The first hole is a classic welcome hole with a flat driving area. It looks like a simple starting hole, but don’t be deceived. There is ample trouble to snare your ball if you venture off the fairway. Land right of the fairway in the patch of mature trees and you will almost certainly be punching-out. The second shot will test your mettle. Like many of the greens at Livingston, the 1st hole green slopes hard and in this case to the back right corner. Any shots with topspin will launch off the back into the collection trap. You must either hit a shot with some grab or bounce it several times in front of the green and have is simply trickle on. Placement of your ball on the green is also critical. Depending on where the flagstick is located, you must be under the hole as the slope will carry it well past if you are putting downhill. It’s important to get a good start on the course, but it’s no gimmie. It’s birdie-able but without a precise approach shot, par is a good score on this hole.
The second hole belies it’s handicap rating. Besides the obvious hazard immediately in front of the tee box, there is a marked hazard gully all the way down the left side of the hole. Any errant shot left of the hole will likely catch the hill and kick into the hazard. Take an extra club because this hole is all uphill. Most golfers will bail out to the right on this hole. The green is guarded by two bunkers to the right of the green, which will cause problems because the green slopes right-to-left and away from those bunkers making it difficult to stay on the green. Take your three and move quickly to the next hole.
The third hole is one of the signature holes on the course. It is a great risk reward hole if you are hitting your tee-ball straight. A sharp dogleg left, a player can either lay one straight into the neck of the dogleg – a shot of about 160 yards Or they can cut off the corner by taking it just over the water, leaving them a wedge to the green. Taking the aggressive route requires a straight shot of about 200 yards and the gonchos to cut it right off the edge of the woods. But be careful, the only marked hazard on this hole is the water. Hit one in the woods on either side and you will be reloading or searching for balls in the woods. The safer route will leave you with 160 yards to the green. The green is very receptive to balls as it slopes directly toward the fairway. Do not go over this green because the rough in the back is long and you wail be chipping steeply downhill. It’s not unusual for good chips to roll right off the green. A real birdie opportunity for the golfer.
Your first par 5 is an opportunity for birdie. On a clear day, the view from the tee box is breathtaking. You can see miles into the Genesee valley. The slight dogleg right is mostly downhill from the tee box making for long drives. From the Blue and white tees, there is a generous landing area, but fade it right and you will end up in the woods as anything hitting to the right will kick into the woods. If you do slice your tee ball, better hit a provisional because the woods are deep. A good drive will give you a pleasant decision. Go for it or lay up? Shorter drives have a large tree to contend with directly in line with the green. You can play either side of the tree with the proper shape. But be careful, out-of-bounds is close behind the green. The green is the difficult part of this hole. It slopes directly away from you requiring some finesse for both short and long approaches. Once again you must decide if you can hold the green or you have to bump-n-run it up, Keeping it on the green requires a good shot with many a golfer landing in another collection trap behind the green. Below the hole putts will require a good stroke to get to the hole. This hole is a par 4 for the ladies.
The fifth hole is your third consecutive birdie opportunity. A wide fairway makes the slightly uphill drive easier to take. Good players will cut off the dogleg taking it over the corner. More conservative players will hit to the corner leaving 130 downhill yards to the green. Longer second shots will have a blind iron shot to the green because of the crest of the fairway. The green is relatively flat in comparison to the four you’ve previously played, but don’t be fooled, there is plenty of right-to-left slope on the left side of the green. An easy flag makes this your last easy hole on the front. Enjoy it while you can.
The second par 5 on the front is a dogleg right. You will have plenty of landing area for your tee ball because the corner of the dogleg is mostly clear. However there are some strategically placed pine trees that will cause fits for the aggressive player who leaves his drive to the right of the fairway. The second shot is will cause you to evaluate your game. There is a gully stretching from 100 to 150 yards into the green with deep woods on either side of a narrow fairway. Most golfers lay up leaving a 160 yard 3rd shot, but the longer hitters can take the gully on the fly. Once past the gully it opens up, but the trees on either side of it are big and will grab anything off line. The green is a deep, narrow two-tiered with bunkers on either side of the lower tier. Lower tier flags will offer a birdie opportunity, but back placements on the upper tier are difficult. Take your par and walk to the next hole.
The seventh hole plays back through the gully parallel to the 6th. It’s straight-away and predominately uphill to the green. There is plenty of room for errant drives to the right. May players approach the green from the right-hand rough. A good drive is necessary because the shorter iron into the green the better. Take an extra club into the green. The seventh green at Livingston is legendary. Most of the green slopes steeply from left-to-right and feeds any rolling ball directly into a collection bunker. When they are running fast, every ball will feed off to the right of the green. A bunker to the left of the green is death. A few years ago a flatter back extension was added to this green and you’ll likely find the flag there most of the time. Take an extra club into the green because the pin will usually be located deep into the green. Par is a good score on this hole.
Handicap-wise the toughest hole on the front 9, the eighth takes you across the gully for the third consecutive hole. It’s a straight and slightly uphill par 4 with a wide driving area which allows you to try to advance the ball as close to the green as possible. The best location is to the left of the fairway because of the slope of the green. Right of the fairway will put you in punch-out jail. Take an extra club because the approach shot is uphill and take two if the flag is located in the back of the green. The green is elevated, deep and narrow with (you guessed it) a lot of slope. Bunkers guard both sides of the front of the green and red flags are the most dastardly because of the severe slope in the front of the green. Putting to back pin placements will require a solid stroke because it’s all uphill. A difficult hole to be sure!
The front nine finishes with a par 3 leading to the clubhouse. Like all the par 3’s at Livingston, number 9 has significant elevation change. Take an extra club because it’s all uphill from the tee. Misses to the right will result in a difficult shot to the green which slopes away. But the left is guarded by out-of-bounds along the highway. Many a ball has found an asphalt grave here. The green has a false front and often good shots come up short. The green slopes from right to left. Most balls hitting the green will release to the left fringe leaving an uphill chip or putt. Make sure to leave yourself below the hole on long putts or chips.
The back 9 starts off with a straight long par 4. One of two very long par 4’s on the back. If the prevailing winds are in your face, you will be in for a long hole. The hole is pretty straightforward with ample fairway and clear rough on either side of the fairway. Take a good cut at the tee ball. This hole is a par 5 for women. Given the length of the hole, your approach shot will be a long iron or fairway wood. Balls sprayed right or left are still in play. The green is one of the flatter ones on the course with little slope. There is a bunker guarding the left side but the size of the green is ample and proportional to the length of the hole. Par is a good score on this hole.
The par 3 11th hole is one of the signature holes on the course. You tee from significantly higher than the putting surface so you need to take the elevation change into account. The green is protected from wayward shots by tall trees on either side. Hitting your ball right or left of the green will almost certainly get caught in one of these monsters. The bailout shot is a little long and left. The hole does invite accurate shots because it slopes from back-to-front. 11Green09_thumbThe green is protected in the front by a huge gully and deep trap. Balls coming up short (or getting caught in the trees will leave you a difficult up and down requiring a lofted shot. Right flag placements are difficult because balls on the right will probably trickle off into a shaved collection area. A challenging but fun hole.
The number one handicap hole on the course is lovingly referred-to as “The Beast”. Not exceptionally long but a severe dogleg left. Even good golfers are required to hit a long straight drive in order to open up this green. Shorter hitters will swear the hole is actually “U” shaped because you will be unable to see the green even from the middle of the fairway. A long draw is a perfect tee-ball. High handicappers bail-out to the right and land in a thicket of trees where they hope for an alley out. Given a good tee shot your approach shot will be in the 170 yard range to an elevated green. The green is fairly accessible with traps long and left. There is a false front so be sure to take enough club. The green is deceiving in it’s slope. First impression is it looks fairly flat, but putting from the wrong spot will show the good slope from back left to front-right. If you are below the hole, give it a good whack. If not the most difficult hole on the course, surely it’s shape makes it very interesting.
The final par 3 on the course again has a significant drop from tee to green. Take one club less. This is a pretty straightforward par 3 with only 2 bunkers guarding the front pin placements on the hole. The green is long and narrow. Be sure not to pull the ball because the gully once again comes into play if you hook it left of the green. The green slopes away from the tee and makes keeping it on the surface difficult. Most balls end up either on the low end or behind the green. By now you are used to the slope and will put extra oomph into uphill putts. Birdies are tough to come by but a relatively easy par for straight hitters.
“The Rock” hole is easily Livingston’s most recognizable. A birdie hole if ever there was one. The fairway is a dogleg-left with a glacial rock positioned directly in the middle of the fairway. Short tee balls hitting this rock will bounce hard. It’s good for a laugh, but not for your score. Balls favoring the right side of the fairway open up the green to your second shot. The distances are deceiving. Take one less club into the green. There is out-of-bounds directly behind the green. Miss on the left if you can. The green is defended by a deep bunkers all around. Players hoping to roll on their approach shot will be reaching for their sand wedge. The green is flat and plenty large for a par 5. There are numerous ways to get a birdie on this hole and anything less will be a disappointment. This hole plays as a par 4 for the Ladies.
The 15th is your seventh and final trip through the gully. Put that driver away – the hole is all downhill. 160 yard tee shots will roll out and position you nicely with a short approach. The fairway is guarded along the right by out-of-bounds, so keep left. There is no need to cut off the corner with your tee shot. The entire fairway slopes steeply down toward the hole so your approach shot will likely be from a downhill stance. Balls coming up short will get caught by the gully and lost forever. The green is long and narrow, so make sure you see where the flag stick is located on the green and club accordingly. The green is two tiered with a steep slope in-between. Flags located in the front offer up a birdie opportunity by using the step as a backstop. There is a deep bunker on the left that will catch some balls. Flags located in the back make the hole more difficult. This is an easy hole if you play it smart.
The 16th is a classic par 5 – long and flat. The out-of-bounds on the entire right side of the hole is not to be fiddled with as there is plenty of open space on the left side of the hole. Long hitters will be licking their chops. The only difficulty arises when the wind is in your face making the green unobtainable in two Your approach shot is into the flattest green on the course. Laying up in front of the green offers a simple chip shot to the flag. The green is virtually defenseless with only a flat shallow bunker on the back left. The lack of slope gives you a breather. The grain usually causes balls to release to the back of the green where there is a protection berm with long rough. Anything long will get caught in this berm and may result in awkward stances from deep rough. A very nice par 5.
The longest par 4 on the course delivers a real challenge. The fairway is wide and gives golfers a fair shot at this hole, but you need to hit a good tee ball. Good scores are quickly lost on this hole if you are not careful. With the hole’s length, your second shot will be a long one. If you can’t reach in two, then erring short and left is your best option. There is a narrow water hazard to the left of the fairway running alongside the hole that doesn’t usually come into play. The green slopes from front-right to back-left making shots from the right side of the hole roll through the green. There is a collection area behind the green that is no picnic and should be avoided. The holes length and slope of the green make this a formidable one. Four is a good score here. This hole is a par 5 for ladies.
The finishing hole is a welcome sight after playing 17. 18 is an uber-straight medium length par 4 with a wide open fairway. Blast away because there is little trouble on either side. Good drives will leave a medium iron into the green which slopes slightly toward the fairway. The green itself is located directly in front of the clubhouse and practice area often drawing spectators watching you finish. The green is slightly elevated with long rough surrounding it. It is relatively flat and offers a real chance at a good finishing score. A good finish to a fun-filled round of golf.