The Quechee Club / Highland Course

Quechee, Vermont

7th Hole / 430 Yards / Par-4

Architect: Geoffrey Cornish (1970); Revisions Brian Silva (2009)

Topopgrahy. It’s such a key element when superior holes are discussed. Generally, flat land, devoid of any movement, provides for drab and predictable holes. Talented architects often attempt to use the natural features of a given site by creating holes working in concert with the land. The adage “a hole looks like it’s been there forever,” is a the highest compliment one can say about an architect’s efforts. The 7th hole on the Highland Course is well done and the main strength comes with what Mother Nature provided.

The hole runs parallel to the Ottauquechee River although it takes an extreme shot way left to actually find the water hazard. There’s an elevation change of roughly 30-40 feet uphill and when elevation changes of this type are involved it can be hard to design for all types of golfers to be tested fairly and thoroughly.

Geoffrey Cornish smartly added several tees to accommodate the different skill levels. — totaling 3,800 square feet for all locations. The fairway turns left in the drive zone so players must marry sufficient distance and shot shaping in order to arrive at the most desired locations. To flight a ball appropriately with the driver is one of golf’s most consummate skills.

The turning point of the hole is protected by two fairway bunkers on the right side. It takes a carry of 250+ yards to fly over them it but the purpose of the bunkers is to “squeeze” golfers back towards the fairway which is also protected by pesky trees that dot the other side of the hole. In addition, the fairway has different levels — to reach the optimum second landing area requires a tee shot to carry 270 yards.  Adding to that challenge is a fairway that tapers considerably to a demanding “choke” point. There is an aggressive line of attack that can be taken by players need to execute flawlessly as the risk quotient rises noticeably.

One of the shotmaking challenges with uphill holes is when elevated greens are involved. Players do not have the comfort zone in seeing the landing of their approaches and must reply upon overall feel for the adjusted yardage amount. Two greenside bunkers hug the right side of the green. When pin placements are close to that side it takes a high skill level to get near the hole. At 6,800 square feet the putting surface provides sufficient landing area and includes subtle contours often hard to discern.

Silva did nothing of substance to the 7th other than removing a grove of ugly Red Pine trees separating the green from the 8th tee. However, that small change opened up nearby vistas of the Red Barn and ski hill. Beyond its architectural pedigree — the 7th offers a beautiful setting particularly when the leaves turn into a range of colors during the Fall season.