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Best par 5s in golf

 

What makes a great Par-5? Risk and reward is a big factor which makes a par-5 great, the difference between a possible eagle chance and a bogey or worse can sometimes be very minimal. Also length is another factor which makes par-5s great, mainly because it is always fun too watch the tour pros swinging hard at the ball to reach in two. Let’s have a look at some of the best Par-5s in golf…

13th Augusta National – 510 yards

Classic risk and reward hole, only the longest hitters can cut the corner and make the hole considerably shorter. For the majority, a 3 wood up to corner of dogleg left will leave a long iron second shot off of a heavily sloping right to left fairway. This is not ideal when most of the field are right-handers and will be trying to hit a high soft left to right shot into the sloping green, which is guarded by a creek which guards the front and right side of the green and three large green side bunkers guarding the left and back sides waiting for the overly cautious shot. Those choosing the three shot approach will find it no easier due to the layup area being on a severe down slope making control of the wedge shot that much more difficult.
Perhaps the most famous shot on the hole would be Phil Mickelson’s second shot, at the 2010 Masters final round. Having pulled his tee shot into the trees on the right  Hitting his second from the pinestraw and over 200 yards away Mickelson had two choices, lay-up or go for broke. He went for it and hit the shot to 4ft, although he missed the eagle putt he made birdie and won by 3 shots over Lee Westwood.

15th Augusta National – 530 yards

A Classic risk and reward Par-5 on the world famous Augusta National course, many championships have been won or lost on this hole. Most recently in 2017 Sergio Garcia made an eagle on the hole to make a play-off with Justin Rose which he would win.
The tee shot must be hit down the right side of the fairway otherwise tall pines that cover the left half of the fairway will prevent a player from reaching the green in two. A successful tee shot down the right side of the fairway, enables a player too have the option of going for the green in two. Requiring a mid to long iron depending on the wind, to a wide but shallow green that slopes heavily from right to left. Steep drop offs on all sides and water guarding the front and the overly conservative shot that goes long make this one the most daunting second shots in golf.
The lay-up is not much easier with the wedge shot being played off of a down slope making it that much more difficult to get the ball close.
Gene Sarazen hit the shot heard around the world in 1935 when he made an albatross two on the hole two make it into a 36 hole play-off which he would win comfortably.

18th Pebble Beach – 543 yards

One of the most iconic holes in golf, the 18th at Pebble Beach was not always as famous as it is now. Originally the hole was just a standard length par-4 of 379 yards, but after the 1919 U.S. Amateur was held at Pebble Beach, the organizers said that the hole was very boring and not suitable for a finishing hole. So three years later it was lengthened by 170 yards to 543 yards which it still remains to this day.
Risk and reward is to be had on hole, with the ideal tee shot threading the narrow gap between the lone cypress tree in the right side of fairway about 270 yards from the tee and the ocean that lines the entire left side of the hole. Should this be achieved the option to go for the green is still not clear, with a huge cypress tree in the front right side of the green, it’s branches block the right side of the green meaning any second or third shot must be in the left side of the fairway or a player will be forced to negotiate with those branches along with four deep greenside bunkers one of which follows the left side of the fairway .
Once a player reaches the green the greatest of touch and feel is required on this subtly sloped and fast green.
The most iconic shot on the hole is Tiger Woods’ 273 yard slice around the cypress tree in the fairway, at the 2010 US Open, starting out over the pacific ocean and slicing back 50 yards to within 20ft for eagle.

16th Firestone CC – 667 yards

One of the longest Par-5s in existence and the longest on the PGA tour schedule, the 16th at Firestone country club can tip out at a monstrous 667 yards from the tee, and is nicknamed by Arnold Palmer as the ‘Monster’ after he took a triple-bogey eight at the hole during a tournament. In the 2017 WGC Bridgestone-Invitational Dustin Johnson bombed it 439 yards, for the longest drive on tour since 2013. It is the signature hole at Firestone country club south course.
For all but the longest of hitters, it is a three shot hole. A drive that avoids the fairway bunker at 280-290 yards of the tee will catch a speed slot taking it down to 350+ yards off the tee, then a decision must be made as to wether a player can reach and clear the pond that guards the front of the green, long is no good either as two bunkers await as well as deep rough. A layup has to be well thought out so too avoid the lone bunker some 120 yards short of the green and the creek running down the right side of the hole.

18th Kapalua – 663 yards

The Par-5 finishing hole at Kapalua is a dogleg from right to left and can be played at 663 yards from the back tees. It is the second longest Par-5 that is played on the PGA Tour, behind the 667 yard 16th at Firestone country club. Off the tee it is generous down sloping fairway that cambers to the left, over 230 400+ yard drives have been on the hole, the longest being in 2002 at the Tournament of Champions by Tiger Woods, who blasted it 498 yards down the fairway. This is still the longest shot recorded by shot link on the PGA Tour.
Once a player has hit the very wide fairway, there are two options, go for it or lay up. Going for the green requires a crisp drawing long iron or wood pitching short right of the green and using the slope of the green to take the ball to the hole. It can be very easy to overturn it into the deep left hand bunker or worse into the trees someway below the level of the green. Anything not hit well enough may find the heavy rough and bunkers short of the green which stretch back over 150 yards back from the green.
Bubba Watson famously went Driver-Driver-putt for an eagle. The second driver was off the deck from 304 yards and sliced over 50 yards using the slope of the fairway to guide the ball to within 12 feet, quoted by the commentators as ‘the shot of year’ as it was the first day of competition in the new year.

16th Sawgrass – 528 yards

This par 5 is all about the second shot, as the tee shot requires a small draw to setup the option of going for the green or not. Going for the green requires a very precise mid to long iron to a green sloping heavily from left to right and sloping away from the player at the back of green. Anything missing just left will fall down into a collection area or even two small pot bunkers waiting, leaving a delicate up and down for birdie. The margins between an eagle opportunity and disaster are very minimal especially if the hole is playing downwind with firm ground conditions because of water that borders the green on the right and back sides.
In 1994 during the final round Fred Couples cut a two iron toward the back right flag to setup an eagle-birdie run that would give a round of 64, the lowest final round in players history and also give him the win.

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