While the drivable par 4 is enjoying a surge in popularity, it’s important to not forget the value of a great drive-and-pitch par 4 as well. A prime example: the seventh hole at Bonneville Golf Course, a municipal course in Salt Lake City.
The main obstacle on the seventh is the out-of-bounds fence that runs up the left side of the fairway to the green, where it sits just one yard off of the putting surface.
The fairway tilts slightly from right to left, accentuating the overall OB risk. From the tee players have two choices: lay back, or push a driver up. The ideal place to hit with either strategy is up the left side, close to the hazard. The small green slopes hard from right to left. Attacking from the left is significantly easier, while also lowering the risk of going out of bounds with the approach shot.
Laying back provides a couple of big advantages. It leaves a full wedge, which provides more opportunity to spin the ball. It makes the right side of the hole much more playable than if you push it up close to the green. And, obviously, going with an iron also mitigates some of the OB risk from the tee box.
Sending it closer to the green requires finding the left side of the fairway in order to have a realistic chance at birdie, a tough combination with the OB fence all the way down the left. Bailing right with driver is not a good option. It leaves an awful approach angle to the tiny green, which slopes away from players towards the looming boundary line. It also means carrying a bunker, not a concern from the left side of the fairway. Any shot coming out a bit too hot or landing slightly too hard has a strong chance of finishing out of bounds.
If you can thread a driver accurately up the left side of the fairway, being closer to the green from the most desirable angle significantly increases your chance at birdie. It also comes with the risk of a tough par or worse if you can’t pull it off.
If there’s one thing I’d change on an otherwise incredible hole, it’s recapturing some of the missing green on the right side, which would make the seventh even more compelling for years to come.
Overall, this hole features tremendous strategy, and serves as an excellent reminder that every short par 4 doesn’t need to be drivable to be interesting.
This piece originally appeared in The Fried Egg newsletter. Subscribe for free and receive golf news and insight every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday.