Hole 1 Par 4 401 Yards/367 Metres
Jeong Jang "JJ" (South Korea)
Winner 2005 Weetabix Women's British Open. Runner-up 2008 Fields Open, Michelob Ultra Open. Over US$6 million in career earnings.
It's a long hole and you have to hit it straight off the tee. You want to be long, because it gives you a better second shot. Last year I tried to hit it so hard every time, and I think I hit it pretty good all four days.
I saw a lot of girls hitting into the left-hand fairway bunker which is 290 yards from the tee and they got into trouble big time! Big time!
You don't want to bring that bunker into play. You also don't want to miss on the right because there are trees - one in particular - and they get in the way. For you're second shot you're hitting something like a six iron and you don't want to have to try and hit it over that tree. So, you've got to be straight.
It's tough to hit it into the green, because it's elevated so you have to try to hit it higher.
The green is hard. It slopes off in all directions. The back pin is particularly hard, especially on the left side, because it falls away there. The rough is quite difficult around the green because the ball tends to sit down in the grass. You don't want to miss the green.
I like to just aim for the middle of the green: anywhere in the middle. You'd love to start with a birdie, but par is good here; so middle of the green is perfect.
Hole 2 Par 4 381 Yards/348 Metres
Jimin Kang (South Korea)
Winner 2005 LPGA Corning Classic.
I'm hungry at the moment, so I'm struggling to remember this hole. When I'm hungry all I can think of is food!
This isn't a hole where the pin position matters that much when you're standing on the tee. Oh, yes I remember this one now! You have aim for the left-centre of the fairway, because everything rolls towards the water on the right. Anyway it gives you a better angle to attack the pin. If the pin is on the right side, you might aim further to the left, because it gives you a better angle and you're playing over less water when you go for the green.
It's around 270 yards to the fairway bunker, but you don't get so much roll in Singapore.
If the pin is on the left front then you can really attack it. If the pin is on the right, you don't go for it. There's a ridge across the middle of the green, so aim for the middle and if you can pitch on that it will release down the slope towards the flag. It's even better if you can hit a little fade on the shot. Chipping from the back of the green can be a little tricky too, so you are thinking about making sure you get your ball on the green. The worst mistake you can make here it so hit your second shot fat and end up in the water. Missing around the rest of the green won't be that ugly, but it won't be that good either. It can easily cost you a shot.
Hole 3 Par 3 140 Yards/128 Metres
Deane Herden (Australia)
Caddie for Ji-Yai Shin's 2008 Ricoh British Open win and for her record-breaking 2008 Grand Slam of Korean LPGA Majors.
The third is not a hole to attack, but it plays easy because of the distance.
I remember the first time I got to the tee during the practice round saying that every tee shot has to go to the centre of the green and has to clear the tier at the front of the green. The tier is about seven or eight yards on. So you take enough club to get past that and you're likely to have an uphill putt.
I thought it was a sucker hole. It's only a short iron, maybe a seven iron - Ji-Yai was hitting seven or eight - but it make you think you can do more than you can. The first priority is get your tee shot into the middle of the green and don't get suckered into going for the pin.
It would affect your round mentally if you walked off with a bogey. Aim for par and hope you get lucky with your first putt. It's a great hole; a strong hole.
It's not an easy green. The green is so undulating. You can easily walk off with a three putt. You're in a hollow in the middle, but there's a spine where a left-to right putt can go right-to left.
From the back of the green can be really fast. The grain goes that way. It's a very fast putt from the back towards the middle. The middle section is wide. It's around 50 yards wide, but it narrows down front and back. You just have to focus on the middle of the green.
Last year the pin positions weren't that severe and maybe the players were playing it with respect. Maybe it's one of those holes that makes it really obvious what you can and can't do.
If you get a left-to-right wind, there are a bunch of trees on the left which make it really difficult to work out how it's going to affect the ball. If you think the wind is working against you, you could easily fly the green. The trees there play a significant role when the wind picks up.
A breeze straight at you would be a lot easier than a left-to-right wind.
Hole 4 Par 4 394 Yards/360 Metres
Pat Hurst (United States)
Winner of 5 LPGA titles including 1998 Nabisco Dinah Shore (Major). Over US$6 million in career earnings
It depends on how long you are but myself I'd either hit three wood short of the bunkers or try to hit driver over. It depends on the wind. It's 242 yards to fly that bunker.
With it being an elevated green you want a short iron in there. You don't want to be hitting a longer club. I'd normally hit driver and try and hit it as far down there as I can.
I cut the ball, so this is a perfect hole for me. I can just aim at the left and if it goes straight it's fine and if I cut it a little bit it's fine. If you draw the ball it's a tougher hole because you've got to aim right and if you hit it straight you end up in that bunker and if you draw it too much you're in the rough on the left in the trees. If I had my way every hole on every golf course would be set up like this… Jack Nicklaus style.
There's a ridge across the fairway after the bunker and ideally you try not to end up on that, because hitting to a green with such an upslope on it, you want to be hitting a higher shot. If you're on that down-slope, that becomes harder.
You need to be a longer hitter to take advantage of this hole. The shorter the iron you have for the second shot the more you can attack the pin.
With the approach shot, the only good place to be is short.
Because of the elevated greens at Tanah Merah you have to hit to the front edge of the green and let it roll and you never know quite how far it will release.
I think this is a hole where par is good. It's playing around 400 yards and it depends on the wind, but I think par is good on this hole.
Hole 5 Par 5 531 Yards/486 Metres
James Walton (England)
Caddie for Suzann Pettersen's five LPGA wins in 2007.
This is one of the scoring holes, definitely for the longer hitters anyway. On the tee we look to hit it just to the left of the fairway bunker on the right. We're looking to hit around 280 yards, depending on the weather. If it's wetter, or if the wind is against, we'd probably get around 250 yards. That leaves us between 240 and 270 to the green.
It's tough if you miss left off the tee. The rough is quite thick there and that makes it difficult to get within wedging distance.
With such a slope up to the green it's not a hole you can reach in two. So the second shot is about knocking it down there to leave yourself a good number for your third. A good number would be around 80 yards to the front so you're hitting a full shot in without having too much spin on it. If you get too close, the green up there can be quite firm and it runs away at the back of the green, so it can be difficult. Going off the back is no fun - it's a tricky chip from back there. You need a comfortable full shot, around 80%, so it bounces and stops. You don't want to spin it too much, especially if the pin is on the left because there's a false front there 12 yards in. If you spin it back onto the slope there it'll just disappear down the hill.
You also want to be able to see the pin as well. If you get on the right side of the fairway with your second shot you can only see the top of the pin so you've got no distance perception; you know how far it is but you're playing just from the yardage rather than being able to feel it.
The third shot is all about getting as close as you can and being on the right side of the hole. The mistake on 5 is to get in the rough either off the tee, so you can't get close enough with your second shot, or putting your second shot in the rough, which makes it hard to control your shot onto the green.
Hole 6 Par 4 415 Yards/379 Metres
Giulia Sergas (Italy)
Six-year LPGA veteran set a career high for season earnings in 2008.
I was surprised when I was told this was the hardest hole on the course in 2008. It's probably because the driving area is so narrow. There is a bunker around 220 to 240 yards from the tee and a mound on the opposite side of the fairway, so it really pinches in. I think you have to be really accurate with the driver. There's no good mistake to make, because there are trees right and left. If you miss in the trees on the left there is no angle to get to the green.
There's a pin placement at the back that is really, really difficult to get to. It's a hole that you really play to shoot par. It's a very defensive hole.
The green around the front left pin position is pretty steep, as soon as the ball hits the green it just moves really quickly. So you can't be that precise with your second shot. I think you just have to play for a par. It's not a birdie hole.
If you miss the green it can be really hard to make an "up and down". Probably the best place to miss is short and left of the green.
It's a very good golf hole. There are no bunkers around the green and the slopes aren't that severe and yet it is quite difficult.
Hole 7 Par 4 384 Yards/351 Metres
Christina Kim (United States)
Member 2007 American Solheim Cup team. Over US$3 million in career earnings.
Off the tee you've got to choose whether or not you're going to take on the fairway bunker or not. I'm from the school of thought that says get it down there as far as you can, so I'll usually take driver and hit around 280 yards. It's risky because at around 270 yards the water on the left and the bunker on the right really narrow down the landing area. The green is so tough though, that getting closer - I'll be about 90 yards from the front - makes the second shot much easier.
The other alternative is to lay up just short of the bunker, which means hitting no further than 250 yards.
Now, I got three birdies here last year so I obviously played it perfectly each time… yeah, right! One of those was a 60 foot putt over the huge ridge across the green which must have had a 20 foot break on it. It was massive.
There's water front, left and back, so the best mistake you can make is to be in the bunker on the right. At least that way you still have a chance to make par. You don't need to aim for the pin. You aim to the right of the green and if the pin is at the front you can use the ridge as a backstop and spin it back. The back position you need to be so fine. I was a foot or two away from a perfect shot that would have landed on the ridge and funneled down and left towards the pin and instead it caught the slope, rolled back to the front and left me with that 60-footer. You really need to be on the same level as the pin, otherwise you're in three-putt territory. There are some really great short holes on this course and this is one of them.
Hole 8 Par 3 153 Yards/140 Metres
Song-Hee Kim (South Korea) and caddie Dave Poitevent (United States)
Seven top-ten finishes in 2008.
Song-Hee: "You've got to aim to the right side of the green to stay away from the water. You might try to hit a little draw. If I'm going to make a mistake I'm trying to miss on the right side, not the left, and take the water out of play.
There's a bunker behind the green and two more on the front-right side of the green, and the green has three very different levels, but anywhere is better than going in the water.
It's obviously a difficult putting green: last year there were only 19 birdies all week.
Dave Poitevent: "There's so much slope on the green that if the pin is on the left, you can aim anywhere at the middle and the ball will run all the way down. It's a tough tee shot and at the same time it's not. The problem is when the green gets harder you can easily find yourself through the back, where the rough was tricky last year. But, if you play a smart shot to a good number… I think it's a good little hole and it shows that holes don't have to be 200 yards to be a good par three.
Hole 9 Par 5 497 Yards/454 Metres
Meena Lee (South Korea)
Winner 2005 Women's Canadian Open and 2006 Fields Open.
This is one of the easiest par fives. A lot of players think of this as a birdie hole. The tee shot is uphill and you want to aim centre-left because it shortens the hole. I hit 240 or 250 yards off the tee, so for us the landing area is downhill and you get more roll.
The worst mistake off the tee is to miss on the left; then all you can do is lay up and play it as a true par five.
If I hit my drive well, I'll be left with 220 yards to the front, which for me is a three wood. Because of the water on the left, we aim for the right front edge of the green. You can make any mistake on the right, but left is no good.
The bunker to the right of the green is okay. There isn't a big lip, so it's not a bad place to put your second shot.
Compared to most of the greens at Tanah Merah, this one is not too hard. There's a bit of a mound that runs along the front half and then at the back it's more uphill. A lot of players holed a lot of long putts from the front of the green; there were five eagles last year.
Even if you miss at the back of the green it's not too bad. This is a hole to be aggressive on. It's a birdie hole.
Hole 10 Par 4 382 Yards/349 Metres
Yani Tseng (Chinese Taipei)
Winner 2008 McDonald's LPGA Championship. 2008 LPGA Rookie of the Year.
The landing area 260 to 270 yards from the tee is very narrow. It depends on the wind. If the wind is behind, then I can carry the narrow bit with my driver. If the wind isn't helping, you don't have to take the bunkers on at all. It's only 384, so you can land just behind them and give yourself 130 yards to the front; that's a pretty good club. Just lay up and play to around 238 yards off the tee and you're aiming at a wider area.
The green is on a really big mound and the putting area is quite small front-to-back. It's 20 paces and there's a false front in the middle that is 10 yards on, so the landing area is very small.
On this hole I want to hit my approach a little higher, so I'll move the ball a little towards my left foot; that gives me more height and helps me spin it. Hitting 140 yards - an eight or nine iron - I should be able to get the ball to bounce once and stop.
But you have to be careful, because you can't be long and you don't want to be in either of the bunkers in front of the green… so yardage is very important. Your yardage must be perfect. If your yardage is good then even if you push it or pull it it's not so bad, but you can't be short or long.
The green is actually quite flat so you don't have to take any risks aiming at the pin. Just go for the middle of the green and it's a birdie chance.
This is a tricky course and you have to play smart.
Hole 11 Par 3 172 Yards/157 Metres
Winner 2008 US Women's Open.
I put the ball in the water on the final round in 2008 when the pin was at the back left. I made triple bogey. So rule number one on this hole, don't go in the water! The bunker is better than the water, that's for sure.
The water really comes in to play when the pin is back left. It's Ok when it's anywhere else. When it's back left you have to aim short and right of the flag and make sure you don't bring the water into play.
When the wind is blowing it's usually blowing in your face, so you have to take more club. It's not a short hole anyway, it's a tough hole. I remember hitting four and five irons into this green.
It's a slopey green so you have to take care putting.
I saw Jimin Kang hole a long putt from the front right, when the pin was back left. That was a great putt! You don't want to be one side of the mound in the green if the pin is on the other side. There are some places on this green where it's tough to get down in two.
It's a hole to be defensive on. Take a par and go to the next tee.
Hole 12 Par 4 384 Yards/351 Metres
TJ Jones (United States)
Caddie for Se-Ri Pak for 2 LPGA and 4 international wins with Se-Ri Pak over the past three years.
Twelve is a good golf hole. If I remember right the wind normally works left to right here. It's 245 yards to the second of the fairway bunkers and around 255 yards to get by and as Se-Ri's one of the longer hitters so we usually aim at the right edge of that bunker and then we just let the wind move it a little bit right back towards the centre of the fairway. From there it's a little bit risk-and-reward.
It's usually a driver and a short iron for us, because we are one of the longer players out there, sometimes as little as a wedge. Some of the girls are coming in with a little bit more than us.
The green, like most of them out there, has a lot of undulation and is a little quicker. There's a false front on the left edge that is almost 10 paces on. The right side works away from you and takes you into a little bowl and the back end of the green also works away from you. Behind the green is fine; it's not a bad chip or putt going back up the hill. All this depends on the green speed, but if the greens are quick you probably want the ball beyond the pin.
Usually the bunker in front of the green is not in play for us… luckily. There's a lot of lip on it and it's not a lot of fun if you get it in there! Rule number one: stay out of that bunker!
You know it all depends on what golf club you've got going in there. If you can bust it out (from the tee) and get a wedge or a nine iron in your hand it almost becomes a birdie hole. If the wind gets into you, even the longer players can be hitting a six or seven iron. Some of the shorter hitters can end up taking a hybrid and then it becomes no fun at all.
Hole 13 Par 5 512 Yards/468 Metres
Louise Friberg (Sweden)
Winner 2008 Mastercard Classic.
It looks pretty. Is it reachable? That's the first question. I'm not one of the longer hitters. I get around 250 yards off the tee; more when things are going well.
Visually the tee shot looks longer than it actually is. I actually like to say what to do with the hole, rather than what not to do. So I wouldn't think about the mounds and the out of bounds on the left of the landing area. Tee shot is key on this hole. You need to get yourself in a good position to go for it in two. You can carry the bunker on the right so you can stay a little bit more to the right than it maybe looks. There's more forgiveness on the right than you would imagine and anything is better than taking a stroke-and-distance for going OB.
For the second shot there's an opening on the right. The last bunker is 35 yards from the front of the green so that's far enough away to stay on that side and go for it in two and aim for the front-right of the green. The mistake on this hole is to go on the left. Left off the tee, or left with your approach. You don't want to be in the bunker tight to the left side of the green and you don't want to be playing a third shot over it, if you don't have to.
The green feeds off to the left and right, but if you're close to the edge in two then you have a good chance for birdie.
Hole 14 Par 3 169 Yards/155 Metres
David Brooker (England)
Caddie for all six of Lorena Ochoa's 2008 LPGA wins including 2008 HSBC Women's Champions and Kraft Nabisco Championship (Major).
In my opinion this is undoubtedly the hardest Par 3 on the course. It's not visually intimidating from the tee, but the combination of the length of the hole and the severity of the ridge running across the green made Lorena shooting par for the week in 2008 a very satisfying result. Lorena was ranked No.1 in distance on the tour this season and she still had to hit five irons into the hole because the prevailing wind is into your face. For the two left side pin positions the common results were either short of the ridge or over the back into the collection area. It was very hard for any player to get the ball to either land short and release over the ridge or to get the ball to hold on the back shelf when the pin positions are on the left. Both would require skilled second shots to avoid a testy putt to save par.
If the pin is on the right side there's a deep intimidating bunker which again presents a minimal margin for error considering the distance of the tee shot. The miss was definitely right of the hole. Missing left meant the ball funneling into the collection area behind the green and a very tough chip across the green with over 15 feet of break. Right was a straight forward uphill chip, but not that easy considering the grainy Bermuda grass which always presents problems for the pros; very unforgiving.
All in all, a great ball striker's hole with a premium on club selection. We missed the green twice but escaped with par all four days!
Hole 15 Par 5 554 Yards/507 Metres
Stacy Prammanasudh (United States)
Winner 2007 Fields Open. Member 2007 American Solheim Cup team.
It's a dogleg to the left off the tee and normally it plays into the wind off the tee. Pretty much you can rip driver anywhere to the left of the right-hand fairway bunker. To get into the water on the right you've got 270 into the wind, so unless the fairways are hard you really can't get to the water.
The lay-up is the tough part because it get's really narrow up by the two cross bunkers. You can play long and go over those two bunkers if you're feeling froggy - froggy means lucky - but I would normally lay-up short of those bunkers because it's always a cross wind there and I draw the ball. So I lay-up and leave myself something like a nine iron in to a green that is always pretty receptive. As long as you can get a mid- to short iron in you're probably going to be in with a good chance for birdie.
You've got to choose between those bunkers. Most girls will lay up and leave about 110 yards to the front of the green. You can't get to the green in two anyway and if you go over the bunkers you've got water left and right to deal with too.
The best line is to aim at the middle of the right-hand bunker, because the wind generally blows right-to-left so it's going to blow it back towards the middle of the fairway.
The green is relatively flat and receptive other than for the back pin where it slopes off towards the water on the right. The ridge down the middle breaks a little more than you might expect, so as always at Tanah Merah it's best to be on the right section of the green for the pin.
Overall, off the tee it's relatively easy, but it's the lay-up and the approach that you have to play a little more strategically. That's what sets you up for birdie.
Hole 16 Par 4 269 Yards/246 Metres
In-Kyung Kim (South Korea)
Winner 2008 Longs Drugs Challenge.
One day last year this hole was playing into the wind so I took a seven wood to lay-up short of the bunker in the middle of the fairway. When there isn't any wind I will hit driver and aim for the left-front of the green. I made birdie from there in 2008. Another time I missed right with my driver and had to play a flop shot over the bunker and it went in for an eagle.
It's a hole you can play to get your favourite yardage and play your second shot from, say, 100 yards, or you can take a risk. You can be aggressive. It's definitely a fun hole. The thing is if you lay up you can still have as little as 80 yards and have a wedge in your hands. You can easily birdie from there, so you don't have to take the risk.
The one thing you don't want to do on this hole is go in the bunker in the middle of the fairway; you never know what kind of lie you'll have if you go in there.
If you take driver when the pin is on the back right, where the green falls away dramatically, you can't end up in the left side bunkers. I don't think that's a good idea.
Going all the way through the back isn't bad, unless the pin is at the back right. Then you're short-sided; you've got no room to work and it's not that easy.
I'm not a very long hitter, but 16 gives me a chance to go for it. It's fun!
Hole 17 Par 4 395 Yards/361 Metres
Katherine Hull (Australia)
Winner 2008 CN Canadian Women's Open.
Last year I hit left one day and hit right one day and each time I was butchered! Bogey one time, double bogey the other!
You've got to hit the fairway here, because it's a tricky green. If you're going to have any chance of putting it on the right part of the green you've got to hit the fairway. If you're down the right, you tend to find thicker rough and you've got a bad angle, because there are trees further up on the right that are in your way. On the left there's a deep pot hole. You really have to be precise off the tee.
It's a 400 yard hole so you have to hit driver unless you're a longer hitter, but that's not me. It's also kind of narrow in the landing area.
The green is tricky, it's got a huge ridge that runs through the middle of it and you have to be on the right half of it to have any chance of making the putt.
I remember hitting a six iron in there, although if you hit a good drive and the pins at the front you could get as little as a nine iron. But with a bit of a wind and a back pin you could be hitting a hybrid.
With the approach, if there's a front pin, you're not too badly off if you're short; at least you'll have an uphill chip or an uphill putt. The bunker front right is not too friendly and if you're long left for a back left pin you're in trouble because it slopes quite severely there from left to right.
It's not ridiculously hard, it's not impossible, but it's not one of the easiest. You can make birdies on it, so it's not that bad.
Hole 18 Par 4 414 Yards/379 Metres
Se Ri Pak (South Korea)
Member, World Golf Hall of Fame. Winner 24 LPGA tournaments including 5 Majors.
I use the three wood off the tee because it's such a narrow target and for some of the long hitters there isn't that much room. If you're long, the water on the left comes into play and so do the bunkers on the right; you have to carry over 260 yards to clear them. It's kind of tight.
A three wood, depending on the wind, leaves me around 150 yards.
The most important thing here is to hit the fairway off the tee and to get onto the green. The green is so slopey. There are three big tiers. So the front left position can give you big right-to-left break and the back pin is really tough. You can't go long because everything slopes so much towards the water.
So 18… get on the fairway, get on the green. It's easy to say, but it's pretty difficult to make a par. Par is a pretty good number.
It's difficult to get too close, unless you have good luck with your bounce. It depends on the pin position, but most days I don't fire at the pins… I just aim for the middle of the green and try to make a two putt.
It's a key hole for the tournament. The last two holes on this course par is good, birdie is definitely a bonus.
Topics: HSBC Women's Champions