We have three outstanding nine hole courses here at River Oaks, the Fox, the Otter and the Bear.  Each course is different from each other yet all three will provide great scenery throughout the natural habitat of the animals from which the courses got their names.  We want to help our golfers understand better how to play the courses.  We are going to give some tips on how to play some of the holes on each nine.  Today we are going to talk about playing the Fox Nine.  This is what we call the first nine of our 27 holes.  All the tips are given from the amateur perspective.  After all, that is what most of our golfers.

We start with a 500 yard par 5 right out of the gate.  This is a great starting hole because it has a huge fairway allowing for a wayward first tee shot of the day.  The second half of the fairway is slightly uphill so we need to remember that when hitting our second shot.  We should be left with a short iron or wedge for an approach shot to a small green.  Aim for the middle and have a chance at birdie but at least we should walk off the green with a par!

The 2nd hole is a tough driving hole.  A tight dog-leg left is just off the tee.  The good news is that at just 337 yards we can safely play a long iron or hybrid out just beyond the bend and have a short iron shot into a small elevated green.  Par is a good score on this hole.

No.3 is a 140 yard par 3 that always plays longer than the yardage.  A huge waste bunker runs almost all the way from tee to green.  There are three green side traps as well.  Be sure to take one extra club off the tee and aim for the middle of the green.  The putting surface is sloped back to front but center is still best target.  Par is a good score here.

We skip to the testy par 4 5th hole.  Don’t be fooled by the 282 yard distance here.  The fairway is narrow with water on the right and in front of the slightly elevated green.  Club selection off the tee is paramount.  Longer hitters may try to drive the green, but beware, a yard or two off line to the right and the water awaits.  Lay up and hit a wedge into the green.  Be happy to score a 4 on this one.

The 429 yard par 5 7th hole is a fun and challenging hole to play.  The fairway dog-legs to the left making for a challenging tee shot.  The landing area and the bend is reachable and somewhat blind.  From there it is a straight shot to another slightly elevated green with a bunker on each side.  Long hitters can have a go at the green in two.  The landing area on a layup shot is wide open.  Get to a wedge yardage and shoot for the flag on this large green.  We can have a shot a birdie if we hit a solid shot.  Anything par or better is a great score!

The finishing 9th hole is a 357 yard par 4 that turns around a row of condos from the River Oaks complex.  It makes for a tight shot that requires precision over length.  A fairway bunker and some water are on the far side of the fairway.  Too long of the tee is bad news.  The water runs down alongside the elevated putting surface forcing golfers to focus on hitting to the left side of the green.  If we can end the Fox side with a par we will feel pretty good driving over the bridge and heading back toward the clubhouse.

For more information click on the Course Tour tab to see hole layouts and listen to our PGA Head Professional Scott Taylor give his suggestions on how to play each hole.