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Joe Duball's NH Golf: Toughest holes of summer

By JOE DUBALL
August 20. 2017 5:38AM
Michael Martel (DAVID LANE/UNION LEADER)

AMATEUR GOLFERS playing competitively in New Hampshire this summer have made the game look easy at times.

But like any golfer, those competing in New Hampshire Golf Association and New Hampshire Women's Golf Association events rin into challenging holes on the course.

New Ipswich's Mike Martel, arguably the NHGA's most successful golfer this summer after winning the State Am and Stroke Play Championship, can attest to feeling taxed on the links.

One hole that stood out to Martel was the par-3 12th hole at Rochester Country Club during the Stroke Play Championship. Martel never scored lower than par and birdied No. 12 twice across four rounds at Rochester during tournament, but the hole managed to leave impression on the 24-year-old.

"You know you're in for a test when you get a 200-plus yard par-3," Martel said. The 12th hole played at 220 yards from its far tees during the tournament. "The distance of the tee gives you something to think about, but then you have to work with cut of the green all week. There was just a lot going on there."

Jim Cilley of Ridgewood Country Club watches his chip shot fly on the 17th hole during the State Amateur Championship at Bretwood Golf Course in Keene on Wednesday. Cilley cited Rochester Country Club's 17th hole as his challenge this summer. Bretwood's No. 7 on the North Course, a double dogleg par-5, was also singled out as a tough one. (DAVID LANE/UNION LEADER)

Rochester proved to be an overall bear with just three other golfers joining Martel at even or under pat for the week. Tilton's Jim Cilley was among the group in the red, but he too found his most difficult hole of the summer at Rochester: the par-4 17th.

"It's a dogleg left and I am mostly a cut player off the tee," Cilley said. "There are trees right and a hazard left if you overcook a draw. The fairway is severely sloped right to left with only a couple flat spots. With a good drive I would have anywhere from 8-iron to wedge into the green that pitches back to front and severely right to left."

Like Martel, Cilley factored the greens into the hole's difficulty. He said being right or above the pin would force a three-putt in most instances.

"Hard to say I would rather miss the green short or left and chip on a hole with a short iron in, but a lot of the time that's better than a pure shot that leaves you right or above the hole." Cilley said. "I watched guys four-putt the green from 10 feet away in the Stroke Play. I managed to play it reasonably well but it was a true challenge for sure."

Cilly also pointed to the the 450-yard, par-4 18th hole at Canterbury Woods CC as another challenge. Cilley said the hole not only calls for a good second shot on a deceptive uphill slope, but the entire hole plays into the wind.

Hooksett's Matt Paradis found his hardest hole at Bretwood Golf Course in Keene during the State Am. The par-5 7th hole at Bretwood's North Course played 526 yards, the second-longest hole on the course, and carried a pair of doglegs. The back-and-forth play from the dogleg was a concern for Paradis, but it wasn't the most daunting task the hole had to offer.

"It's more or less the blind approach shot you take into the green," Paradis said. "I mean you have to hit two good shots to get into the perfect lay-up spot first. But even with a wedge in, you have a deceiving green that's uphill and plateaus. It's tough to judge, but stringing together three shots and coming away with a birdie makes for a pretty good hole."

Paradis' home course, Concord CC, carries some tricky plays on the back nine, according to the Southern New Hampshire University golfer. Paradis deemed Holes No. 10, 11, 12 and 15 a "fun stretch" with the 450-yard, par-4 15th capping the tough stretch with an "underrated green," according to Paradis.

The 17th hole at Eastman Golf Links in Grantham during the NHWGA Amateur Championship was a test for Betsy Knights. With water carrying the right side and out-of-bounds stakes stretching the left side, the 384-yard par-4 didn't allow players a lot of breathing room.

"Basically it's a placement shot (off the tee) and you want to get it as far out there as far you can," Knights said. "On the second shot, you will need to hit it anywhere from 130-170 yards into a somewhat narrow but long undulating green."

The sticking point for Knights ended up being the tee shot, which she admitted 

"I am a good target player and it's one of my strong points, but this tee shot literally gave me nightmares," Knights said. " I think I told my playing partners every day somewhere along the front nine that I was freaking about the 17th tee shot."

Knights chose to go with a 5-wood in all three rounds on the 17th and said each of the opening shots some of the best she ever hit. She parred the 17th all three days of the tournament but said it didn't come without "lost sleep and severe fear."

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A TRIO of titles were handed out at the NHWGA Senior, Legends and Classic Championships on Tuesday at Sky Meadow Golf Club in Nashua. Dana Harrity, of Abenaqui CC in Rye, won the Senior Division (ages 50-59) with a 76 in the one-day, 18-hole tournament. Dale Nims, of Lochmere CC in Tilton, fired an 88 to win the Legends Division (ages 60-69) for the fourth consecutive year. The Classic Division (ages 70 and up) was led by Pembroke Pines CC's Jean Johnston and her 91.

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THE 28th ANNUAL Community Crossroads Golf Challenge will be held Sept. 14 at Candia Woods Golf Links. The 18-hole scramble benefits the individuals and families served by Community Crossroads, an Atkinson-based charity offering support and services to those with developmental disabilities and acquired brain disorders.

Four-person teams can register for $160 per player. Check-in begins at 8 a.m. followed by a shotgun start at 9 a.m.

Interested teams or sponsors can contact the Community Crossroads offices at 893-1299 to register or visit communitycrossroadsnh.org to to download a registration form.

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DERRYFIELD COUNTRY Club in Manchester will host the 26th annual Manchester Crimeline Golf Tournament on Sept. 28. Four-person teams can sign up as individual players for $125 each or as a team with the Hole-in-one package for $650. Hole sponsorship for the event is $100 per hole. All proceeds go to benefit the Manchester Crimeline

Check-in for this rain-or-shine event is 7:30 a.m. with a shotgun start at 8:30 p.m.

Visit ManchesterCrimeline.org to download a registration form or for more information, which can also be obtained by calling Larraine Lencki at 867-8388.

jduball@unionleader.com


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