Astounding scale: The 18th at Sand Hills

An in-depth analysis of the 18th hole at Sand Hills Golf Club


Sand Hills Golf Club is a course that tests a player’s appetite for risk on every hole. Usually, the line of charm is guarded by a fierce hazard. Its final examination comes in dramatic fashion with the memorable long par-4 18th, which plays uphill to a distance of 467 yards.

The home hole at Sand Hills Golf Club

From the tee: Two 30′ fairway bunkers run along on the left side of the hole, creating immediate visual intimidation. The fairway spans nearly 70 yards and gives players plenty of space but forces a decision, left or right. The heroic play up the left side yields a shorter approach with a better angle to the green. The safe play is up the right side but leads to a longer approach shot to a green that runs away from that angle. Miss a little too far right and a bunker or native grasses add another level of difficulty for timid play.

The massive blowout bunkers on the 18th

Approaching the green: Elevated high above the landing area for drives, its semi-blind nature brings added challenge. The green angles and slopes to reward approach shots from the left side of the fairway. For every yard off the aggressive left line a player strays, the more difficult their approach shot becomes.

What makes the 18th at Sand Hills a standout hole is the tremendous scale of its fairway bunkers. Most bunkers provide an opportunity for recovery, but not these – they will exact at least a one-shot penalty to any player who finds them. The intimidation from these traps leads to players aiming right, whether they know it or not.

This is a hole design that Coore & Crenshaw continue to use on their other designs. A few of note include the 15th at Streamsong’s Red Course and the 13th at Trinity Forest.