Noble Hawk #17 – Par 3 – 148 yards – Handicap #18
tKO Average: 4.19 (+1.19, 13th hardest for tko participants)
Recognize this green? Pete, you should, you putted from it when playing #2 once. Hopefully someone in the comments will recount a time when a “Reverse Pete” was pulled off, and hit green #2 in regulation when playing #17. There’s no way this hole should be playing this hard, what are some of you guys doing out here?! If you don’t have AT WORST a makeable bogey putt on this hole, then you need to rethink your plan of attack on this hole. Maybe just putt it up there or something. Or quit.
For a relatively nonchalant hole, this short par 3 has been at the center of more than few big tKO moments. Most notably, it was here that reigning (and undefeated) Long Club Throw champion Mat set a tKO record, nearly reaching the green with his club (not ball). Because it was a wind aided throw, it did not qualify for the Olympic Club Throw time trials, but we’re confident he still hasn’t reached his full potential.
Noble Hawk #18 – Par 5 – 490 yards – Handicap #6
tKO Average: 6.5 (+1.5, 8th hardest for tko participants)
For my money, #18 at Noble Hawk is the best hole over the entire tournament. A risk-reward hole in every sense. Reminiscent of #18 at Pebble Beach, this reachable par 5 has water in play down the entire left side. The landing area is just wide enough to force you to pull out driver. Fairway bunkers down the right side force you to take the aggressive line, bringing the lake into play. Even though the smart play is to lay up down the right side, a good drive will almost force you to go for the green in two, especially since this might be the only par 5 that even some non-Ian’s can reach. While we’ve never had an eagle on this hole, there’s certainly been some 2 putt birdies (and 3 putt pars …. And 4 putt bogeys). Due to a shotgun start, someone is always forced to start the tournament off with this beast of a opening shot, but it’s not uncommon for your Golf Gamebook app to light up with birdie alerts only minutes into the tournament.
In its heyday, the masses used to gather on the hill behind the green, building a stadium like atmosphere to witness history in the making. Back in tKOIII, we saw Robinson mount a massive comeback to beat Brett, jarring a 25 footer to win (while everyone on said hill not so secretly cheered that Brett didn’t win). At tKOIV, White James, and Rich came into #17 in a dead heat for the title. White James, in the midst of a Golden State Warriors Blowing a 3-1 Lead in the Finals meltdown, would stand idly by as Robinson and Rich threw down haymaker putts to go extra holes. White James would come back the next year to blitz the field, en route to a record setting RDGC championship at tKOV. Only to fall victim to Robinson again at tKOVI, after missing a shorty on the final hole handing the RDGC Cup right back to Robinson (NOTE to Commish: for the record, that title was TAKEN with a birdie on the final hole…). Despite Robinson clearly owning this hole, the most famous moment (perhaps in tKO history) belongs to Nathan, who leaped into the pond after winning his first of three championships at tKOVII.
Noble Hawk has gone from where championship trophies are hoisted by worthy and hungover champions to the opening track, where rookies cut their teeth those 2 days in May. And while Noble Hawk will be phased out eventually due to the field’s expansion, it was always be held in the highest regard. A true test of a golfer’s mettle, where dreams are dashed before they even begin and the seeds of legacies are planted.
We’re moving on to Cobblestone on Wednesday, so sadly that means no more videos from Mike P. But if you think we aren’t going to ask all of you to critique a hole this year, you clearly don’t know me.