This past weekend I played in a 2-day tournament at a course I had never played before, Golfe Montebelo (Caramulo Course). I had heard a few things about the course from friends, ranging from “it’s tricky” to “it’s extrememly tight” to “it’s stupid and hardly playable.” One of my hypercompetitive golf friends even skipped it just because he opined that the course was too “Micky Mouse” to even bother with.
I wasn’t able to play a practice round, so naturally I was a bit concerned about course management going into the tournament, especially considering the course reputation. But I did have one Ace-in-the-hole: I had downloaded the Caramulo Course at Montebelo in my Hole19 app.
Indeed, using Hole19 turned out to be extremely helpful and a HUGE advantage. I used it on all 36 holes I played.
How I used Hole19 in the Tournament:
First of all, it's noteworthy that I could use Hole19 in competition at all. It was only 5 months ago that the R&A OK'd the use of distance measuring devices in competition.
That deserves a cheers to tech and a cheers to progress.
Holes 13 & 15, Par 4s:
I quickly found out that what I'd heard about Montebelo was all true. It IS tricky, it IS super narrow, and it IS a little silly in places. And all three of those characteristics stem from the severe doglegs that dictate a very particular distance on your drives.
Here are 2 good examples of Par 4s with those sharp doglegs, holes 13 and 15. On 13, in the Hole19 app, I used my thumb to drag the distance cursor to the landing area that would leave a good yardage and unobstructed line to the green.
As shown, a 250 yard shot on a line just to the left of the bunker would be far enough to leave me an unobstructed angle to the green on my approach, and about 150 yards uphill, without going too far through the fairway. That made my decision easy: 250 was a perfect 3-wood yardage, and a little fade with the dogleg would be optimal.
I planned similarly in Hole19 on 15, with the main differences being that 15 is a dogleg left, requires less distance to the turn of the dogleg, and leaves a longer approach. As shown, from the tee, it was 235 yards to the end of the fairway. If I could execute the drive 235 yards on a line just inside the left trees' edge, I would be left with 175 to the center.
I decided to hit a hard draw with my 2-hybrid - I knew if I got the ball to draw, I would have a little shorter approach. But even if I hit it dead straight, I knew I had plenty of club to get around the corner with view to the green without risking overshooting the fairway.
I executed perfectly the first day and made par on both. The second day I bogeyed both (I had execution problems, not course management problems).
Hole 18, Par 5:
A classic Montebelo hole. When you step on 18 tee and see "Par 5, 466 yards," you start licking your lips, right? Not so fast partner! That yardage to the center of the green is as the crow flies. No Titleist has that luxury with these towering pines in your way. But that's why Hole19 provides you with the aerial imagery! So you can navigate your way to the hole.
This is an unusual and challenging finishing hole to say the least. It has about a 15 degree dogleg right off the tee and then you must hit your approach to the corner of an 80 degree turn to the right towards the green.
Using my thumb again to drag and control the yardage cursor, I quickly realized I AGAIN couldn't hit driver- I only hit 3 drivers in 36 holes- unless I was willing to play a significant fade. But I wasn't comfortable with that ball flight. It wouldn't have helped me much anyway because you're essentially forced to lay up on this hole.
On a straight line off the tee, I saw that the maximum I could play was 245 yards before going into the tree line on the left. So I hit 3-wood.
I roped it and it rolled just into the left rough. From there, I checked Hole19 to see how far I'd have to hit it to leave me just short of the bunkers. I quickly saw I had 191 yards up the hill to the corner, which would leave me 93 yards left to the middle. 93 is a perfect full sand wedge distance for me, so I decided that's where I wanted to leave it for my 3rd shot. So I hit 5 iron.
I ended up hitting the green in regulation and making par on 18 both days.
The shot planning off the tees with the distance cursor in Hole19 dictated the club I hit, my line of play, and even the shot type (draw, fade). There was no guessing involved as to what club to choose, nor uncertainty as I addressed the ball. I was free to focus on executing the shot I had planned in Hole19.
I made plenty of mistakes over 36 holes as I went on to shoot 84-82 and finish T16/50, but I'm thrilled to say I didn't make any course management mistakes thanks to Hole19. That is to say all mistakes could be considered execution mistakes or mental/concentration lapses. But I hit a lot of great shots that no doubt eminated from the confidence I drew planning and envisioning my shots in Hole19.
Sure, a practice round still may have been helpful to learn the greens and the bunkers, etc., don't get me wrong. But Hole19 proved to be essential on a course so tight with so many sharp doglegs, especially as a first-time player of the golf course.
Click here to download Hole19 free for yourself and take a course management advantage now.