Woodstock Country Club

Woodstock, Vermont

4th Hole / 403 Yards / Par-4

Robert Trent Jones, Sr. (1961)

Architect Robert Trent Jones, Sr. had a long and distinguished career. He was responsible for countless designs worldwide that clearly made an impact on the golf explosion that happened in America during the 50’s and 60’s. Jones was the guiding hand for the creation of the existing Woodstock County Club a facility that dates back to its establishment in 1895.

Woodstock was created to provide quality golf for those staying at the renowned lodging establishment just minutes away from the course.Woodstock

The 4th is a superb example in using what Mother Nature provided. The dog-left hole commences from an elevated tee — roughly 30 feet above the fairway. The bend point is roughly 250 yards and the fairway tapers down to no more than 16 yards across at its narrowest.

Players have to decide how bold or safe a play they wish to play when at the tee. Those opting for the bold route attempt to cut the corner but the risk is considerable. Kedron Creek is perilously near the left side so any error on that side will likely mean a watery grave. Push one’s tee ball to the right a series of trees can mean a pesky obstacle on one’s second shot.

But the real genius of the hole then begins with the approach shot. The putting surface is wonderfully positioned just over the same Kedron Creek which serves as a barrier to clear. The green is also diagonally angled from lower left to upper right and when the pin is placed in the far right corner the width of the putting surface goes from a charitable 18 yards across to a more stingy 13 in the rear area.

For those opting to bailout away from the menacing creek there’s a hillside left of the green and any ball that gets stuck in this area will face a severe downslope to a green that runs away towards the creek.

The brilliance of the 4th hole is that players of all handicap levels have strategic decisions to make at every point when playing the hole. There are bold plays — there are also cautious ones. The key is realizing what actor Clint Eastwood famously said in one of his Dirty Harry movies — “A man’s got to know his limitations.”

The 4th will yield a low score but it won’t ever just give it away without wise thinking and sound execution.