Hourglass Shape Not Always Flattering at Putnam County Golf Course’s 14th Hole
MAHOPAC – Some people would kill for an hourglass figure. But the hourglass figure that is the 14th hole at Putnam County Golf Course is a killer in and of itself, especially when the pin placement is dead center of the green – or right in the narrow middle of the hourglass.
Club Pro Jim Woods has only been on the job at Putnam County Golf Course since April, but he learned the hard way how to play 14.
“I was participating in a ‘Beat the Pro’ event here, and I watched as one of the guys hit a hole-in-one by hitting it to the back of the green and having it run down to the hole,” Woods recalled. “And I thought, ‘That’s the way to do it!’ ”
Woods is finding out more and more about the course he took over three months ago as part of the “appliedgolf Management Group.” But he’s come to love No. 14 for its scenic beauty and engaging battle of wits it throws at golfers.
No. 14 plays 160 yards from the blue tees, downhill over water with the hourglass-shaped green. The backdrop is a beautiful old stone wall when you look down from the tee, a gorgeous view as you set up. But that gorgeous view belies the danger.
The undulating green is guarded by three bunkers placed strategically near the hourglass, and, of course, the pond.
“Most people are taking one club less (than the usually would use) because it’s downhill. There’s plenty of room to miss short, but too short and you’re in the water. Too long and it’s a tough chip because you’re chipping back down the hill,” Woods explained. “The safe play is to miss in front of the green and take your two-putt for par and get out.”
Designed by noted golf architect William F. Mitchell, the course opened in 1959 and was known as Putnam Country Club. The club remained private until 2004 when it was purchased by Putnam County and became the first municipally owned course of the county.
Appliedgolf came on in April to manage the course and the grounds department for the county, and “we’ve made a year’s worth of changes in three months,” Woods said, including bunker renovations, overall golf operations and teaching and lesson programs.
Woods, who was running his own golf school in New Jersey called The Woods Golf School, and was previously the head pro at Forsgate Golf Club in Monroe Township, N.J., has come to love Putnam County Golf Course.
“It’s beautiful,” he said. “It has great topography, a great layout and a great shape. It plays 6,800 yards on the course, but it’s sneaky. It plays every bit of 7,000 (yards) because of uphill lies and uphill shots.”
Editor’s Note: This is the third installment in a summer series highlighting the favorite holes of Putnam County golf pros at their respective courses. These might not necessarily be the toughest holes on the course, but they’re a favorite for a reason. If you are interested in contributing to, or being featured in, the series, contact Sports Coordinator Rich Thomaselli at 845-834-2298 or firstname.lastname@example.org. We featured the fourth hole at Centennial Golf Club’s Meadows course in our June 27 issue, and the 17th hole at The Garrison Golf Club on July 18th.