Monday, June 11, 2007

The Raven Golf Course at Snowshoe: A Closer Look

I had the chance to play the Raven Golf Course at Snowshoe Resort in West Virginia last week, and it was a splendid round on a challenging and unique course. It was typical mountain golf: lots of blind shots and plenty of elevation changes. Fortunately, there were much more downhill holes than uphill holes, with most of the elevation changes upward going from one green to the next tee. When starting your round here, the first thing you notice is the grass. In most of the area away from the fairway the grass has grown to over 18 inches high, resembling something you may see at a links course. This tall grass consumes golf balls at an alarming rate. If a shot manages to find this grass, you definitely need to keep an eye on the exact spot, or your ball will be gone. Accuracy is much more important than distance. Here are two of my favorite holes:

4th hole: The par-4 fourth hole has one of the largest elevation changes from tee to fairway I have ever seen: it is about a 200-foot dropoff. This makes club selection next to impossible for a first-time player. Needless to say, driver is NOT the club of choice for your tee shot, despite the 433-yard length of the hole. The hole has a large landing area which extends into a very narrow fairway guarded by hazards on either side further down. A driver will go well past the landing area and almost certainly into the hazard if not kept straight.

13th hole: This par-5 is a fantastic risk-reward hole. It is certainly reachable in two shots, and the drive is quite easy. But even in prime position, the second shot that cuts the corner is between two rows of trees AND over water to a shallow green, making it nearly impossible to hold the green for a possible eagle. The fairway continues down the right-hand side and a decent second shot can still leave a fairly easy up-and-down for birdie.

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