Mammoth Dunes' Island Green 8th
One of the most memorable vistas at Mammoth Dunes comes after the cresting of the small hill behind the par-5 7th where you lay eyes on the beautiful par-3 8th. A small green floating in a vast swath of sand is all you see. For players teeing from the back tees, it’s as intimidating of a shot as any at Sand Valley. The brilliance of its design comes from the unique way that architect David McLay Kidd was able to create a playable challenge for golfers of all skill levels.
From the back tees, the 8th plays as a long par 3 to an island green. It's one of the most demanding shots on property. The green is roughly 6,000 square feet, 60% of the size of Mammoth's average green.
The front part of the green runs away from a player, making the shot to any front pin difficult. There is one trick from the back tees. Shots that land just short and left of the green will funnel in, thanks to a subtle slope. Thanks to the firm playing conditions, when firing at back flags, any shot that lands on the front half of the green should find its way to the back of the green.
The genius of the hole comes from its playability. As you move forward on the tee, the angle of the shot becomes friendlier. Each tee box forward from the back provides a little more fairway run-up area for approach shots.
The very front tee box has no carry and is instead a test of accuracy. From this tee box, the challenge centers around being able to hit a precise shot that lands in the 15-yard wide landing strip.
The eighth's beauty is jaw dropping, but its ability to provide a fair challenge to players of all skill levels is remarkable.