of troublesome trees, but look on the bright side – you won’t loose 2 strokes and a $5 PRO V1 ball! So aim left and play stress free.
2.) Select the right club off the tee
The yardage of this hole is very short! No matter how long or short you hit it off the tee, select a wood, hybrid, or long iron that you are most accurate and confident with. Play smart, its much better to have another long iron into the green, than a long iron into the green with a stroke penalty on top of that.
3.) Approach Shot to Green
Lets say you have made the smart play off the tee and you are on the fairway. Now no matter how far you are from the green you must (a) take one extra club (b) once again aim left because the Caribbean Sea creeps back in front (and around) the green.
4.) Chipping? Try Putting from off the Green
A quick tip for the tight cut areas around the green is to use the putter. For example, assuming you listened to the tips above and you ended up just left and over the green in the swale; there are 2 very common misses or mistakes that people make (a) they hit the shot fat or behind the ball, so the ball rolls back down the slope or (b) they catch the ball thin and the ball sails onto the “Teeth” of the Teeth of the Dog – the jagged rocks below. Avoid these two scenarios by using the putter to advance the ball onto the green.
The 15th green is very unique. It is very wide yet short from front to back. There are 3 portions on this green which you really need to think about when deciding where you want your ball to finish. The front left portion of the green slopes down and away from the ocean, so a shot just below the hole would be ideal. The center portion is a bowl shape so the ball usually rolls towards the dead center. Now, the right portion is a red flag on your approach shot – this is the smallest portion and sits right above the cliff. Going for this pin takes a lot of courage and remember to take an extra club on your approach shot if you are feeling bold.
Director, JimMcLean Golf Academy
Contact:(809) 523-3333, [email protected]
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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!