You can bet the 12th hole at Royal Greens Golf & Country Club will catch out even some of the world’s best at this week’s Saudi International. For amateurs, it’s a beast of a hole but stroke index 1 at the Troon International-managed property needn’t be a card-wrecker. Here, Director of Golf Ben Stimson guides you through the tricky par-4 in the latest instalment of our series designed to help you conquer the Middle East’s toughest holes.
The 12th hole at Royal Greens comes after a nice stretch of birdie holes and certainly tests all levels of golfer. At 459-yards off the championship tees, this par 4 is a long, skinny and slightly uphill hole where an unfavourable left to right prevailing wind will push any errant tee shot into the desert and, even worse, out of bounds if you are not careful.
If you are successful in finding the small fairway by avoiding the well-placed fairway bunker, then there will be a long iron, perhaps even a fairway wood, into the extremely undulating green that has severe run offs. Dave Sampson from European Golf Design certainly wanted to test every element of your game at the 12th. –with Kent Gray
Tee shot: An elevated tee allows golfers to visualise their tee shot. However, the strong left to right wind seeds doubt … do you aim left and let the wind bring the ball back, or play a draw of the tee into the wind? Moreover, the fairway bunker at 250 yards off the tee is perfectly placed on the right and will catch a slightly wayward tee shot; forget reaching the green in two from there. If you are able to find the fairway or even the first or second cut of rough, you’ll have a chance of reaching the green in two but the odds will still be against you.
Approach: Accuracy and precision is key to your approach shot and anything on the green in regulation is a job well done. While there are no greenside bunkers to avoid, sometimes you wish there was to help stop the ball rolling down the severe run offs. If your approach shot falls short, goes left or right then you are left with a very difficult chip shot to try and save par.
Closing out: The 12th hole gets even better once you’ve finally reached the green. Welcome to one of our most undulating greens on the course which tends to slope away to the run off areas. That makes hitting any approach shot close difficult. The three-tiered green allows many ‘interesting’ pin locations for our members and guests with everyone looking forward to hearing the ball finally drop and moving over the par 5, 13th hole.
BE AT 1 SERIES:
Tame ‘Sea View’, stroke index 1 at Saadiyat Beach Golf Club
Tame the 15th, stroke index 1, at The Els Club Dubai
Tame the 5th, stroke index 1, at Tower Links Golf Club
Tame the 15th, stroke index 1, at Yas Links Abu Dhabi
Tame the 7th, stroke index 1, at Dubai Hills Golf Club