I must admit I had my doubts about Inverness, when we rolled into Toledo Ohio and saw the flat terrain, and depressed economy. Driving to the golf course for the first time it seemed like every third business was shut down and/or abandoned. It’s quite revealing how the poor economy has hit middle America by what we’ve seen here in Toledo, yet the people here are some of the nicest and welcoming people I’ve ever met. The first thing we did when we got to the course was get our Lexus Courtesy vehicle, what a treat to be driving this beautiful new vehicle FOR FREE!!
So let’s talk about Inverness, what an amazing track and true championship venue. This is a TOUGH course and I would be shocked to see any low scoring with how it’s set up for the practice round. Holes 12-17 like Walton Heath are very very difficult and will create some real havoc for many of the players. I’m going to summarize most of the course in interest of time. Each nine has a similar start with two short par fours followed by a par three. A good start is of Paramount importance in this Championship!!
This starting hole is almost a mirror of number ten except the 1st green is raised up, while number 10 is down hill. Both of these holes are a rescue off the tee to a fairway that is hard to see and well bunkered down the left side. These are small greens, and accurate shots are required to have any chance at birdie on these greens.
The second hole at 380 yards is another chance to make a birdie and get off to a good start. The tee shot only needs to be 220-240 or a rescue or 3 metal, there are fairway bunkers bot left and right out about 260 yards off the tee. The green is sloped from back to front, and left to right. Missing this green on the left would be a mistake!
The third hole is a nice 170 yard par three surrounded by bunkers. You cannot see the green from the tee, and this green has some serious slope from back to front. I hit a 7 iron over the green, as the hole played shorter than the yardage. A shot to the left center of the green is the appropriate target.
This nice par 5 hole has a very tough fairway to hit as the left side of the fairway is sloped left and will carom a ball into the left rough. If your ball is not in the fairway your looking at a lay up of between 180-220 yards. This is a VERY sloped and steep green from back to front, which gives this hole some real teeth. But since this is about the only reachable par 5 on the course, a little risk to reach this in two shots may be warranted.
The 5th hole is a beastly par 4 at 480 yards with fairway bunkers both left and right down the fairway. A ball must find the fairway here to reach this green in two shots. This green is a little wider than most and like the rest has some pretty good undulation from left to right and back to front. A solid par will be welcomed by all the players on this tough and long hole.
Another long par 4 hole at 465 yards that has a significant dogleg to the left. Another good tee shot is required here on this tough par 4.
This being my 26th USGA Championship, I’ve never seen rough this high before nor this thick. The Primary rough is very very deep and will really penalize off target tee shots. The second cut is also very thick and longer than I’ve seen before. With thunder showers forcast for tomorrow afternoon, my 2:25 tee time may be quite the challenge. Stay tuned for holes 7-12 tomorrow.