Every golfer strives for pars and birdies. And every golfer loves a challenge. So, what can make those pars and birdies even more special? Scoring them on a course’s most challenging hole. At North Oaks Golf Club, the most challenging hole is No. 2 — a long par 4 (a par 5 for the forward tee players). It is a significant challenge, and according to North Oaks First Assistant Golf Professional Nick Sage, the challenge starts right out of the gate.
Why Hole No. 2 is the Most Challenging
“What makes it so challenging is the demanding tee shot,” Sage says. “With water right and close to the fairway, any shot that drifts right has a chance of catching the hazard. Anything right of the water lands in a very difficult area with trees and demands a very precise punch out shot back into the fairway. A miss left, and you are in thick rough with a long shot second into the green. There is also a very large tree about 100 yards off the tee to the left that will intimidate any golf ball. If you avoid the hazard right and the tree to the left, then a fairway bunker might come into play to the left, if you hit it long enough.”
The hole measures from 361 yards up front to 465 yards from the back tees, and for many players, the length of the hole alone offers plenty of challenge. But there is so much to think about on this tough test of your game that you shouldn’t just “grip it and rip it.” Make sure to take the entire hole into consideration before striking that tee shot.
“Hole No. 2 is a very good golf hole,” Sage says. “Looking down the tee you can’t see much of the green because it is a slight dogleg to the right. You can’t see the hazard to the right either, but there is a very large pole that lets you know exactly where you can’t hit it.”
While Sage says No. 2 is a very pretty hole, you shouldn’t be caught up in its beauty because your work isn’t done after getting off the tee.
“The green is rather large but very tricky,” he says. “It slopes from back to front, and the breaks in it are very subtle. A large greenside bunker sits to its left and the hazard runs along the entire right side of the green.”
So, you want to test your game on the course’s number one handicap hole, but it’s a good idea to come with a game plan. As a PGA professional and a North Oaks golf pro, Sage has played the hole often and brings a plan to the tee on No. 2. But that plan can sometimes change depending upon conditions.
How to Master the Hole
“Because of the length of the hole, I always hit driver,” Sage says. “My miss is typically to the left. So, if I hit one left, then I have a very long shot into the green — usually around 200–210 yards. At that point, I muscle a 4-iron and hope to catch a piece of the green. If you land it short of the green that is a great spot to be. If I hit a good drive and am in the fairway, I usually have anywhere from a 6–8 iron into the green. It all depends on the wind and how good I hit it.”
Sage says that par is a good score on No. 2 (“birdie is phenomenal”), but bogey is more typical — and still a good score. That, perhaps, is not desirable, but that’s what makes for a great challenging hole. The test starts early in the round at North Oaks Golf Club, so if you come with the right mindset and are ready to play, a par at No. 2 may set you up for a decent round.
“There are not many holes that golfers do not like at North Oaks,” Sage says. “Each hole presents its own challenges. The first few holes at North Oaks are very challenging, and if golfers can manage their way through those, they are playing great. If they love a good challenge, then it is a great hole for them.”