Golf Tips From the 15th Hole: Golf at Robert Trent Jones II
The third in our series of favourite signature holes, a Four Seasons Resort Nevis golf expert shares what you need to know about this unique par-5 hole.
Signature Hole: 15, par 5
Why it is Unique: There are not many—if any—par-5s in the world this long that can be reached with two irons. The tee box on Fifteen occupies the highest point on the entire Robert Trent Jones II-designed course, and while the par-5 stretches an immense 663 yards from the back tees and a whopping 603 from the whites (even the ladies have to play it at 558!), the massive downhill drop from tee to green more than negates the length. Head Golf Professional Bruce Wilson estimates that the green is at least 175 vertical feet below the tee, and the prevailing tropical wind helps, coming from straight behind the tee. Besides its prodigious length and roller coaster decent, the hole’s trademark is its sweeping view over the rest of Nevis, toward the capital of Charlestown and to the Caribbean Sea beyond, as far as the eye can see. “It’s just awesome,” says Wilson.
Tip: “With the wind at your back it sometimes gets so you can reach it with two irons, but the fairway gets very narrow as it approaches the green,” warns Wilson. “So for better players I always recommend they hit iron off the tee, and then if they have a good shot at the green, go for it, if not lay up. Twenty-handicaps can hit driver or 3-wood off the tee, and if they hit a good one, they usually like to try to go in two because it plays so short, but I still recommend laying up. Not a lot of people make eagle. Placement in the fairway is not as important as having a good, shorter approach shot. Anything right is lost in dense jungle, the left is thick rough on a steep slope with trees in the way. If you miss the green you are going to make a big number.” The green is very deep from front to back, so you can take more club, but you still need to be accurate.
Don’t be Distracted By: Vertigo—or the 240-yard forced carry over a stunning river ghaut just to reach the fairway. Standing on this highly elevated tee with views over Nevis and the surrounding turquoise sea, the wide fairway below can begin to look narrower and far away, as your perspective is thrown off. Be careful to align your tee shot and swing easy: The ball will get there thanks to wind and gravity.
Next signature hole: Tips From Hole 3B: Golf at Pacifico Golf Course, Punta Mita