Golf Guide by bonsaikitten
Version: 1.01 | Updated: 11/07/2013
Table of Contents
- Grand Theft Auto V: Golf Mini-Game Guide Intro
- Game Basics
- Glossary of Golf Terms
- The Golf Course
- Golf Clubs
- Shot Types
- Ball Spin
- Swing Gauge
- Reading the Greens
- General Strategy Guide
- Hole-By-Hole Strategy Guide
Grand Theft Auto V: Golf Mini-Game Guide Intro
Grand Theft Auto V introduces a fully playable golf game, which features a nine hole course at the Los Santos Golf Club in northeast Los Santos. The game keeps track of your lowest score and longest drive. In addition, the lower your golf score in GTA Online, the more XP you earn per round.
This guide is designed to help you improve your golf score, including tips for shooting a round of -12, based on strategy that I have developed after playing 90+ rounds.
Version: 1.0 - November 6, 2013
- Initial version posted
Version 1.01 - November 7, 2013
- Fixed Hole 1 image
- Added screenshot of -12 round scorecard
- Corrected a few typos, and minor wordsmithing
Why I Wrote This Guide
After much practice and a little luck, I managed to shoot a -12 round on November 1, 2013. To celebrate, I decided to create the definitive in-depth guide to scoring low in the golf mini-game in GTA V and GTA Online, based on the golf strategy tips I learned through trial and error and feedback from my brother, x_HAWK3Y3_x.
I also celebrated by buying Richards Majestic Apartment 51, which has the best view of the golf course, because, "The only thing better than playing GTA golf is watching GTA golf!" (said no one ever).
Don't mind me, I'm just watching golf for a bit.
Feel free to write me if you have any questions, comments, corrections or suggestions related to golf in GTA V. Time-permitting, I may incorporate your feedback into a future version of the FAQ and provide you with credit. Also, if you enjoyed this FAQ and want to make a small donation, my PayPal ID is VMKRockstar @ gmail dot com. Thanks!
The controls for Golf in GTA V and GTA Online are very straightforward, and are also displayed in the lower right corner of the screen during a golf round. The following table summarizes the golf controls for Xbox 360 and PS3:
|Right Stick||Aim shot|
|Left Stick||Swing club|
|Left Stick + A||Add spin to ball in flight|
|D-Pad Up/Down||Change club|
|D-Pad Right||Quit golf|
|LB||L1||Change shot type|
Glossary of Golf Terms
Golf has a lot of funny terms (blame the British!). In most cases, these are "normal" words but mean something almost completely different in golf. The following terms are used throughout this guide and in the game:
The type of terrain where the ball is located. There are many different types of Lies:
Bonus tip: If you also grow grapes on your golf course, you can call it "terroir" instead of "terrain"
- Tee or Tee Box: the location where you begin your first shot on each hole. The ball is automatically "teed up" on a short tee for extra distance and clean contact.
- Fairway: the short grass between the tee and the green. This is the target landing zone for your tee shot on Par 4 and Par 5 holes.
- Green: the smooth grass putting surface where you attempt to land your ball and roll it into the hole.
- Rough: the dark grass surrounding the fairway and green. Shots from the rough have less distance and accuracy, and Wood clubs are not permitted.
- Bunker or Sand Trap: an obstacle that adds extra challenge to the fairway, or helps protect the green. Shots from the sand have less distance and accuracy, and Wood clubs are not permitted.
- Unplayable Lie: an area such as the cart path, wooded area, or water where you cannot play the ball. If the ball comes to rest in this area, it will be moved to a safe area to hit from, but you are assessed a one stroke penalty.
In GTA V golf, there are nine numbered holes from 1-9. Each hole consists of a tee area, fairway, green, and obstacles. The goal of each hole is to get it in the "hole" or cup in as few strokes as possible.
The recessed target area of each green where you are trying to sink the ball. Also referred to as the hole, as in, "Get in the hole!"
Pin or Flagstick
The pole and flag connected to each cup, making it easier to see the hole from a distance. Once the ball lands on the green, the flagstick is automatically removed (hitting the pin while putting from on the green is a rule violation, but not when shooting from off the green).
A round of golf is made up of a series of holes. In GTA V golf, a full round consists of 9 Holes.
The target number of strokes on each hole, and for the overall round. Par for each hole can be 3, 4, or 5 strokes, depending on the length of the hole. When determining par for each hole, you are allowed two putts. The remaining strokes represent the expected number of shots to reach the green "in regulation." For example, on a Par 4 hole, you are expected to take two shots to reach the green, and two putts to sink the ball in the cup.
Each time a club makes contact with the ball, it counts as a stroke. The goal of golf is to sink the ball in each hole with the fewest number of strokes possible.
There are nicknames for using more strokes or fewer strokes than par on each hole to sink the ball in the cup:
- Albatross: 3 strokes under par (-3)
- Eagle: 2 strokes under par (-2). When this happens on a Par 3 hole, it is also known as a Hole-in-One.
- Birdie: 1 stroke under par (-1)
- Bogey: 1 stroke over par (+1)
- Double Bogey: 2 strokes over par (+2)
- Triple Bogey: 3 strokes over par (+3)
- Quadruple Bogey: 4 strokes over par (+4)
- Quintuple Bogey: 5 strokes over par (+5)
This Bogey pattern would continue, but mercifully (unless you are practicing putting, in which case it is annoying), GTA V golf has a maximum stroke limit per hole of +5 strokes over par.
Clubs are the tools you use to hit the ball. There are four different types of clubs: Woods, Irons, Wedges, and Putters.
- Woods travel the farthest, and have the lowest trajectory.
- Irons travel shorter than Woods, and come in various sizes and lofts.
- Wedges travel the shortest distance but have the greatest loft, resulting in high-arching trajectories and more precise distance control.
- Putters are used to roll the ball on the green towards the cup, and occasionally from off the green.
The angle of the face of the club that you use to hit or strike the ball. The higher the loft, the higher the ball trajectory. Loft is measured in degrees, relative to a vertical plane. The easiest way to think of this is a putter, where the clubface is vertical and has a loft of 0 degrees. After putters, woods and long irons have the least loft. The higher the club number, the higher the loft (and frequently, the longer the club shaft length). Medium and short irons have higher loft, and wedges have the highest loft.
A hole where the fairway curves to the right or left between the tee and the green. In GTA V golf, Hole 2 is a mild dogleg right, Hole 4 is a strong dogleg right, Hole 5 is a dogleg left, and Hole 9 is a dogleg left.
The Golf Course
In GTA V, the Los Santos Golf Club is located in the northwest area of Los Santos, just before the Vinewood Hills begin. There are nine holes in the course.
|Hole||Par||Distance||Personal Nickname||Use Nickname in a Sentence?|
|1||5||531 Yards||"Reboot"||"I didn't get the wind I wanted or missed my eagle / birdie...time to Reboot!"|
|2||4||436 Yards||"Ronco®"||"It's so easy to make birdie on this hole, I just 'Set it and forget it' like Ronco."|
|3||3||168 Yards||"The Tramp"||"My ball just bounced over that green like a Trampoline...again."|
|4||4||324 Yards||"Beckham"||"I'm gonna 'Bend it like Beckham' to get this ball on the green in one shot."|
|5||4||435 Yards||"Hourglass"||"That green looks like an Hourglass!" (Feel free to suggest something better.)|
|6||3||238 Yards||"Whack-A-Mole"||"I'm hitting Driver on a Par 3? This feels like 'Whack-A-Mole.'"|
|7||4||416 Yards||"Roadkill"||"I messed up the wind / fairway slope (again) and my ball is Roadkill - unplayable lie by the cart path."|
|8||5||541 Yards||"Moonshot"||"This hole is so long and straight, I'm gonna need a Moonshot to get there in 2."|
|9||4||362 Yards||"Clown Shoe"||"Why do the tee box and fairway on this hole look like the right foot of a narrow Clown Shoe?"|
|Total||36||3451 Yards||"Niner"||"I've got a few minutes to kill...think I've got time for a quick Niner or two." (Response from bemused onlooker: "Did I hear a Niner in there?"|
In your bag, you have the following 14 clubs (in order from longest distance to shortest distance):
Need some Wood?
Driver (1W) Note: Can only be used from tee
3 Wood (3W) Note: Cannot be used from sand or rough
5 Wood (5W) Note: Cannot be used from sand or rough
Too many Irons in the fire
3 Iron (3I), 4 Iron (4I), 5 Iron (5I), 6 Iron (6I), 7 Iron (7I), 8 Iron (8I), 9 Iron (9I)
A Wedge issue
Pitching Wedge (PW), Sand Wedge (SW), Lob Wedge (LW)
That's one blocky-looking Putter
You get one putter. Use it wisely!
There are four shot types for Woods, Irons, and Wedges: Normal, Approach, Power, and Punch. There are three shot types when putting: Long Putt, Putt, and Short Putt. Shot Preview will display the ball path for each shot type.
The Normal shot is your basic all-around shot, and can reach 100% maximum power on the Swing gauge.
The Approach shot is a high trajectory shot that gives greater control and spin, but sacrifices a little power (maximum power on swing gauge is 92%).
The Power shot is similar to the Normal shot, with two important differences:
- With Power, you can get up to 104% on the Swing gauge for extra distance, but this comes at the expense of accuracy.
- When using the Power shot, a small percentage of the time (maybe 10%) the game will randomly change your shot direction by about five degrees. This may not sound like a lot, but it is enough to move the ball out of the fairway and into the rough, bunker, or unplayable lie, or to hit a tree. When this happens, you may be able to save the shot by putting spin on the ball, but not always.
The Punch shot is often overlooked, but is a key tool in your bag. The Punch shot has a very low trajectory and checks up quickly after one bounce on most greens. Spin is less effective with the Punch shot than the other shot types, but the improved accuracy and predictability of the trajectory make up for the reduced spin. With the punch shot, it's like you're throwing darts.
The following chart displays maximum carry distances (the distance the ball will travel in the air) for each shot type and club. Note these distances are based on a character with 100% strength stat, and also no elevation gain. Downhill landing areas will show farther carry distance, and uphill landing areas will show shorter carry distances. The game will automatically adjust the carry distance for elevation, but not for wind, so plan accordingly!
Ball spin is an important aspect of the game for getting extra distance from your drives, keeping the ball in the fairway, and getting the ball as close to the pin as possible on the green. Spin is primarily applied while the ball is in flight, but can be adjusted slightly after the ball lands. Tapping the Spin button repeatedly will result in greater ball spin. The upper right corner of the screen shows the current ball spin direction and spin speed.
The mini-map in the lower left is useful for basic aiming, but it is also only an approximation of the actual course. The Shot Preview function offers much more precision than the mini-map and will allow you to precisely determine the ball trajectory and where it will land, ignoring wind. Changing the ball aim will automatically update the yellow section of the swing gauge to help you determine how much power to use.
The Swing gauge determines how much power you will use when striking the ball. The bottom of the gauge represents maximum power, and the yellow zone indicates your target power based on where the shot is currently aimed. Press Down on the Left stick to start the swing, and press Up to stop the swing and hit the ball.
The game will tell you when you achieve a Perfect shot when you stop the swing gauge in the middle of the yellow target zone. However, depending on your aim and desired distance, there may be times where you prefer to target the top or bottom of the yellow section instead of the middle.
Pro tip: You do not need to hold Down during your entire backswing; you only need to press it once to start the swing. Experiment with whether it works better for you to hold Down or press Down and release before hitting Up. The key is to be able to precisely stop the swing when you want for consistent distance control.
In GTA V, wind affects any shot that is in the air (everything except putts). The directional impact is very intuitive: headwind = shorter ball flight, tailwind = longer ball flight, and side wind = left-to-right or right-to-left curving ball flight. However, the wind effect based on Shot type or distance is less intuitive. In real life, you would expect shorter shots and shots that are low to the ground to be less impacted by the wind. While this is partially true in GTA V golf as well, the wind still impacts short shots and low shots (i.e., punch shots) more than you might expect.
Reading the Greens
When putting, a grid is displayed on the green to help visualize the slope and distance. The spacing of the grid lines is consistent between greens, making it easier to determine the relative size of each green.
The position of the grid lines is fixed on each green, meaning they are always in exactly the same location regardless of where the ball is located. Since the cup is also in exactly the same position every round, the fixed grid lines can be extremely useful for precision aiming and memorizing common putts.
The colors of the grid indicate elevation and slope and vary based on the position of the ball on the green. Red grid lines on the putting surface show areas with lower elevation than the current ball location (putting downhill), and yellow grid lines show higher elevation (putting uphill).
When putting, the top right corner of the screen displays the distance between the ball and the cup, the distance from the ball to the point where you are currently aiming, and height difference between the ball location and where the ball is aimed. Moving the aim around is a good way to determine the precise slope - watch to see how the elevation changes as you move the aim from left to right, or forwards and backwards. Putts will break differently to the right or left, depending on if you are putting uphill, downhill, or on a level surface.
Pro tip #1: If you are off the green but within putting range, the game will allow you to select the putter which automatically triggers the putting grid. Even if you are not planning on putting, this can be a useful way to read the green slope and plan your chip shot accordingly.
Pro tip #2: Changing the putting shot type (long putt, putt, short putt) changes the camera height in shot preview due to the different distances for each shot type. Toggling between these shot types is a quick way to get different views of the green slope.
General Strategy Guide
This section will outline basic strategy and tips for shooting as low of a score as possible.
When setting up a golf game in GTA Online, there are three weather options: Current, Sunny, and Raining. For shooting a low score, choose Raining for two reasons:
- Higher wind speed - for increased shot distance
- Darker lighting - makes putting grid lines and red/white/yellow elevation colors easier to read
Note that puddles or other weather effects do not affect the golf game.
Optimal Wind Direction and Wind Speed
To get a very low score, ideally you will have the wind at your back, and at least 5 mph. This is required to reach the Green in the minimum number of shots and to set up Eagle putts on holes 1, 4, and 8.
From the first tee, you will be able to see the wind direction and wind speed. The speed and direction will vary slightly during the round, but in general it will be pretty similar and carries over from hole to hole. However, since each hole and each shot are facing a different direction, the wind direction will adjust accordingly based on the direction of each shot.
With Raining weather type, typical wind speeds are +5 to +7 (but can go as high as +10). On the first tee, typical wind direction is 12 o'clock to 8 o'clock (picture a clock face), with head winds somewhat more common than tail winds (between 3 o'clock and 6 o'clock).
For the best chance of setting up Eagle putts on holes 1, 4, and 8, the best wind is about 1:30 (between 12 o'clock and 3 o'clock) and at least +5 strength. You may need to restart the golf game several times to get a wind that works best for you. Note that playing in a Solo or Invite-Only session online will allow for faster restarts and less time on the loading screens.
Break out your happy dance when you see this wind on the first tee.
Playing with Friends (or Strangers) can be fun, but when trying to shoot a low score, you want to be able to control the Weather and pace of the game with no shot clock or waiting around. So, that means playing solo. In Single player mode, you can always choose whether to play Solo or against NPC's. In GTA Online, you cannot completely control whether you are placed into a Solo game. One advantage to playing online vs. the campaign (story mode) is that you can control the Weather online. In story mode, you always get the current conditions, and can only start a game during daylight hours.
When you start a golf game, you do not get to control whether you are Joining or Hosting. Sometimes you will join an existing lobby (that can be made up of players in different Online sessions), or you will be the first person and designated as the host. The game will attempt to join you with other players even if you are playing a Solo, Invite-Only, or Friends session online. So, you may need to quit out of the lobby and start a few times in order to find a session that you are hosting and are able to change the weather.
Once you are the host, other people may try to join your lobby depending on your game type, which you don't want if you are trying to play a solo round. The easiest way to prevent this is by changing your Session type to Solo, Invite-Only, or Friends, and to avoid inviting anyone to the game. You can also try changing Matchmaking type from Open to Closed. If you start the game quickly, that also increases the chances of getting a solo game.
Your character's strength attribute in single player mode or GTA Online has a small impact on the maximum distance you can hit each club in golf. To maximize your distance, max out your Strength stat. Note that most of the character views in GTA Online don't display the Strength stat (presumably to make room for the vehicle icons at the bottom), but it is still tracked and you can see it if you view the Character switch window.
How Low Can You Go?
It is possible to putt for a birdie (1 stroke under par) on every hole. While technically it is possible to make an eagle (2 strokes under par) on every hole as well, there are only three holes where you have a chance at putting for an eagle: 1, 4, and 8. It is much easier to make an eagle putt than it is to sink a long shot from off the green for an eagle, or even a short wedge shot. This is why getting the right wind is crucial: you can only reach the green with a chance for an eagle putt on 1, 4, and 8 with a cooperative tail wind of at least +5 strength, and preferably left-to-right wind direction.
If you make eagles on 1, 4, and 8 and birdie the rest of the holes, that results in a score of -12 (12 under par), or 24 total strokes. If you can do this and also manage to turn one or more of the birdies into an eagle as well, theoretically an even lower score is possible, but that would take a bit of luck. Currently, based on the Rockstar Social Club Global leaderboard (which is buggy and not always current), only a handful of people have achieved a score of -12, and nobody has broken that yet, ignoring occasional hackers with ridiculous scores. 50-100 people have currently achieved a score of -11, which is also an amazing accomplishment.
Practice Makes Perfect
(or at least Less Imperfect)
While you will get a lot of practice by simply playing more rounds and getting familiar with each shot type, wind, and green, some focused putting practice will greatly accelerate your progress. There is a common golf expression that says, "Drive for show, putt for dough." This means that the professional golf money leaders don't always have the most power or impressive drives, but they make their money with excellent putting. For amateur golfers, and GTA golfers, the same advice applies: you'll shave more strokes off your total score by improving your putting skills than any other technique.
You will often find that you have similar putts on holes since the hole locations don't change, and the slope of the green impacts where the ball will come to rest. For putts that happen frequently, make a mental note of your aim, how you executed on the swing gauge (short of yellow? past yellow?), and then the result. You can learn almost as much from a missed putt as a made putt. Eventually, you will develop some useful rules of thumb on how much each green breaks, and where to aim.
A common tip that golfers use when lining up putts and gauging left-to-right or right-to-left break is the number of "cups" outside the hole. For example, on a putt with slight right-to-left break, you might read that it is a "one cup" break, meaning that you would take the width of the hole, and shift it "one cup" over to the right to counteract the green slope. Essentially, you are imagining that the hole is one cup farther right than the actual hole, and aiming at that new location. On some shorter putts or flatter greens, you might need to play 1/2 cup or 2/3 cup break. For anything over two cups of break, it is usually easier to read the grid lines directly and memorize a particular target point that works for you (remember, the grid line positions are permanently fixed and do not change regardless of where your ball is located, which is a huge help for memorizing putts).
For more focused practice putting, you can turn any green into your personal putting green. There is a stroke limit of 5 strokes over par, but this is typically enough shots to practice the same putt a few times and try to find an aim and power that works.
Practice Putting: A step-by-step example
Step 1: Reach the green in 2 (or 3) shots on Hole 1, with a long putt from the front left of the green.
Step 2: Note the grid square the ball is in. Since the grid is fixed, you can come up with your own numbering system for referring to grid squares, such as, "Two squares back from the front of the green, and seven squares over from the left edge of the green." Pro Tip: if you do this out loud, people in the room will think you are crazy. Ignore them.
Step 3: Adjust your aim and try to remember your precise target on both the green and the swing gauge.
Step 4: Hit your initial put and remember what power you used on the swing gauge. If it goes in, great! For the square you were putting from, memorize or write down the aiming and power combination that worked for you. You could also note the distance and elevation of that square, to help you read similar putts on that green from adjacent squares.
Step 5: If your first putt didn't go in, no problem...that's why you are practicing! If you are far enough away that the game doesn't give you an automatic tap-in (great for actual rounds, but unfortunate for practicing), try to hit the ball back at the original square you putted from. Even though you'll never have that same putt away from the hole in a real game, this is also good practice for reading greens in general.
Step 6: If the ball ended up in or near your original square, refine your aim and power again relative to you previous shot, which should get you even closer to the hole. If you aren't close enough to your original putt, you can choose whether to tap a short putt to get closer, or just start over with a practice putt from a new location.
Step 7: Repeat Steps 3-6 until you make the putt, get a tap-in, or reach the +5 stroke limit (in this example, since Hole 1 is a Par 5, you get ten total strokes).
While a little tedious, it feels good when you figure out how to consistently make a long or important putt, and memorizing a few key putts will help lower your scores almost immediately. Plus, when you are halfway through your best round ever and have that tricky putt coming up that you've seen (and missed) a million times, you'll be a lot more confident and have a better chance of success if it is one of the putts that you have already "solved" using this method. Better to practice during a practice round than when you're -7 through 5!
Hole-By-Hole Strategy Guide
For these hole-by-hole tips, I am assuming you are trying to shoot a -12 (or better!) and utilizing all of the tips above, including weather. For simplicity, this guide will assume a 1 to 2 o'clock wind direction (top right) and wind speed of 6 mph, but some of these suggestions are applicable regardless of wind type. This is not an attempt to provide a comprehensive guide to all of the ways these holes can be played, and many situations will warrant different techniques based on wind speed and ball location. Instead, this is what I consider to be my "ideal" round which produces the lowest possible score, and the exact techniques I followed to shoot a -12 on November 1, 2013.
Have your camera ready just in case...you never know when lightning will strike!
Credit to Rockstar Social Club website for hole overview images
Hole 1 (par 5)
Goal: Reach the green in 2, then make an eagle putt (-2)
Shot type: Power
Ball Spin: Topspin, with whatever right or left adjustment you need to make to keep the ball in the fairway (top-right to avoid sand, or top-left to avoid rough).
Aim: far enough left to counteract the wind and also the left-to-right slope of the fairway.
Shot type: Power
Ball Spin: Topspin, with whatever right or left adjustment you need to get the ball on the green and curving toward the hole (typically, top-right)
Aim: far enough left to counteract the wind and avoid the sand trap. On the front left of the green, note where there is a lower spot vs. ridges at the far left edge and by the bunker. Unless the wind is 8-10 mph, or you hit a perfect tee shot, typically you will need to bounce the ball past the end of the fairway and hope for a big kick onto the green. So, aim for a landing spot that gives you the best chance of a favorable bounce and roll onto the green.
Green Tips: The first green is pretty straightforward. The left half of the green is on an elevated plane, and it is relatively flat on the right side of the green. Any shots that go from the front left or left side of the green to the back right hole location will be downhill and break a bit from left to right, based on the distance and angle coming down the slope. Unless you get a strong wind and can put it near the cup which is relatively flat, most common putting locations will be from the front left edge of the green so you may want to practice and memorize some putts from a few different spots in this general area.
Hole 2 (par 4)
Goal: reach the green in 2, then make a birdie putt (-1)
Shot type: Normal (easy to reach the green in 2 unless you hit the tree or get stuck in the sand, and the random Power mishit occasionally causes this)
Ball Spin: Top-right
Aim: With some practice, you'll get a sense of which part of the tree branches you can safely hit through. Note that wind will cause the ball to deviate from the flight path shown in the Shot Preview, so to make sure you are within the safe zone, adjust for the wind accordingly. To be safe, you can go to the left of the tree completely and just spin the ball back up the fairway.
Club: Depends on distance, typically an Iron
Shot type: Normal or Approach
Ball Spin: Whatever you need to get the ball on the green and as close to the hole as possible.
Aim: the objective here is to put the ball safely on the green, anywhere. This is a small green and a very easy green for putting, so the only real way to mess this up is if you get overly aggressive with the front pin placement and miss the green short.
Green Tips: This green is almost completely flat. Regardless of where you are at, try aiming directly at the center of the hole. On the swing gauge, I usually aim for the bottom part of the yellow for a little extra distance (equivalently, some people prefer to change the aim to just past the hole and target the top or middle of the yellow on the swing gauge). While it is possible to miss a putt by hitting it too hard and skip over the hole, it seems easier to miss it by leaving it short.
Hole 3 (par 3)
Goal: reach the green in 1, then make a birdie putt (-1)
Club: Short iron (6I-8I, depending on strategy)
Shot type: Normal or Approach
Ball Spin: Backspin, and usually a little left, but whatever you need to keep it on the green.
Aim: This may be the hardest birdie hole on the course. The ball has a tendency to bounce on and over the green like a trampoline (hence the nickname, "The Tramp"), and the green has some serious slope to it. To counteract this, and with the recommended left-to-right tail wind, you'll need to aim short of the green, somewhere in the sand trap (and your view will be partially obscured by the tree on the left). If you are slightly over the green it is sometimes possible to putt from off the green for a birdie since it is downhill, but you need to swing extra hard to compensate for the rough. If you can stop it short or left of the hole you'll have an easier putt than back right, but that is easier said than done and you run the risk of missing the green in the sand bunker.
Green Tips: You managed to stop the ball on (or near) the green...congratulations! Your reward is often a nasty downhill putt that also breaks hard right-to-left. In addition, there are some visible seams on the green (you can see these in the puddle textures) which can also physically impact the roll of the ball. Putting in some practice time on this green is a good idea and will save you from frustration (nothing worse than finally getting an eagle on Hole 1 and a perfunctory birdie on Hole 2, only to make a par or worse on 3). If you can consistently make a birdie on 3, I think there should be an in-game tattoo for that.
Hole 4 (par 4)
Goal: reach the green in 1, then make an eagle putt (-2)
Club: Driver (could be 3W with a stronger wind)
Shot type: Normal or Power (depends on wind)
Ball Spin: Top-right
Aim: Far enough left to get around the left side of the tree, but still bounce on the left edge of the fairway and get a strong bounce onto the green. A left-to-right tail wind really helps with the shot shape on this hole. If you go too long, you will land in the rough short of the water. You can still bounce it onto the green from here, but you will get a smaller bounce and less roll on the green, leaving you with a tougher putt. If the there is a tail wind blowing hard to the left (very rare), it is possible to go around the tree to the right and curve it back onto the right side of the green, but that can be tricky.
Green Tips: if you get on the green in 1, you will likely be on front left of the green, and slightly downhill. While this is a lengthy putt, it is mostly flat and only breaks slightly to the right. Try moving your aim a little short and left of the hole and memorize the point on the grid lines that works for you. Typically, I go right inside the grid line intersection that is just left and short of the hole location.
Hole 5 (par 4)
Goal: reach the green in 2, then make a birdie putt (-1)
Secondary Goal: Set your course record for longest drive (the other stat tracked on the Global leaderboard)
Shot type: Power
Ball Spin: Top-left, or straight topspin if you have a strong enough tail wind to clear the bunker on the left on the fly (risky).
Aim: With a typical left-to-right tail wind, you'll need to aim a bit left by the bunker to land it in narrow portion of the fairway, and then use spin to keep it on the fairway and bend it back to the left. With the right wind, you can drive this hole for 330+ yards. Once I managed to hit a spot in the rough by the bunker on the left and got a crazy forward bounce for 358 yards, but it didn't save to the leaderboard for some reason.
Club: Typically an Iron, but might need a Wood depending on how far back your tee shot is.
Shot type: Punch
Ball Spin: Topspin, unless you hit it long and need to bring it back to the green. If the wind is left-to-right, you may need to partially counteract this with a little left spin once the ball lands.
Aim: The green is quite narrow between the two bunkers, but it is actually pretty reasonable and I don't recall landing in the sand. This is where you will fall in love with the Punch shot. With a typical left-to-right tail wind of about 5-7 mph, you can aim just off the left edge of the green and short of the hole, and have a slim chance at an eagle if you get the angle and speed right. While Normal and Approach shots also work, I find that the Punch takes a lot of variability out of the wind and especially the bounce.
Green Tips: This green is pretty flat, but there is a little slope to it so make sure you play a half cup or cup of break outside the hole if you have a lengthy putt and think you need it. Occasionally, there is a bump or glitch on the backside of this hole that is invisible, but will cause the ball to stop and even jump up in the air slightly (if this has ever happened to you on this hole or another hole, you know exactly what I mean - try not to rage quit!). That might be one reason to try to avoid putting from the rear of the green, but this might also be a random glitch and not direction-related.
Hole 6 (par 3)
Goal: reach the green in 1, then make a birdie putt (-1)
Secondary Goal: Make a hole-in-one
Club: Driver, or 3W if the wind is strong enough (which is pretty ridiculous for a par 3)
Shot type: Normal
Ball Spin: Depends on your tee shot - try to correct it in mid-air if you think you are going long, short, or too far to the side.
Aim: With a typical right-to-left wind, you'll need to aim somewhere over by the front of the bunker on the right. Your goal should be to just clear the bunker with the ball bouncing once and then rolling toward the hole. Of the two par 3 holes on the course, this one is by far the easier of the two, and I have made a few hole-in-ones (eagle) on this hole. With the back center pin placement, fortunately you have plenty of room to slow down the ball and try to get it rolling toward the cup, as long as you land your drive on the front portion of the green.
Green Tips: Along with Hole 2, this is one of the easiest greens on the course and is almost completely flat. Follow the same advice as Hole 2 - regardless of where you are at, try aiming directly at the center of the hole.
Hole 7 (par 4)
Goal: reach the green in 2, then make a birdie putt (-1)
Shot type: Normal or Power (Power is much riskier given the narrow fairway with out-of-bounds to the left and right, along with the tree on the right and right-to-left slope of the fairway. I recommend Normal unless you need Power to counteract a strong head wind and reach the green in 2.
Ball Spin: Top-right, to offset the right-to-left slope of the fairway and stay away from the cart path.
Aim: With a typical right-to-left tail wind, I aim just right of the fairway. With Power, if you want to try to take out-of-bounds out of play and allow for a random mishit to the right or left, you may be safer aiming closer to the right-middle of the fairway and then furiously trying to correct with spin if you get an unfortunate direction.
Club: Typically a long iron, but may need a 5W or 3W if your tee shot came up short.
Ball Spin: Depends on what you need to stop the ball on the green and get it close.
Aim: The green slopes from front to back, and with the deep left pin placement you can be pretty aggressive on this hole in terms of spin unless you accidentally hit it long. Typically I aim on the front third of the green and hope for a good bounce and roll.
Green Tips: A little bit of slope to this green, but not too bad. You may need to experiment with about a cup of break, depending on how far away you are.
Hole 8 (par 5)
Goal: reach the green in 2, then make an eagle putt (-2)
Shot type: Power
Ball Spin: Topspin, and with a typical left-to-right tail wind, Top-right spin
Aim: On this long hole, you need a solid drive to reach the green in 2, but that is very doable with a decent tail wind. Typically I am at the left edge of the fairway which is a little closer to the hole, and there is a left-to-right slope that can give you a decent bounce. Occasionally, the random Power mishit will launch your shot too far to the left. Fortunately, when this happens you can tell directly off the tee from the angle which is different from your Shot Preview, and you can immediately begin correcting this with sidespin. You may still bounce in the rough, but you can get back in the fairway; however, landing in the rough will reduce your bounce and roll, and overall distance, so try to land in the fairway.
Shot type: Normal or Power, depending on how close you are to the hole. If you are close enough to reach with an Approach shot, that will give you more spin but you lose some power so be wary of coming up short.
Ball spin: typically topspin to get it as close to the hole as possible, given the back left pin placement.
Aim: This shot can be really tricky if your drive was less than 300 yards and you are trying to figure out a creative way to bounce the ball onto the green and avoid the sand; on the other hand, with a decent tail wind and drive, hitting the large green can be very easy. If your drive comes up short, and assuming a left-to-right side wind, you'll typically need to aim left of the narrow strip of fairway to the left of the large sand trap protecting the green, which is mostly obscured by the tree on the left. Your goal is to bounce it once on the fairway and kick onto the green. With a strong right-to-left wind (rare), it is actually possible to land on the fairway by going to the right of the bunker and hitting the even narrower strip of fairway, but that is tricky and unusual.
Green Tips: This green is relatively flat, but has a little slope to it so you might need to play about a cup of break depending on where you are. If you manage to hit your second shot past the hole towards the back edge of the green, the grid lines make it look like there is a little break to that, but in my experience it is pretty much straight in so be careful not to overcompensate for the spin. In general, my rule of thumb is that if I can't figure out which way it is breaking, I hit it straight (and then try to remember what happens for future reference).
Hole 9 (par 4)
Goal: reach the green in 2, then make a birdie putt (-1)
Shot type: Normal or Power. There is absolutely no good reason to hit Power on this shot since you can easily reach the green in 2, except that it is fun to hit power and try to get it to the end of the fairway. However, even if you get the random Power mishit and are aiming towards the rough, you can usually save it with spin, and if not, there is no out-of-bounds or other risk that would keep you from reaching the green. So, let the big dog eat.
Ball Spin: Topspin, and a little side spin to maximize your distance and keep the ball in the fairway.
Aim: With a typical right-to-left side wind, and given the right-to-left fairway slope, you'll be aiming to the right side of the fairway and then hoping to bring it back for the slight dogleg left.
Club: Typically a wedge
Shot type: Punch. After hole 5, this is the next best excuse for breaking out the Punch shot. While any shot type will work, with most shot types there is a risk of getting too big of a bounce on and over the green, or leaving yourself a longer putt than you want. With the Punch shot, you'll be pleased with how quickly it checks up and stops on a dime, and with a predictable bounce and roll. In combination with a relatively flat green and back pin placement, this may be the best pitch-in-for-eagle opportunity on the course.
Aim: Since the green is very flat, you just need to do whatever necessary to make sure you land on the green. With a typical right-to-left wind, you can aim at the right edge of the green by the sand and safely bring get the ball curving towards the hole.
Green Tips: This green is almost completely flat, but a little trickier than Holes 2 and 6 (which you can basically putt with your eyes closed). I typically play this one straight in, but I hit it a little extra hard since it seems to slow down a little more than other holes despite the lack of obvious slope (maybe they forgot to mow the grass overnight). I have occasionally seen the "cup glitch" on this hole as well, where the ball stops abruptly right before the lip and can even hop up in the air, but I haven't found a way to avoid it and fortunately it is very rare (and it's not like you are going to rage quit on 9). Hopefully this doesn't ruin your best round ever. When I was putting for a birdie and -12, I wasn't worried about the slope or putt speed, only the cup glitch. Fortunately, it didn't happen and I didn't have to throw the controller.