Tough ones: Long and tough and worthy of its designation

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Even if you hit the perfect (and long) drive at #9 at The Ridges, you are still faced with a decision:  Aim directly at the green and tempt the creek that runs along the left, or play a safer "carom" shot to the hill that guards the short right side of the green.   
 
    I played a round at The Ridges Golf Club in Jonesborough, TN, earlier today.  It is golf community course in the strictest sense of the term, with homes lurking above the course at virtually every turn.  I'll have more to say about the course in coming days but the #1 handicap hole on the course, the brutish long par 4 9th, is worth adding to our collection of #1 handicaps here.
    Arthur Hills is one of my favorite designers, and I have noticed an odd habit he has of combining breather

I snorted at the yardage book's cavalier line that "Most golfers will play this hole as a par 5."

holes and incredibly tough ones into the same routing.  The Ridges follows the pattern, and #9 could be his toughest.  The hole measures a robust 435 yards from the "Members" tees which are for decent older golfers like me who can't hit the ball more than 225 yards anymore.  At the tips, or tournament tees, #9 checks in at 474 yards and from the "championship" tees, what the single digit players will go for, it measures 461 yards.  I snorted at the yardage book's cavalier line that "Most golfers will play this hole as a par 5," but in reality, that is how I played it. 
    Intimidated by the trees down the left side of the hole, I pushed my drive out to the right rough, well right of the yardage book's guidance to hit a good one to the center or center right fairway.  Still, I hit my drive as far as any during my round and it got a favorable bounce off the side of the hill that runs below the cart path.  I was left with about 225 yards in, and aimed my three wood at the right side of the green, as the yardage book suggested.  You definitely do not want to go left of the green, where the stream that runs the entire length down the left side of the fairway snakes along the left side of the green.
    Fortune smiled on me.  My shot hung up on the very top of the large hill that guards the right side of the fairway near the green.  Unless you are tempted by a go at the narrow and well-protected green - foolish, in my opinion - it is unlikely an approach shot will come off the hill through the thick rough.  I had a great lie in the Bermuda, was able to get a lob wedge under the ball and popped it out to five feet from the hole.  When I made the putt, I felt as if I had made birdie instead of a one-putt par.  It was the highlight of the day, even though I did make two actual birdies during the round.
    I'll provide a full golf review on The Ridges and the surrounding community later this week.

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 On the tee box at the long 9th hole at The Ridges, you can choose to play it safe to the right or tempt fate, and  the stream that runs down the entire left side.