Play Your Best by Knowing Eagle Ridges Hazards

Play Your Best by Knowing Eagle Ridges Hazards

Embracing Eagle Ridge’s Quirky Charm

When my wife came home from Costco with a couple dozen Kirkland golf balls, I knew exactly where I’d test them out – Eagle Ridge Golf Course. This scruffy, old haunt in central Mississippi has been a go-to spot for me for as long as I can remember [1]. Sure, it’s not going to win any awards, but there’s something undeniably charming about this place.

From the get-go, Eagle Ridge greets you with its unique challenges. The opening hole requires threading your drive through a narrow, tree-lined fairway, offering a glimpse of the course’s primary defense – water hazards [1]. These hazards don’t come into play frequently, but when they do, they can really ramp up the anxiety, especially on the approach shots to those small, exposed greens.

As I ventured further, I realized this course doesn’t let you sleepwalk through it. The quirky yardages and deceptive shot shapes lure you into situations where you might not have the perfect club or technique [1]. But that’s part of the fun – Eagle Ridge forces you to think, to problem-solve, to really play golf, not just hit balls.

Navigating the Tee Shots

One of the first things you’ll notice about Eagle Ridge is the lack of bunkers [1]. In 1958, when the course first opened, this must have been a real challenge. But today, it’s actually quite en vogue. However, the tradeoff is that the course makes up for the missing bunkers with an abundance of trees.

These tree-lined fairways demand precision off the tee. On the fourth hole, for example, a well-struck drive can bound down the hill toward the hidden green, but if you miss the fairway, you’re left with a tricky shot under a low-hanging branch [1]. It’s the kind of hole that’ll make you question your equipment choices – should I really be swinging my driver here?

The 10th hole is another prime example of Eagle Ridge’s tee shot challenges. At 456 yards from the tips, it’s the longest par 4 on the course, and one of the longest in the entire state [1]. The fairway bends slightly right and downhill, but from the bottom of the slope, the approach shot is completely blind. Unless you absolutely crush your drive, it’s probably wiser to treat this as a par 5 and lay up, just to give yourself a fighting chance at par.

Facing the Approach Shots

While the tee shots at Eagle Ridge require precision, the approach shots demand even greater skill and control. Those small, exposed greens make it essential to be dialed in with your irons and hybrids. And with water hazards lurking on several holes, any shot that’s even slightly offline can quickly turn disastrous.

Take the 15th and 16th holes, for instance. Both feature blind water hazards flanking the greens, so you really have to be laser-focused on your distance control and ball flight [1]. And on the 13th and 17th holes, the sharply uphill approaches make it tricky to judge the proper club selection.

Even when you do manage to find the green in regulation, Eagle Ridge’s putting surfaces can be treacherous. Their small size and subtle undulations demand precision putting, especially when you factor in the ever-present threat of those water hazards. It’s the kind of course where par is a good score, and anything better is a major accomplishment.

Embracing the Challenge

As I made my way around Eagle Ridge, I couldn’t help but appreciate the course’s quirky charm. Sure, it’s not the most polished or refined layout, but there’s a certain scrappiness to it that I find endearing. It’s the kind of place where you can’t just show up and expect to cruise around with your standard playbook.

No, Eagle Ridge requires you to think, to problem-solve, to really engage with the course and its unique challenges. And for me, that’s part of the allure. It’s a place where you can’t sleepwalk through the round, where you have to be on your game from tee to green. It’s the kind of course that will test your skills, but also reward you when you rise to the occasion.

So the next time you find yourself in central Mississippi, I’d highly recommend giving Eagle Ridge a try. Bring your A-game, your creativity, and a healthy dose of humility. Because this course is going to push you, but if you’re willing to embrace the challenge, you just might discover a new favorite haunt of your own.

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