Venturi's Hole-By-Hole Guide To Olympic

Ron Kroichick got Ken Venturi out to Olympic Club and it yielded a tremendously good hole-by-hole take on how the course played along with Venturi's perspective on recent changes.

On the first hole, which shifts from a pushover par-5 to a long par-4.

Venturi: "The right-hand half of the teeing area will never be used. The players will set up on the left and blow it right over the top of the trees. ... To me, this was a good par-5 the way we played it - driver and 3-wood. If you could crush it, maybe you get there in two sometimes. It will be a hard par-4, but it will be fair with these players today, given how far they hit the ball.

This surprised me about the seventh hole, which as been rebuilt from a three-tier green to a slightly longer hole with a two-tier green.

Venturi: "I don't think most guys will go for it. I'd like to be short of the bunkers and the green and have a little 58-degree or 60-degree wedge for my second shot. That's much easier than trying to hit a long bunker shot - you can get a short pitch shot much closer. But there will be guys who try to drive it, for sure.

"This will be an interesting hole, because there are multiple choices. It depends on the player, whether he's conservative or aggressive. If the hole is on the lower level of the green, then I would suggest you try to drive the green. If the hole is on the upper level, then you don't want to be in that (front) bunker. To me, it would be a bad choice to try to drive this green if the hole is cut in the back."

And Kenny's not a fan of the 670-yard tee on 16.

Venturi: "If I had my way, I'd do away with this tee (at 670 yards) - it's too close to the No. 15 green and there will be too much confusion with guys waiting (on the 15th green) while others tee off. ... You have to make the tee shot go right to left, for sure. This is a premier dogleg. You still can't see the green on your second shot, and there's nothing to do on the second shot but put it in play and set up your third.

"With the bunker in front and the way this hole plays, you can't run it on the green. It's got to be 'up golf,' with the ball in the air. So that definitely favors the longer hitter, who can get the ball up higher. This hole tells players, 'You will play it the way I tell you to play it. You can't create your own shots.'

Other than that, how do you really feel about it, Mr. V?