If Kyle and Renee Green don’t have the top-to-bottom order of the colors of a traffic signal, you don’t want to be approaching an intersection at the same time as they are because they just don’t seem to be able to tell the difference between red and green. At least they can’t when in terms of the city’s two public high schools.
For the third and final year — their son Alex will golf for Washburn University next school year — the Greens welcomed golfers from both Lawrence High and Free State into their backyard for a cookout Monday night. At the end of the night, when all the eating out back and basketball out front was finished, the remaining golfers discussed how they plan to attack Alvamar’s long public golf course, home of today’s third and final leg of the Sunflower League tournament. The regional also will be played there.
Thanks to former Free State golfer Colin Becker, the players all now refer to the course’s notoriously difficult finishing five holes as, “The Gauntlet.”
Following is a look at how local high school golfers approach the 18 holes:
No. 1, par 4: Alex Green, FSHS, sr.
“I usually like to blast a driver and I try not to leave it in the trees on the right. Left is an OK miss. I usually have 100 to 130 yards in, anywhere from a sand wedge to a pitching wedge. I always fly it at the pin, never any strategic shots on this hole. It’s a big green, so if you miss it’s not a big error. And it’s pretty easy to putt on.”
No. 2, par 5: Max Soto, FSHS, sr.
“This should be a two-shot par 5, 90-degree dogleg left and once you make that dogleg, it’s straight downhill to the green. Usually you drive it over the left corner, hit it over the trees and you can be as close as 150 yards. It can be risky. If you go for the corner and block it right, you’ll go through the fairway and into somebody’s backyard, out of bounds. For your shot into the green you have to take into account that with a downhill lie it’s going to fly a little lower with a little less spin, more rollout. And the green is at a lower altitude, so club down and go at the pin.”
No. 3, par 4: Jack Soto, FSHS, so.
“Hit a driver and keep it right. After that, you have a 120-to-160-yard shot to an elevated green, which makes it a little more difficult, at least for me. I don’t know what anybody else thinks.”
No. 4, par 3: Nick Hay, FSHS, sr.
“Short and right is a little pond, so you want to avoid that and then left and short of the green there is a bunker. The green is pretty wide, but not very deep. You just want to keep it on the same tier as the pin.”
No. 5: Patrick Friedrichsen , FSHS, sr.
“Keep it a little bit right because if you miss it left it’s out. If you miss it right it’s still playable. You should have anywhere from a 6-iron to an 8-iron into the green. Keep it straight because of the two bunkers. You’d rather miss it short than long.”
No. 6, par 4: Jack Flynn, FSHS, fr
“Relatively long hole. I like to try to hit a low cut into the fairway. If I hit a good drive, I’ll be 160 to 180 out. It’s a pretty wide green. If you miss left, it shouldn’t be that bad, and a miss to the right is not that bad.”
No. 7, par 3: Bailey Pfannenstiel, FSHS, fr.
“The green is low and there are bunkers on both sides so you want to make sure to keep it straight. It’s a pretty big green, so I’ll change my club depending on the pin location.”
No. 8, par 5: Cole Cummins, LHS, sr.
“If the tees are back, I usually attack it with a driver. If you keep your driver in a good spot, it’s a pretty easy 3-wood up to the green. If you hit the green, it’s a great birdie opportunity. Most of the time you end up either short or right so it’s an uphill chip, which makes it kind of difficult. And depending on the pin placement, it’s not too hard a green. It should be an easy two-putt, if not a one-putt.”
No. 9: : Colton Steele, FSHS, jr.
“It’s pretty straight, has a bunker halfway down the right. Bunkers on both sides of the green; if you’re going miss, right would be a better miss. I’d say it’s one of the easier holes on the course.”
No. 10, par 4: Brett Van Blaricum, LHS, sr.
“Pretty easy hole, straight and definitely a driver hole. If it’s into the wind it can play pretty long. With the wind you get a lot of roll. It’s definitely one of the easier holes on the course, a good opportunity to get it close for a birdie.”
No. 11, par 5: Matthew Siler, FSHS, so.
“Dogleg left so on your tee shot you want to position it more right side, and your second shot, probably take a 3-wood and go straight at the hole. It’s kind of a blind shot; you need to keep in the fairway. If you hit a good drive you can reach it in two. The tee shot is basically the key.”
No. 12, par 3: Brad Strauss, LHS, sr.
“It should be easy, but I don’t usually make it easy. I can’t hit my irons very straight. The green’s wide, but it’s not very deep, so you have to hit the right club.”
Chimed in Cummins, a football teammate: “It would probably be easier for him to hit the green if he threw a football at it.”
No. 13, par 4: Narito Mendez, LHS, jr.
“It’s a pretty big fairway so if you hit it long enough, you can miss it left or right and there’s not much trouble. The second shot’s downhill, so club down. It’s a pretty simple hole.”
No. 14, par 4: Tucker Sutter, LHS, jr.
“You don’t want to hit driver off the tee for sure because there are trees straight and the fairway turns left. I usually hit a 4-iron and lay it out there. You want to miss right more than left. The second shot I usually have a 6-iron. You don’t want to miss left because there are trees and you don’t want to miss it right into a bunker because it’s a hard up and down. It’s a really hard hole. I hate it. I birdied it in eighth grade. I remember it like it was yesterday. It’s a good par. Actually, it’s a good bogey.”
No. 15, par 3: Hunter Dedloff, FSHS, jr.
“It’s kind of a hard green to hit. I’ve come short a lot of times. It plays longer than it actually is because it’s elevated. As long as you can carry the bunker right in front of the green, you should be on. It’s kind of a tough green to read. There are a lot of small hills. If I can’t read it, I usually hit it straight at the hole. I think it’s the toughest par 3 on the course.”
No. 16, par 4: Austin Kastl, FSHS, so.
“You always want to aim left because the fairway slopes all the way to the right. Even if you get to the very top of the left side, it can roll all the way down to the right.”
No. 17, par 5: Max Soto, FSHS, sr.
“Narrow tee shot. There are three or four big trees that line the left side. On the right side there are smaller trees that create a sparse forest. On the tee box, hit a 3-wood or driver. If you hit a 3-wood, you’re in danger of not getting it all the way to the dogleg, and that complicates the second shot greatly. If you hit the driver all the way over the fairway, you also leave yourself a difficult shot. It’s definitely a three-shot par 5. The green is pretty simple. It breaks toward the pond. The green is pretty open. No bunker, so you can go straight at the pin.”
No. 18, par 4: Alex Green, FSHS, sr.
“If I play it aggressively, I’ll hit driver toward the cart path (left) just past the water and probably half the time I’ll make it. If I’m playing it safe, I’ll usually hit a 3-hybrid or 4-iron and make sure I’m right because the further from the water, the better. But you have to avoid the large tree on the right. If you lay up in front of the water, it’s 150 yards uphill. The green has a false front — I’d consider that a false front anyway — but the green is big. It has kind of a high plateau. The front goes down, the edges go off to the side and the back runs off into the rough. Three green-side bunkers are pretty easy to avoid if you just hit it long.”