Buffalo Run Course Detail
This review is written from the blue tees, which play at 6499 yards. This is a good length for bogey golfers. There is some challenge on a few of the longer holes, but most of the par 4s are less than 400 yards. The course rewards you for staying in the fairway, and if you have reasonable control with your mid-irons, you should be in pretty good shape.
The opening hole is pretty straightforward, playing 362 yards. There's a cavernous bunker on the left that you need to avoid. Because of the relatively short length here, you really don't need to bring that bunker into play with your driver. Any 200 yard straight shot will let you get home in two. Easy bogey, good chance for a par.
The second hole is a short (486 yards) par 5. A big hitter can possibly reach the pond on the left from the blue tees, so consider hitting a shorter shot. Even if you do lay up, be aware that the pond insidiously intrudes into the fairway more than you realize on your next shot. Play it safely up the right side to avoid the fickle finger of fate. The green undulates severely, so be very aware of the pin placement when you hit your approach shot. There are lots of three-putts to be made on this hole if you're not careful.
Hole #3 is a short par 4, playing only 342 yards. Play an iron off the tee for position, and manage your distance to avoid the big bunker in the middle of the fairway. On your approach shot, show some respect for the bunker on the right of the green. Play smart, accurate golf, and a par can be had here.
The fourth hole is a picture-pefect postcard par 3. There are ponds and waterfalls up around the green, and a creek trickles down the right side of the hole. From the blue tees, this only plays 162 yards, but remember -- it's the #7 handicap -- lots of trouble to be had if you're wild. The bailout is short. If you lack confidence in your midirons, hit a couple of wedges, and avoid the trouble. Bogey is a good score here.
The fifth hole is a longish par 4 at 391 yards. It's handicapped as the hardest hole on the course, which I'm not sure I believe. (It might be because of the 453 yard length from the back tees...) It plays uphill, which certainly extends the length. There are bunkers on the left about where a well-hit drive would land. Plus there's a nasty bunker just left of the green too. If you're playing well and your confidence is good, there's room enough to hit your driver here. On the other hand, if you're hitting a bit wild, use a fairway wood or a long iron off the tee, stay in the fairway, and play for a bogey.
#6 is a 529 yard par 5. There's a grass bunker in the middle of the fairway just to get inside your head off the tee. Rather than turning a fairly straightforward tee shot into a tricky navigation of narrow alleys, either a) lay up, or b) plan to fly the damn thing. It's only a 168 yards from the blue tees, so plan b is not a problem, even for us bogey golfers. On your approach shot into the green, you want to be hitting to the left side -- there's a big collection area fronting the bunker on the right, and long running shots (say from a three or four iron or fairway wood) will get sucked down into it where they might roll onto the green on other holes.
#7 is the second par 3. It plays 171 yards from the blue tees, but watch for the yardage markers -- they can easily move this plus or minus twenty yards. There are a couple of cavernous bunkers guarding the green both left and right, so if you're going to miss, miss short and chip on. The green is huge, so pay close attention to the pin placement. You can hit a pretty good shot and still be faced with a three-putt.
#8 from the blue tees is 375 yards, and really all you have to do is hit it straight. (Check out the black tees at 461 yards - wow!!!). There are fairway bunkers on both sides, and there is a grass bunker fronting a very wide green. I wound up trying to hit a four iron into this green, and strayed a bit wide, ending up on the very right side when the pin was all the way left. I had to drain a ten footer to save a three-putt...
#9 plays 423 yards, and you really need a good solid drive to score well here. There's a swale immediately in front of the green, and long irons that look like they're rolling out well are probably going to come up short. The bunker on the right is pretty deep, and you're well-advised to stay out of it!
#10 is on the other side of the road, and down the path past the cart barn on the left. It's not a very long hole, playing only 338 yards from the blues, but it does require some course management because of various sand and grass bunkers scattered hither and yon. I chose to avoid all the artificial trouble by hitting into the real trouble - natural area on the right. Not the best plan... The bunkers around the green squeeze in tight, so make sure your lob wedge is ready!
#11 is a par 5 that stretches out a long, long ways from the back tee (581 yards). Fortunately, we're only trying to manage 524 yards. This hole is all about the second shot, and the patch of rough that cuts across the fairway around the 200 yard marker.
#12 is nicknamed "To Kansas in Two". Get a headwind while you're playing this hole, and you'll know what they mean! It plays a bit uphill, and is pretty darned long to begin with. Bogey is a really good score here, so don't try to hit farther than you really can - that usually leads to a topped ball, and a lot of frustration.
#13 is another hole where bogey is a good score. This is a brutal par 3. It's long (214 from the blues, 260 from the blacks), and is fronted by bunkers on the left. Some strategies to consider:
Or if you're Tiger, hit your three iron at the pin, land it close, and one-putt. Shrug.
- Aim for the bunker, blast out, two-putt
- Hit two pitching wedges, two-putt
- Bail out to the right, chip on, two-putt
#14 is a very short par 4. It only plays 301 yards from the blues, and it's handicapped as the easiest hole, but there is trouble to be had. First, you need a forced carry off the tee of about 100 yards, so don't be topping it. Second, put the driver away, the green is too small for a Bogey Golfer to be aiming at anyway. Third, there's a big old burm with sand traps in line with the pin. The ideal shot is about 180 to 200 yards just left of this big burm. Heck, 150 is good enough. Once you're in position, you now need to hit a really nice approach shot. The green is not very deep, and it's elevated sharply, so plan your yardages carefully. Once you're on the green, pay close attention to the breaks. There's a lot, in every direction. (Psst... I don't think this hole really is the easiest, but that's what it says on the scorecard...)
#15 is a bit more conventional. It's a 399 yard hole. There's a series of burms running down the right side. Stay off of them -- you don't want to be hitting a long iron out of the rough from an awkward lie. Hit something straight down the middle. Preferably at least 200 yards. Your second shot can be interesting. You can play a bump and run shot with your long irons, but there are some rolling burms around the green that will probably deflect a rolling ball.
#16 is another longish par 4 (412 yards). It has a slight dogleg to the right, which tends to bring some nasty rough into play -- don't try to cut the corner, it will just come back to bite you. Also, be aware that the bunker in front of the green is farther away from the green than you realize, and if you wind up in it, you have a really, really ugly shot at the green. Use plenty of club on your approach!
#17 is a great hole. It's a 171 yard par 3, that pours down the hill to the pond surrounding the green on three sides. There's also a pretty good system of bunkers guarding it. This hole can be had if your iron play is sharp. If it's not, then you'll have to fall back on your short game. Lay up off the tee, chip on, and try to one-putt.
The last hole is a 496 yard par 5. The tee shot is blind, so they give you a striped stake to line up on. This is a short enough hole that it's worth your while to hit an iron off the tee, if it helps ensure you'll hit it straight. The second shot requires precision, because the fairway narrows way down to squeeze around a pond on the left side. The green is about 40-50 yards from front right to back left, so pay attention to the pin placement when you select your club for the approach.
This course really fits the definition of "tough but fair". The tees do a good job of letting golfers self-select what they feel they can handle. For any set of tees and playing level, the course presents a credible challenge but rewards for solid play. It even has an element of forgiveness in that the occasional stray shot won't completely ruin a hole.