By Katy Treadwell
Mission Hills Country Club is most known for hosting the annual LPGA ANA Inspiration golf tournament on its famed Dinah Shore course. Golfers like Annika Sorenstam, Grace Park and Julie Inkster have hoisted the ANA Trophy above their heads and some have even taken the plunge into “Poppie’s Pond” on the 18th after their victories. The Dinah is most definitely the signature course at the club. But I am here to tell you, the Pete Dye course has my vote for toughest track at the club after this weekend.
This weekend was my first time to play the Pete Dye course at Mission Hills, and in true Pete Dye fashion, it did not disappoint. It has all of Pete’s signature marks, starting with water; lots and lots of water. In fact, if I remember correctly, I think there are only 2 or 3 holes where the water doesn’t come into play. Pete dye designed courses are usually lined with OB stakes to the right and have large bodies of water running along the left side of the fairways, and the course at Mission Hills holds true to that outline. The Dye course at Mission Hills forces players to be accurate and most importantly, not left. If you normally play a draw, this course could prove to be even more of a challenge. Pete is also notorious for using railroad ties to line his water hazards and sometimes even sand traps, so occasionally a hard bounce or ricochet can save you from the hazard. Although most times, my ball has not been spared by the ties, but rather plunged further into its watery grave.
The Dye course at Mission Hills also offers hole after hole… well… 18 of them… of rolling fairways and beautiful undulation like you won’t find anywhere else in the valley. However, when you are standing in the middle of the fairway after a solid drive and your ball is even with your head and you are trying to figure out how to concoct your swing to successfully make contact, the undulation and rolling hills don’t seem so beautiful anymore. After your first experience with a side hill lie at the Mission Hills Dye Course, you quickly realize that what you thought were beautiful hills and rolling landscape are really low key hazards that aren’t so low key once you’re on them. Maneuvering your way around the Dye at Mission Hills takes patience and skill… hmmm… maybe that’s why I had such a hard time.
After playing the Dye course at Mission Hills this weekend, I wish they would split the 2017 ANA inspiration tournament up and play it on two courses; The Dinah and the Dye. While the Dinah Shore course is one of the most challenging and beautiful courses in the entire valley, I would venture to guess that competitive scores on the Pete Dye track would be even harder to come by, and that it would be a formidable test for some of the world’s best female ball strikers.
Mission Hills Country Club is not open to the public but if you know anyone with a membership or have the opportunity to play it in the future, I highly suggest getting in at least 18 on the Pete Dye course. Of course, it will be hard to pass the famed Dinah Shore course and Poppie’s Pond on your way to the first tee of the Dye, but in my opinion, the Dye is a more challenging and unique course than the tournament course and will leave you feeling much more accomplished and proud after a decent round.
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