Tobacco Road contains much of the best work of Mike Strantz. I love Stranz's work. He creates strategic options which demand precision with both accuracy as well as distance control. The first hole is a small taste of what is to come at Tobacco Road. You face two large mounds left and right with a bunkered corridor. Past this opening lies a wide fairway which angles in and will kick your ball toward the center. Your second shot must navigate a small two mound hazard left and right which again has a broader opening beyond. The green tilts slightly away and is guarded by a bunker on the right which has a 5 foot face. This is just the gentle first hole.
The second has a forced carry over a massive waste area bunker to a wide open fairway with a bunker sitting on a hill to the right which mostly just adds visual appeal. The green slopes away and the hole is shorter so a short iron approach is most likely. The green is nearly circled by bunkers and has a false front with a slight raised front.
The third is the first par 3. It seems quite innocuous. Bunkers left and right. It is about 150 but the green is 60 yards deep with several buried animals in it so proper aim and distance is required.
The forth is a par 5 which has a narrow driving lane which opens up with bunkers right and a waste area left which forms the dogleg left. A decent drive which nears the left side allows for a go at the green in two.
The fifth is a classic risk reward par 4. You can play out to the right and have a 200 yard lay up with a short iron in. The risk option is a 250 to 270 carry from the disc and ripper tees over a waste bunker. The green has a massive false front which could reject your shot to the bunker.
Six is a 150 ish par 3 with a very wide green about 60 yards which is only 15 yards deep. bunkers protect it virtually surrounding it.
Seven is a down hill wide fairway to a green which is severely sloped and is over a lost ball waste area. Bunkers circle the entire green.
Eight is a par 3 with a kidney shaped deep green with a bunker on the right forming the kidney. There is massive slope and undulation to this green.
Nine is the first truly special hole which introduces the back side which has many. The tee shot is to an open fairway but appears tight as the visual area in front of you has very little fairway and mostly waste area. The second shot which will need to rise about 25 feet above the fairway must stay left of that 25 foot hillside rise which is bunkered on the right and cluttered with stairs and bushes and a massive bunker. The green is only 10 yards wide and lines up to the left side of the fairway which is close to several enormous trees which help guard that left side. An approach from the right which appears to be the route to go must carry that rise and bunker and hold on a very narrow green. 10 is an elevated tee to a hard sloped fairway left to right with a waste bunker going the full length down the right side. The green is at the end of that waste bunker. A smart drive down the left is your best play.
Eleven contains the most devilish bunker I have ever encountered. Think Yale left side two....A par 5 with a generous fairway. Bunker lines the entire right side and juts out far so carrying it to shorten the hole requires a massive drive. The green is again elevated by 25 feet or so with this bush speckled bunker on the right.
Twelve is a dog leg left with bunkers out to the right and a forest on the left which is thick. Bunkers align the left starting off the tee by 200 and go straight to the green and left side.
13 is the signature hole and is totally unique. A par 5 with an elevated tee and a sharp dog leg right. You must first carry the waste bunkers. At the right corner of the waste bunkers are several trees which make a drive to cut the corner a massive undertaking...270 carry covering trees at 50 feet tall...So a 300 plus carry type drive. Upon approaching the green you see a sight unlike any other. A miniscule green tucked in a valley surrounded by massive bunkers which are as much as 10 feet higher than the green height. Fortunately this tiny green is aided by hills which can deliver your ball back to the green....or hold it in the rough and offer no chance for an up and down.
Fourteen is a mid length par 3 with an elevated tee. the only water hazard right and a very deep green of 50 yards.
15 is a blind tee shot to a somewhat double fairway landing area. Fairway left and right and a bunker covered mound up the middle. The green is protected well by bunkers and the landscape also delivers a blind approach often.
You stand on 16 tee and wonder where the fairway might be. You see a vast array of bushes and deep heather everywhere with a sliver walking path up the middle. Out in the landing area the fairway is quite wide and has a large bunker beyond the landing area. The green is a large rise above the fairway and has the largest false front on the course. The green has three tiers and it's possible a shot can pull back even if it is 10 yards into this green as that false front is massive and undulating.
17 is the last par 3 and this green is monstrous. Only 20 yards deep but a good 70 wide. Make sure you aim well as the green also has severe slope.
18 is a great finisher. The tee ball is blind looking at a wall of sand. A forced carry of 180 with a climb up about 20 feet also. A wide fairway awaits. The green is tucked into a mounded area with a couple bunkers right and left which capture balls not hit to the middle.
I have played Tobacco Road since it's opening and several years following. I had not been back for 8 years. It had stretches of difficulty but currently is in great shape and has a near cult following. The greens were superb. The only rub which seems applicable often lately is the bunkers and no rakes. Nearly 1/3 of the playing field of this course could be waste bunkers.
Date: September 01, 2020