The Otter Course here at River Oaks Golf Club is the “middle” of the three courses on the scorecard. This is the one course of the three that plays on the clubhouse side of River Oaks Drive. The first tee box is just to the left of the clubhouse. Golfers do not have to go over one of the bridges to play this nine. It also happens to be the favorite side of many of our regular golfers.
The 10th hole is a great hole to start on. It is a very straightforward par 4 that only plays 365 yards from the white tees. Golfers need to be accurate off the tee. There is a stream that runs left of the cart path between the golf course and the neighborhood condos and a fairway bunker and some trees along the right side of the landing area. The approach is to a slightly elevated and narrow green that has a severe slop from back to front. It is paramount for the approach shot to stay below the hole to have a decent chance at making the putt.
The par 3 12 hole is a nice 148 yard hole that gives a good chance at a birdie. The green is large and mostly flat. Sand traps guard the left and right but nothing in front or behind the green. Grab the right iron and go for the flag!
One of the most fun holes on the course is the par 4 14th hole. Water guards the right side of the hole all the way to the green and the cart path cuts through the fairway about 100 yards form the green which creates almost two separate fairways. Longer hitters can hit across the path on this 305 yard hole. It is a risk/reward due to the water. A short iron or wedge in hand is very advantageous hitting into this putting surface. It is hard to find a flat spot on this green. It is tough to get the ball close to the pin. Birdies can be had here but par is a good score too.
The 467 yard par 5 15th hole is up next. The yardage suggests that it is easily reachable for longer hitters, but the design of the says different. The landing area off the tee is wide open. The fairway narrows the closer it gets to the green, with water along the left and trees lining the right side. The landing area in front of the green is almost non-existent. Accuracy is key if trying to get home in two. For the rest of us a layup to inside 100 yards in the best way to go in order to give a wedge shot into this green that also has a strong back-to-front slope. Knowing the pin placement is important. Birdie is possible here.
No 17 is a hard dog-leg right that curls around a pond. It is possible to cut off a lot of the water but it is risky. The green is elevated and guarded by a deep bunker left and a tree just off the right of the surface. This hole is a good challenge no matter which way golfers play it. Par is a good score.
The finishing hole on the Otter Course is a fun par 5 with water guarding the right side of the fairway and the road and OB on the left. At 473 it is possible to reach but it has bunkers across the front of the green and to the side waiting for wayward shots. Smart play is layup to the corner of the water and hit a wedge into the large green. It is a great hole to finish on before heading to the clubhouse for a cold refreshment on the back deck!