The 186-/158-yard reverse redan hangs on the rim of the course's interior quarry, its wide-oval green tucked completely behind the hole's dominant feature -- a roughly 60'-x-100' sand trap spread flat below the putting surface. It's no exaggeration to say the bunker's as big as a house -- some Long Island homeowners will recognize those dimensions from their real estate survey.
It's quite similar to another reverse redan previously covered in Closer Looks -- #4 at Stonebridge Golf Links. A raised knob on the left feeds a slope across the green and can nudge certain shots downhill toward the flag. Short on the right side is the most damaging area to miss -- Stonebridge for its water hazard, Tallgrass for its mega-bunker. And the landscape around each par-3 enters the equation as a deceptive element that can rattle even the most familiar guests.
On a course where you can see from one end of the property to the other with few obstructions in between, #8 presents the player with what appears to be an abundance of space and firm ground. It makes an enticing proposition -- let your guard down a bit, maybe think about what to eat at the turn, and in return it'll send you on your way with a par and some stored energy for the into-the-wind par-5 ninth. But it's not as it seems. In fact, there is plenty of space to miss, it's just that very little of it, if any, is amenable to that promised par. Taking the hole lightly is a mistake.
[ABOVE RIGHT (click to enlarge): #8, as seen from the tee. ABOVE LEFT: Keeping tee shots away from the bunker leaves a downhill putt or chip from the apron for a decent par opportunity. BELOW RIGHT: Deep rough and two traps are unwelcome surprises behind the green. On a day (like this) when the pin is in the back, par, from here, is nearly out of the question. BELOW LEFT: So then why ever miss long? Because nobody wants to be marooned in this monster trap up front.]
Long, the green falls off down a slope smothered in some of the course's stickiest rough. Impossible to see from the tee are two rear bunkers, both cut into the rough behind and below the center of the green. To the flag's right, the same downslope comes into play. Backing the slope is the cartpath and, beyond that, the namesake growth. On the left side, missing the green and elevated apron nets an increasingly upsloped and blind pitch to a green running away.
And, of course, there's the short miss, which can range from your typical greenside sand shot in a best-case scenario to an "As long as I don't skull this ball to the ninth tee I'll be happy"-type of recovery. The shorter the miss, the worse the result -- balls settled into the nearest end of the bunker might need to clear 25-30 yards of sand just to reach the front edge of a very shallow green.
Success on #8, whether you're on the tee or deep inside the main bunker, comes with very precise distance control. If you're able to launch a high-arcing iron shot that lands soft or bites hard inside a 10-yard window, that's ideal. Too strong or too much roll and it's off the back side, likely down into the rear traps. Too much finesse and it's in the front trench. Same goes for those already stranded in the bunker with plenty of soft footing to clear. Unless you're a pro, a whole host of things could go wrong from here.
The best route to take is toward the green's left edge. Here, a well-placed shot uses the contours to bounce and roll in the direction of the pin with minimized risk. Deep misses should avoid the rear traps; short ones equate to a bailout and will likely stay on the apron. Most aggressive is an attack on the center of the green. But being off on distance by just a few yards will often net a perilous sand situation and a bogey at best.
For more on Tallgrass Golf Course, check out the course flyover.
PREVIOUS CLOSER LOOKS:
Bethpage Red #13 -- (8/14/2012)
Great Rock Golf Club #11 -- (5/31/2012)
Bethpage Yellow #12 -- (1/5/2012)
Stonebridge Golf Links #7 -- (9/15/2011)
Lido Golf Club #16 -- (8/25/2011)
Stonebridge Golf Links #4 -- (7/29/2011)
Great Rock Golf Club's new 12th green -- (6/6/2011)
See all Closer Look posts