Friday, 23 December 2011

A Hackers Guide To Royal Ascot - Hole 13 (Keepers)

Having walked off the hardest hole on the course, it's a short stroll to the tee box on the thirteenth and on paper at least the second easiest hole. "



Keepers" is another par 3 coming in at 186 yards and the Royal Ascot website describes the hole thus: "A short hole that is deceptively long Rely on the given distance, it is correct. As you walk to green you will see the dead ground that foreshortens this hole. The only one on the eighteen not to have a bunker."



The 13th hole - a par 3 and no bunkers. What could possibly go wrong?
As the view from the tee shows, it looks a nice easy hole. It is providing you club correctly because there is a steep bank at the front of the green and a gully before the putting surface that will eagerly gobble anything coming up short or hit too low and it will leave a testing chip often from a sloping lie.

The tall tree to the right of the green will catch anything pushed and if you are too far right may well stymie any sort of direct chip to the flag. Left of the hole is a ditch that separates the hole from the adjacent twelfth fairway and will catch anything hooked. There is also a large oak standing guard to the left of the green surrounded by lush heavy rough and so anyone hitting a draw into the hole needs to be sure they don't over-cook it.

The view back to the tee
The green is fairly big compared to many on the course but it one of the most contoured and runs steeply from front to back and from right to left as you look at it. Hitting the green is no easy task but once safely on the putting surface, there is plenty of work still to be done to secure a par. It is only stroke index 17, but even the low handicappers find it a challenge and it regularly plays well over par in monthly competitions and belies its innocence.

An elephants graveyard of a green. Very contoured and very hard to putt on successfully
The green is also surrounded by trees and the canopy means this green is often shaded and so can be much wetter than the others which has an effect on the speed of chips and putts. There isn't really a good place to miss this target. Left is lush rough. Way right is deep, deep rough and the potential for a lost ball so slicers beware. Short is short grass but with the big slope up to the front of the green to contend with.

As the picture illustrates it is a real roller-coaster and depending on the flag position, the unsuspecting visitor can be made to look very foolish through no real fault of their own. It regularly catches seasoned members out too. A birdie here is a real rarity, well for me at least. A par is really like getting a shot back on the field and a bogey four isn't the end of the world.

Like all of the par three's we've seen on our meander around the course, it has the potential to put a real dent in any scorecard. This one in particular with it's cunning design, dead ground and tricky green doesn't really need tricking up. There has been talk over the years of introducing either a pond or a bunker short of the green but in my opinion it should be left as the designer intended. Another small but beautifully formed hole.

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