The new 9th hole at Quivira Golf Club
Much of the fanfare tied to Quivira centres around several holes that seem suspended into air while jutting out from cliffs high above the Pacific Ocean. The scenery is spellbinding.
The interior holes often receive scant attention but a number of them possess architectural qualities worthy of attention. The 9th - formerly the 8th - is a superior hole using the existing landscape to full effect.
Although listed at 399 yards from the championship tees, the net yardage is greater given the roughly 20-foot rise in elevation from tee to green.
The hole turns left in the drive zone and golfers attempting a bold play from the tee had best realise that the commensurate skill level had best be front and centre as native desert area awaits shots venturing too far left.
Jack Nicklaus designed Quivira and his work at the 9th showcases how terrain can play a major role in determining a golfer’s outcome. Those able to work the ball from right-to-left can use the fairway terrain to full advantage as the land moves in the same direction.
But those venturing too far right will only add to the distance on the second shot and likely will face a more challenging stance.
Getting into ideal position off the tee is only half the battle. The green is nestled considerably above the fairway and approach shots must successfully account for the elevation encountered.
“The second shot is one of the most demanding on the course from a ball striking perspective,” said Antonio Reynante, Director of Golf. “It’s not uncommon to encounter a strong wind in concert with the 20 feet of elevation change. There are times when the approach shot can play three clubs longer.”
A solitary deep bunker fiercely guards the left side of the green and must be avoided at all costs. Approach shots travelling too long will then have to negotiate a slippery putting surface moving swiftly from back-to-front.
Golfers are provided a bailout area to the right of the green but the bar for success when there does not lessen as a deft chip will need to be played to get near to the flagstick location.
Designing par-4 holes listed under 400 yards is no small feat and often times such holes can be overpowered given the gains in distance provided by modern golf balls and equipment. That’s not the case here.
The 9th at Quivira brilliantly uses the existing terrain and while the Nicklaus team artfully shaped the final result, the overall qualities of the hole stand front and centre.
When holing out be sure take in the panoramic view with the sparkling blue Pacific Ocean off in the nearby distance.
Photos courtesy: Quivira Golf Club.