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Lions Municipal Golf Course

I love Lions. It's an older course, constructed in 1928 and while it's changed over the years it's rich with history hosting Hogan, Nelson, Kite and Crenshaw. It's fairly short, 6001 yards but for the most part it's narrow. "Hogan's Hole" so named because Hogan called it the best par-4 he'd ever played is a tough one. Hogan is reported to have said, upon seeing it, "Where's the fairway". An errant tee shot on any of the par 4 or 5 holes is probably going to give you a bogey....if you're lucky.

And the greens are challenging as well. With a lot of grain the breaks will dismay you and make you think "who are you going to trust, me or your lying eyes". The green on number 6 should be one of those road side "mystery houses" where objects roll uphill. After years of knowing it's downhill I still tend to believe my lying eyes (on seeing it you won't believe me but it's downhill from front to back). Here's the key to Lions....everything breaks toward the river. Now you may not know how much it's going to break, but it will almost always break towards the river, even if it's "the wrong direction" of the slope. Go figure.

If you look into it the hole handicap on the scorecard doesn't reflect the reality of the actual difficulty. I have analyzed scorecards from 180 different players and here's how hole difficulty turns out:

Hole

Handicap

1

2

2

9

3

4

4

13

5

6

6

3

7

11

8

17

9

8

10

12

11

14

12

7

13

15

14

10

15

16

16

1

17

5

18

18

Interesting stuff, eh? If you've played 16 you know it's the hardest hole on the course and 2 isn't anywhere the hardest. What surprised me was hole 1 and 6. I would have figured 1 and 3. But whatever you can use this to consider (or reconsider) how you play each hole. On another note hole 18 is the only hole that scored even par (4.000 on 180 cards).

My hole by hole run down. All yardages are from the scorecard from the back (blue) tees.

Hole 1, 369 yards, par 4 - Tee image,  green image

More of an abrupt right turn vs. a dog leg. 180 yards to the corner and then an approach to a small green. Hit it wrong and it'll roll left....left of the cart path giving you a very difficult chip. Hit it too far and you'll end up in the woods as the back of the green seriously slopes down. Requires careful shot making. Stay in front of the hole, even if you're short.

Hole 2, 505 yards, par 5 - Tee image,

The hardest hole on the course according to the card but for Lions a fairly wide fairway. There is a tree around 150 from the hole you'll want to avoid but a largest green. Two bunkers on the right and left front.

Hole 3, 400 yards, par 4 - Tee image,

Fairly narrow, much more so than it looks but a straight tee shot and a good approach will give you par. Avoid right or left, straight is critical here. Everything on the green takes a serious left turn (towards the river!).

Hole 4, 155 yards, par 3 - Tee image

A reasonably easy hole. If the flag is behind the bunker keep in mind the slope on the green side of the bunker, if you hit that you'll get a long roll.

Hole 5, 375 yards, par 4 - Tee image, green image

This is a tricky dogleg left where a draw will do well for you. If you're hitting from the blues you're probably 30 yards behind the whites shooting from a "chute" with a very narrow opening.

Hole 6, 380 yards, par 4 - Tee image

A dogleg right or if you get plenty of loft you can hit over the tree and avoid the cut shot. Anything right is going to keep going...right into the woods. Left into the trees isn't much better but you'll probably find your ball. This green slopes front to back, don't believe your eyes. I'd rather hit my approach short of the green and then chip rather than go for a red or white flag.

Hole 7, 161 yards, par 3 - Tee image

A fun par 4. If the flag is behind the big tree on the left be prepared to hit a high one.

Hole 8, 445 yards, par 5 - Tee image, green image

A shorter par 5 with woods on the right and left. You'll want to stay left of the trees but watch the fairway bunker on the left, it's a ball magnet and by all means keep your second shot in the middle of the fairway. It is possible to play it from the right side but you'll want to watch out for the very large tree to the right and front of the green. It's a monster to flop over and under is very rough ground which is hard to roll over.

Hole 9, 370 yards, par 4 - Tee image, green image

Dogleg left. A powerful 3 wood over the trees will get you there (I need a tailwind). A better shot is a 3-wood or driver to the left of the 2nd tree (don't get in jail underneath the first tree!). It's a small green with bunkers on both sides of the front and if you roll off the back it's a tricky downhill chip. Stay in front of the flag.

A historical note. Before UT gave the land to the ball park there was water on this hole and the green was straight away to where the ball park is now. The existing green was a practice area. It must have been some hole what with the large oak between the tee and the ball park.

Hole 10, 295 yards, par  - Tee image

I lay up about 75-100 yards out and then pitch to the green. The green is tricky to putt, stay in front of the flag else you might end up in the water.

Hole 11, 325 yards, par 4 -  Tee image

The hole is hidden but is actually straight away. There's a narrow opening to the fairway unless you hit it high but if you stay reasonably left you'll have an easy chip to the green.

Hole 12, 500 yards, par 5 - Pending images

One of my favorite holes. Often with a headwind I struggle to get to the 200 yard marker. The shot to the green is narrow with tall trees on the left and water on the front and right. Still I have to go for it. The smart shot is a lay up to the 150-100 yard marker just short of the water and right of the bridge.

Hole 13, 161 yards, par 3 - Tee image

A nice par 3 over water to a large green. The green is slightly downhill from the tee box so you'll probably need a club less than the yardage indicates.

Hole 14, 525 yards, par 5 - Tee image

A slight dogleg right from the tee. Keep your tee shot in the middle to middle left of the fairway and you'll have a good approach to the green. The green is large but everything rolls seriously left.

Hole 15, 139 yards, par 3 - Tee image

An easy pitch to a large green that slopes towards the tee. You'll want to stay in front of the flag.

Hole 16, 403 yards, par 4 - Tee image

"Hogan's Hole". You'll want to be right of center if you want an approach shot to an elevated green as there will be tall trees blocking you if you're left of center. A tricky hole, I consider bogey par for me.

Hole 17, 183 yards, par 4 - Tee image

A par 3 over water. It looks downhill and maybe the yardage markers are wrong (I can't walk it off as I haven't mastered walking on water yet) but it plays long for me, I use an extra club.

Hole 18, 310 yards, par 4 - Tee image

A great way to end. With a tail wind and if you hit a cut shot and get on the harder ground on the left side of the fairway it'll roll right on the green. 12 on the card but an easy birdie hole, perhaps the easiest.

And I would be incredibly remiss if I didn't mention the great folks at Lions. Everybody from the clubhouse staff to the grounds crew are top notch humans and I can't think of a one I wouldn't want to have a beer or play a round with. Thanks to them all.