Golf Tips From the 6th Hole: Costa Rica at Peninsula Papagayo
A Four Seasons Resort golf expert shares what you need to know about this par-4 hole. For starters, get your driver ready, and don’t be deceived by the fairway.
Signature Hole: 6, par 4
Why It Is Unique: The view from the tee box says it all, looking straight out over the shimmering waters of the bay, with more of Peninsula Papagayo (and the 12th hole) forming the backdrop on the horizon across the waters. Then there is the nearly 200-foot vertical drop from tee to fairway, which increases both the drama and the length of drives. That’s a necessary advantage, since this is among the longest holes on the course at 446 yards from the Black tees, and playing nearly as tough from the Blues (436 yards) and Whites (431 yards). There is not a single bunker on the hole, but given its length, strategic curve to the left, and small elevated green, it is hardly defenseless.
Tip: “The wind is rarely in your face, but because of the length most people hit driver,” says Rod Cook, the Resort’s head golf professional. “The challenge is that the fairway looks very narrow from the tee, but it is deceptive—there is actually plenty of room out there, but it is toward the right, so you want to play centre or right. It’s tempting to play down the left because the hole doglegs left, but that side is guarded by a steep rocky slope that rarely kicks the ball out.” A good drive will leave most players a still challenging 150- to 175-yard approach, and the elevated plateau green is the smallest on the course, very shallow from front to back. There are no bunkers, but it is tricky to chip from the slopes surrounding it, so missing the green will generally add a stroke to your score. “Being short is better than being long, because you have a better chance of saving par from the front left than anyplace else.” Even if you hit the green, you have to land on the front to stay on, so always play one club short on approach.
Don’t Be Distracted By: Huge trees. An Audubon International–certified sanctuary, the course winds through 220 acres (86 hectares), almost entirely pristine and undeveloped, and is home to what the resort calls the “Trail of Giants,” a representative sampling of the region’s most important trees and flora, spread out right alongside the cart paths—there are maps and guided tours twice daily. “All the wildlife corridors were left undisturbed,” says Cook, and, so golfers can learn a bit while they play, “we have signs on all the most important or rare trees, including the sabre tree and the huge guanacaste, Costa Rica’s national tree.” The name means “the tree that listens,” because its leaves look like ears.
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