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No. 14 – Par 5

(537/498/475/423)

Hills and wind gave Poipu Bay’s 14th its teeth


Get an insider’s tip on how to play the uphill par-5 14th hole at Poipu Bay Golf Course from golf writer Mike Dauplaise. (Image courtesy of Patrick Koenig)

How would you play it?
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This is the first par-5 we’ve seen since the sixth hole – a stretch of eight holes. The 14th is where Poipu Bay begins to show its teeth on its way to a spectacular finish.

The landing area for the tee shot sits below a crest in the uphill slope and is blind from the tee. Your target is the line of five palm trees that frame the back of the green at the top of the hill. The fairway is wide and slopes from right to left. There are two bunkers waiting down the left side and another farther up on the right that pinches the fairway.

Despite the short yardage for a par-5, this is a three-shot hole due to the severe uphill and headwind. Only the biggest hitters can take a crack at reaching this green. Tiger Woods did it once in the PGA Grand Slam of Golf with a 3-wood second shot hooked into a tucked pin. With his shot only halfway to the green, an impressed Woods said to his caddie, Steve Williams, “Look at that shot I just hit.” The ball stopped 10 feet from the hole and Woods made eagle on his way to one of his seven victories here. Sounds easy, but he was Tiger Woods.

For the rest of us mortals, the second shot must avoid a bunker in the right-center of the fairway about 100 yards short of the green. Getting the right yardage and choosing the correct line make the third shot challenging. The green sits at the top of the hill, making the putting surface blind from the fairway. The wind usually blows hard into you and from the left.

A series of four bunkers around the left side of the green and a solo bunker short-right make it a priority to successfully judge those approach variables. The green slopes right to left in line with the general slope of the terrain. There’s not a lot of trouble on this hole, but it’s one that requires three solid shots to score.

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