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Golden Tee Courses - Rustic Bridge
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Set amidst a
buzzing Manhattan city scene, Rustic Bridge is sure
to become enshrined as one of the greatest Golden
Tee courses in history.
Click on Images for a Video Fly-by of Each Hole!
HOLE #1 | PAR 4
The starting hole at Rustic Bridge is a par 4 that can be
looked upon in two ways. One is to lay up for a sure-fire birdie
or another is to be aggressive and attempt to drive the green.
Look for a right-to-left wind to offer the best opportunity to
make the green from the right side. The trees off to the right
of the tee box don’t leave much room to maneuver your ball so
try not to get too cute. A tree-lined road resides along the
left side of the hole and curls to the right between the fairway
and green. While driving the green is possible from the
roadside, the window through the trees is very small. Most of
the path slopes to the right and can be used to bounce your ball
onto the green, just watch out for the curbs! A long bunker
lines the entire left side of this large, flat green. A short
wall sits behind the green just in case you go long - go over
and it’s OB. Welcome to NYC!
Ah, it’s good to be back! Welcome to Golden Tee LIVE 2007!
If you’re anything like me, here’s some advice on #1 – play it
simple, take your birdie and run. You don’t want to celebrate
the release of the new courses with a bogey after hitting a ball
into the woods trying to look cool on the first tee. Trust me…
HOLE #2 | PAR 4
#2 is a straight-ahead par 4 that’s always reachable. A
gigantic boulder is located at the end of the fairway and feeds
downhill to a medium-sized green. The left side of the green is
partially blocked by an overhanging tree along the fairway and
the backside of the putting surface falls sharply down to a
road. Shallow bunkers guard the left and right so if you miss,
Wow, hole #2 puts in perspective how beautiful this course
is! You’ll notice that the pin is hidden since the tee box is
elevated. I recommend that you hit fly-by to determine where the
pin is located and use the Manhattan skyline as a guide to line
up your shot. Then all you have to do is hit the right club,
with the right speed!
HOLE #3 | PAR 3
The first par 3 at Rustic Bridge is pretty straightforward
and shouldn’t create any problems unless you land short. Your
tee shot has to carry over water to this large, deep green that
is guarded in back by friendly rock walls. Well, friendly as
long as you don’t hit them on a fly! A sidewalk winds in front
of the green and can be used to bounce on. Make sure that you
reach it, otherwise KAPLOOSH!
Yeah, yeah, Sobe… Why don’t you tell everyone the truth –
you play the small island 80 yards off to the right and chip it
in for birdie. Showoff!
HOLE #4 | PAR 5
The first par 5 of the round is a dogleg right with a
rock-faced embankment lying halfway up the left side of the
fairway. There are two different ways to attack #4. The first is
to hit your drive beyond the dogleg – which is further than it
appears - for a clean look at the star-shaped green. Another
option is to lay up near the front of the rock to leave a
high-lofted wood shot to the green over the gap in the trees.
Take note that the fairway slopes sharply to the right, which
makes this lay up more difficult than other holes. Normally, I
tend to play the first option as long as I am sure I can get
past the trees.
The only thing that would make this hole fun for me is to be
able to race golf carts on the crazy path in front of the tee
box! This can seriously be a tough hole to birdie, since the
approach shot over the trees (after the lay up) has to be
extremely precise to hit the somewhat small green. Just do
everything you can to make sure the ball stays out of the
stream. There’s nothing worse than dropping your second shot in
the water. Well, I suppose dropping your third… But you get the
HOLE #5 | PAR 4
#5 is a drivable par 4 that doesn’t line directly up to the
pin off of the tee. The view to the green is partially blocked
by trees that are near the front-left of the tee box. Water
resides between the tee box and green. A flat landing area is
off the front right side of the green but thins out towards the
back and banks down to a flowing stream with remarkably magnetic
powers! A deep bunker blankets the entire left side of this
long, narrow putting surface. A hook shot is required to hit
this green but you never want to turn away from the pin more
than necessary. Backspin is optional here depending on the pin
placement. Oh yeah, watch out for the pedestrians, they have the
right of way!
What’s up with these giant hills in the middle of Central
Park? Sheesh! This par 4 is very doable for the duffers of the
world. Be aggressive and plan on hitting the sand if you’re
going to miss the green. The chip is fairly simple and virtually
guarantees an easy birdie. Hey, it beats a bogey?!
HOLE #6 | PAR 4
The par 4 sixth is a dogleg left that is sometimes drivable
depending on the wind. A road runs through the fairway with
walls that can grab a lackadaisical lay up shot. Trees overhang
near the left side of the dogleg and beyond the fairway to the
right. The window to the green is narrow but achievable. You
will have to play a C-3 type of shot – more of a C-2½ -
depending on the wind. If it’s blowing hard right don’t even
think about trying it. Also, there’s plenty of room short of the
green to run a low punch shot up to the pin if necessary.
Allow me to clarify “sometimes drivable”. If you’re a good
player and get a favorable wind, it’s drivable. If you’re a good
player and get an unfavorable wind, it is not. If you are like
me, lay up and take your birdie…
HOLE #7 | PAR 3
This par 3 plays over water to a huge down 5°, left 4° green
that shrinks when the pin is on the left side. Deep, shapely
bunkers guard the right and left sides of the putting surface
and the back banks steeply down to the road so do not miss long!
Here’s my only advice: do not walk up and just crank this
ball off the tee. Anything long will result in major trouble. If
you are a mediocre player, just play to hit the fattest part of
the green, make your putt and move on. Overcomplicate this shot
and you will pay. Also, here’s a pointless observation - the
sidewalk needs a crossing guard.
HOLE #8 | PAR 4
#8 is a drivable par 4 that looks similar to hole #7 at
first glance, but isn’t. The tee shot is longer and plays over
the water to the front of the green where trees block the right
side. And no, the driver does not carry them so you have to use
a 3-wood to get over. A driver can sometimes make it around the
left side but the sand will come in to play. Two semi-deep
bunkers closely guard the front, left and back sides of the
green making for a challenging approach. Go long past the back
bunker and you’ll end up running down the bank on to the road
and meeting Mr. Unplayable Lie. Also, beware of the light pole
at the front left of the tee box. Even I have hit it…
Hey, Mr. Unplayable Lie and I are old buddies! But anyway,
this hole isn’t as bad as it looks. Just as on #5, there is a
lot of sand that will allow you to be aggressive and leave a
chip shot at worst. But, like Sobe says, there is a fine line
between aggressiveness and stupidity. Unfortunately, I get the
two confused all of the time…
HOLE #9 | PAR 4
The last hole on the front nine is a straight up
old-fashioned Golden Tee par 4. You may notice that you’re lined
up very close to the bunker along the left side of the fairway
by default. The bunker is playable at times but I don’t
recommend it just in case you get stuck on the lip. The idea of
this hole is to simply get past the trees that line the right
side of the fairway and give yourself a direct shot into the
green. The green is slightly elevated and sits on a rock-faced
hill with huge bunkers positioned on the front left and back
right. Water resides off to the left of the green and curls
around to cover most of the backside. Don’t miss long unless you
are way right!
It doesn’t get much easier than #9. Drive long and straight
off of the tee and be cautious of the small, elevated green on
your approach. Get your birdie, grab a hotdog and I’ll see you
on the 10th!
HOLE #10 | PAR 3
The back nine starts off with another par 3 over water to a
long, narrow green. Two shapely bunkers guard the left side of
the upward-sloping green. A few trees stand off to the right
side but will only come into play with a pin placement along the
right edge of the green. A bank sits in front of the green that
feeds back to the water while the backside crowns to a sidewalk
to give you a little breathing room. Anything beyond the
sidewalk will be out of bounds!
#10 is a prime example of a hole that separates a mediocre
player from a good player. The green is long and easy to hit,
but can be very tough to stick depending on the conditions. If
you are unskilled at cut shots and the wind is strong, I
recommend you ignore the pin and just playing for the green. The
9° slope makes a chip from the sand extremely tough.
HOLE #11 | PAR 4
#11 is a par 4 that is rarely drivable. The fairway doglegs
to the right and has trees “perfectly” positioned on both sides
of the neck. You can try to reach the green with an A-1 type of
shot only when the wind is blowing from right-to-left.
Otherwise, I recommend using a short club off the tee and
staying close to the trees along the right side. From there you
will see a clear path to the green. Water covers the backside of
this medium-sized, shallow green with bushes off to the left and
right. The fairway slopes hard towards the putting surface so
play it short to be safe!
Rarely? How about never for me! I aim for the middle of the
fairway off the tee and then play my approach shot short of the
green to get the favorable bounce on. This green is tiny and the
pond behind it is not, so be careful!
HOLE #12 | PAR 5
#12 is a par 5 with two options. One, go the long way around
the dogleg right but note that the tree positioned along the
left side causes problems with a big A-1 drive. At the dogleg,
trees line the right and will block off a potential clear look
to the green. The goal on #12 is to get past these menacing
timbers or you’ll have to curve an approach shot and increase
your chances of making a mistake. The green is long but narrow
and banks down to water so you’ll want to have as simple of a
shot as possible. Option 2? Look around a little bit and see
what you find… I can’t tell you everything!
Sobe, are you losing it? I looked around. I saw a gazebo,
some birds, some trees and a little postage stamp floating in
the water. What are you trying to say?
HOLE #13 | PAR 4
A non-drivable par 4, #13 requires a little thinking ahead.
The fairway doglegs slightly right and is separated by a cement
area with a statue and some NYC street vendors. If the wind is
in your face, lay back. Otherwise you may get stuck on the
cement and left with an unplayable lie. For your approach shot,
everything short of the green feeds to the right towards a bunch
of bushes. The concrete can be used to bounce onto the huge
If it’s one thing I know, it’s duffers. And duffers will
always try to carry the park because it’s simply more fun than
laying short! So, after receiving the drop from your inevitable
unplayable lie on the cement take note that your club will clear
the short wall that lies in front of the ball. And shame on you
for not listening to Sobe!
HOLE #14 | PAR 5
The third par 5 of Rustic Bridge, #14 has trees lining both
sides of the fairway close enough to the tee box to ruin any
attempts at a big A-1 or C-3 drive for distance. The idea here
is simple - get beyond the trees along the right while making
sure you stay out of the deep rough along the left. If the ball
does not make it past, it’s likely you’ll have to play a small
slice-shot to approach the green. Three shallow bunkers guard
the left and right sides of this small, circular green making
the second shot very tricky at times. Hit a good drive on #14
and you’ll be moving on with an eagle.
#14 is a tough par 5. It’s more about accuracy and less
about distance. If it seems impossible to reach the green from
where you leave your tee shot, it most likely is. Play smart and
try to conserve your scorecard before moving on to Rustic’s
HOLE #15 | PAR 5
Back to back par 5’s – now that’s what I’m talking about!
This hole is tough! Just keep trying and eventually you’ll get
the hang of it. The fairway goes straight out and doglegs hard
to the left with trees everywhere. To make it in two, look about
halfway up the fairway and you’ll notice a cement path with
benches on both sides. Obviously this path leads to the green.
Position a tee shot at the center of the path’s entrance for the
best opportunity but keep in mind that you’re still not out of
the woods yet (pun intended). Trees hang completely over the
cement forcing you to hit a low – but long – approach to the
green. This normally wide green is shallow from this awkward
angle. Here’s a hint: club up and swing soft.
I don’t know what’s harder, the fist shot or the second?
Again, #15 requires you to formulate a plan before teeing off;
otherwise you could wind up in big trouble. To reiterate, be
sure to land in the center to the entrance of the path! If not,
don’t even bother trying to hit it through. The worst-case
scenario is clipping a tree and bouncing into the thick brush
and from there, you’ll be looking at possibly two more strokes
just to reach the green!
HOLE #16 | PAR 4
Here’s a par 4 with a lot going on. Roads run vertically and
horizontally separating different areas of the fairway. You’ll
want to lay back short of the horizontal road while being
cautious of the downward slope. #16 is a short hole, so no need
to crush anything off the tee or you’ll wind up on the road with
an unplayable lie! Everything short on your approach slopes to a
gigantic down 7° green. There’s plenty of room around most of
the green, so be aggressive.
The main obstacle that duffers need be aware of is the
cavernous road that slices through #16’s fairway. While a big
out-wind makes it possible to reach the second fairway, there’s
really no need to ever do it. Sobe’s absolutely right (again),
lay short of the road, take your birdie and move on. Prove that
you’ve been eating your Wheaties off of a different tee.
HOLE #17 | PAR 3
Here’s an unassuming par 3 that is much nastier than it
appears. Trees are positioned on both sides of the hole, leaving
a small angle to attack this up 4°, right 9° unforgiving green.
I know what you’re thinking and NO; it’s not another Heather
Pointe #17. This is a tough, but fair hole. A sidewalk runs
along the left side and is separated from the putting surface by
a bank of grass that feeds down to most of the green. Hit the
bank on the fly and you’ll likely kick into the water that
stands beside the entire right side of the green. Here, the
mentality is to hit a shot that starts out right and hooks left.
This line will give your ball leftward momentum to help defy the
laws of gravity that otherwise bounces it towards the water. May
the force be with you.
Yeah, the real difference between Heather #17 and Rustic #17
is the salt-water sea that catches your tee shot in Scotland
verses the fresh water pond of Central Park. Close your eyes,
swing and hope for the best!
HOLE #18 | PAR 4
The finishing hole on Rustic Bridge is a staggered, drivable
par 4 that is somewhat different than the finale holes we’ve
seen over the years. An overhanging tree to the left of the tee
box forces a hook shot the over water to the round, uphill
green. A running path and a small grassy area stand between the
water and the green. Use this area to land a shot and bounce on
the green. Large, shapely bunkers curl around both sides of the
green towards the back, leaving a small grass area that feeds
The tee shot on #18 is the least of your worries. Like many
other holes of Rustic Bridge, the sand provides enough cushion
to allow you to aggressively attack the green. But don’t be
totally deceived; the hard-sloping putting surface makes a chip
extremely difficult execute. Keep it simple and you should be
walking away from Rustic Bridge with at least another birdie on