Much publicity, quite rightly, surrounding the recently opened Danzante Bay Golf Club is centred on the majestic but equally treacherous par-3 17th. The hole commences from an elevated tee and provides a mesmerising panorama with the Sea of Cortez dominating the backdrop. It is an amazing site indeed.
While the 17th is certainly a major thrill and shotmaking challenge, there is another hole that may not have the pictorial pizzazz, but has even more sizzle and demands.
The par-3 3rd was among the final holes finished by architect Rees Jones. The hole is similar to the design element found at the world renowned 16th hole at Cypress Point. The hole is shaped like an upside down letter “L”. The tee boxes are staggered and it pays to know precisely one’s skill set because the 3rd is like the shark in the movie “Jaws,” - you’ll be swallowed whole if the slightest mistake is made.
The hole is framed in a box canyon and the putting surface is at a slightly higher elevation than the teeing grounds, so pulling the right club is an absolute must. The wind pattern can swirl so what you are feeling at the teeing areas and what is happening in and around the green can be vastly different, so a solid strike is crucial.
Between the tee and green is a massive drop-off to no man’s land. Anything hit short will forever be doomed.
But, fortunately, there is a bailout area to the left and if any player has doubts it is best to avail oneself to ensure no more than four is scored.
The green provides sufficient width - 25 yards - and length - 40 yards. There is also a spine separating the left and right hand sides. Those bailing out to the left will have to judge well regarding the amount of break that’s involved - whether chipping or putting.
The scariest situation is encountering a “blue flag” which means the pin position will be in the far right corner. From the tips the listed yardage of 208 is not indicative of the additional carry one needs to make to ensure a safe landing.
When you stand on the green and look back towards the tee you see a spectacular vista with the hotel in the distance and Danzante Bay immediately behind it.
The 3rd at Danzante Bay will likely remain in the shadows of the more pictorially featured 17th, but in terms of overall demands the 3rd takes no back seat and will leave an indelible impression and possible a lesser weighted bag as a few balls are sacrificed when encountering its rigorous demands.