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Description of the holes

Holes: 1  2  3  4  5  6  7  8  9  10  11  12  13  14  15  16  17  18

1 Par 4

Many of the holes at PGA National Russia pay homage to the ‘switchback’ concept, originally employed by many of the famous golf architects of the ‘Golden Age’. This long, and tough opening hole is the first example of this, calling for a fade drive up the right hand side to best open up the second to the diagonally angled green, ideally suited for a draw-shaped approach. Missing the green left will leave a tough chip from the deep swale, so rather err right with the approach as it will leave an easier chip up the length of the green. (You may even get a kind bounce off the short-right mounds up onto the putting surface) Be aware, the central bunker is not on the green edge, deceiving the golfer into thinking the green is closer than it really is, however, any over compensation will be gladly received by the deep cavernous back bunker. the first of a tough opening stretch of par 4’s where par will almost feel like a birdie.

2 Par 4

A lovely downhill par 4 where hole location determines the strategy. the angled green, which is perched on a ridge, is characterised by a swale which clearly defines the two main pin areas, front-right and back-left. A front-right pin is less demanding off the drive, but tougher on the approach, while the opposite is the case for a back- left pin position. the well protected front-right pin calls for a drive left, and even short, of the fairway bunker, leaving a full shot, and the best line and angle from where to attack from. the back-left pin demands a drive over the right edge of the fairway bunker, where the ideal drive will bound forward leaving a mere flick of a wedge down the length of the green. Any drive tweaked left must be weary of the ‘ditch’ features which narrow-up the drive and approach areas. This hole offers up a good opportunity to regain the probable lost shot from the first.

3 Par 4

The last of the opening trio of par 4’s, this uphill hole demands accuracy from both the tee and fairway. Finding a flat lie on this crumpled and folded fairway, characterised by numerous dips, hollows and plateaus, will be fortunate, but with a wide entry into this green and some strong and bold green contouring, either the aerial or ‘bump-and-run’ approach may be used. the ideal approach is a fade shot, maximising the undulating green contours to get the ball close to the pin. Any approach shot long and right will leave a treacherous downhill chip, to a green which slopes from back to front, while approach shots either left or short-right will be gobbled up by the two greenside bunkers.

4 Par 3

If you’re standing on the 4th tee at level par, you’ve made a great start! the first par 3 on the course, this downhill little gem plays shorter than it looks. However, similar to the 1st green complex, the right bunker is not on the green edge and actually hides a ‘rumpled’ swale front and right of the green. the hole’s degree of difficulty depends on which tee and pin location is used. the further left the tee markers, the easier the hole. Similarly, the further back the pin location on this front-to-back sloping green, the easier it will be to use the contours to ‘feed’ the ball down. A tough left pin location, sitting on a high tabletop plateau, demands perfect distance control. Attack this hole if the flag is located back, if not, gratefully take a par to the next.

5 Par 5

Not only is the 5th hole the first par 5, but it’s also the start of possibly the easiest stretch of holes on the course. Don’t be fooled by the fairway bunkering, the landing area is much wider than it first appears. the ideal drive between the two bunkers demands a right-to-left shot off the tee to maximise the ‘chute’ in the fairway — a friendly kick forward could even get you in position to challenge the green in two. A shorter drive will have to safely navigate the difficult and narrow layup area, but hugging the lake edge will provide the best angle to attack the long green on the 3rd shot. Not only is it key to avoid the large water hazard, which dominates the left side, but avoid the bunker who guards the entrance, and a birdie could lie in waiting.

6 Par 4

Careful strategy is paramount to this enticingly short par 4.

Dare you take the direct route at the green and risk a treacherous uphill pitch from either sand or tightly mown fairway to what would appear like a narrow tabletop putting surface, for any slightly off line drive which just misses the green? Or, would hitting iron off the tee and leaving a full shot down the length of the green appear most feasible — but, do you fancy taking on the blind second shot to this small undulating target? Perhaps finding the high fairway plateau over the left fairway bunkers and leaving a 60 yard chip down to a shallower target, is the preference?

A multitude of options could cloud you thoughts, so make sure your strategy is clear to fully maximise this opportunity.

7 Par 3

A tiny par 3 where accuracy counts for everything! the green rests upon an undulating knoll surrounded by some deep bunkers right and back-left, while the gaping front-left bunker must be avoided at all costs. If the pin is hidden on the left, aim at the centre of the green as the ball will feed that way. Any pin on the higher right portion will have to take on the bunkers. Anything tweaked slightly left, will keep rolling away and could leave a tough two-putt for par. What the hole lacks in length it amply compensates for with its physical hazards, though arguably the most effective defence is the seed of doubt it plants in the golfer’s brain when presenting them with a seemingly easy hole. Petite, but perplexing!

8 Par 4

This dogleg left-to-right ‘brute’ of a par 4 brings the relatively ‘easier’ stretch of holes to a rather abrupt end. the hole puts a premium on finding the fairway from the tee, and a slight fade off the fairway bunker will leave you in the prime position for the 2nd shot, however, any drive which misses the narrow undulating fairway will have to layup short of the water hazard. Pin location will determine the best shape of shot to attack a green which cascades down from back to front. Don’t go long, as any shot ending end up over the back will leave an extremely tough chip back. A possible candidate for the toughest hole!

9 Par 5

There is no let-up as one of the toughest holes is immediately followed by the longest. There are no fairway bunkers on this semi-blind drive, so aim at the small valley in the middle of the fairway ridge, and just swing away — your drive will gallop forward down the other side. the tough choices on this 3-shot par 5 begin with the 2nd, where a decision needs to be made whether to take on the three fairway bunkers and leave a wedge in, or to layup short leaving a longer approach for the heroic ‘all or nothing’ 3rd shot. It’s an easier approach from the right side, which plays more down the length of the green, however there is no room for being short, and any shot too long will leave a tough shot back down the putting surface with water in the distance. Some may see this as an opportunity to finish the front nine on a high, but be careful it could also ruin a decent score.

10 Par 4

Similar to the ‘risk reward’ 6th hole, the back nine begins with a sumptuously teasing short par 4, however, the penalty for any mistake could, and probably will, be much more severe. A good front nine will probably lead to the cautious iron or rescue wood off the tee; while a poor opening nine holes could tempt a more direct attempt at the green. To the bold few out there, only a ‘faded’ drive in will hold the green. All approach shots from the fairway demand perfect distance control to the shallow, narrow and ‘smallest’ green on the course. Anything overly cautious will probably find sand short, while anything long will get wet. Balls may be coaxed in along the ground to a front left pin; however, any pin right or back-right will require the aerial approach. To reap any rewards, commit yourself fully!

11 Par 4

A wide yet undulating landing area, between the fairway bunkers, awaits a well struck and directed tee shot, where the best angle to attack one of the flattest greens on the course, is from the left side. For the longer hitters, don’t be fooled by the two bunkers that appear to be down the right, there is over 40m between them and cutting the corner will leave a markedly shorter approach. However, any drive missed too far right will leave a tough approach over the two greenside bunkers; the better play may be to miss to the green short-left on the approach, and take your chances getting up and down with a chip and a putt. With a good drive, there is every chance to make birdie on this medium length par 4.

12 Par 3

The ‘long’ par 3 of the course, this tough and demanding one shooter really does require all of the golfer’s skill and knowhow. A left-to-right tee shot can benefit from a generous bump-up onto the green, but any shot shaped the other way, will need to fly it the entire distance onto the putting surface. Only the purest of strikes will find this heavily undulating green, however, use the green contours to your favour and you could end up within inches of the flag. the green is well protected by two deep greenside bunkers, some bold contouring, as well as numerous steep run-offs on all the edges. Pins located on the either the front or back plateau’s are difficult to attack, so always play to the middle of the green. Don’t be deceived by the bunker in the foreground, this hole really does play as long as it says on the scorecard.

13 Par 4

And so begins the ‘head for home’! Two clear strategic options present themselves on this relatively easy medium length par 4 that sweeps its way, from right to left, round some natural wetlands. the easier option is to play right of the heather clad knoll which dominates the centre of the fairway, while the more difficult option off the drive is just left of the knoll over the largest and longest part of wetland. the latter option rewards with a decidedly easier approach down the length of the green, while any approach from the right will not only have to attack the green at an angle, but will also have to come over the deep swale depression that eats into the right side. As the only green with no greenside bunker, both the aerial and bump-and-run approach is encouraged, however being able to judge the bounce off the crumpled approach will prove difficult.

14 Par 5

The first par 5 on the back side, and possibly the last realistic opportunity to make birdie. the wide fairway pinches in at the first landing area near the bunker, but it is imperative to find the narrow fairway plateau to stand any chance of reaching the green in two. Mounds on the left side of this plateau will feed the ball back to the centre, so don’t be scared to use them. For those who attempt to take on the green in two, a right-to-left shaped shot is strongly recommended to stand any chance of getting close to this, the only blind green on the course. For those who choose to layup, the easier layup option is up the steep slope on the left, while those who take on the two large fairway bunkers on the right will be rewarded with a much simpler 3rd. All approaches from the left or short of the fairway bunkers will be blind, leaving a difficult to judge shot to the long fall-away green. Be bold, and keep hugging the right side for the best and easiest lines of approach.

15 Par 4

The first of two really long and tough par 4’s. Take direct aim at the fairway bunker on the left in the distance, it is not as close as it appears and serves as your ideal target; don’t be fooled into aiming at the other one! For the best view into the green, the perfect drive should climb the steep ridge in the fairway to the upper terrace. Any drive falling short of the ridge which defines the two landing zones, will be left with a long, uphill and semi-blind approach. the 2nd shot demands a right-to-left approach shot into the raised and angled putting surface, but don’t overdo it as the two deepest bunkers on the course are waiting to ‘guzzle’ anything that is short and right. the best place to miss this green is short-left, but even that will still leave an extremely awkward uphill pitch to a green perched on the highest point of the course. Do not miss right!

16 Par 4

From a raised tee position and with a slight breeze coming down over the right shoulder you can’t help but try to rip your drive on this dogleg right-to-left monster of a par 4. the best angle of attack is from the left side of the fairway, but for the overly cautious who don’t fancy flirting with the bunker, why not maximise the huge dune-like mounds which dominate the right side, to help find the centre of the fairway? Similar to the previous hole, the small central fairway bunker may prove to be a good target. the second shot plays down over a small valley to a diagonally angled green on the other side. It will be difficult to run the ball up onto the green with a right-to-left shot, so the ideal approach could be a left-to-righter flying directly over the deep cross bunker. You do however need to avoid the cross bunker at all costs and the best ‘miss’ is short-right rather than short-left or long. the green surface is not that undulating so a chip and a putt may still be possible. the toughest hole on the back nine, par will be a fantastic score.

17 Par 3

The final short hole and probably the most ‘picture postcard’ hole on the course. A tee shot, which suits a left-to-right shot, will require some form of carry over the large water hazard; the amount of carry lessening the further forward the markers are located. the short approach fairway is set on a diagonal, affording golfers the option of playing away from the lake, but two bunkers set right and back-right will likely ensnare the overly cautious. Each and every time, it’s wise to aim for the plateau ridge which dominates in the higher middle portion of the green. Avoid taking the direct route to the small back left pin and rather choose to use the contours to coax it close. the hole really is a truly beautiful and dramatic one-shooter, coming late on in the round, to test those nerves.

18 Par 5

This closing ‘strategy-packed’ downhill par 5 provides the perfect ‘risk reward’ finisher. There is multitude of drive options to deliberate over, each option offering something different in terms of reward. the ‘safest’ option is aiming up the right side of the two large, cavernous, central fairway bunkers. Choosing this route dictates playing the hole and a true 3-shotter, but it does offer the most fantastic views down to the green, clubhouse and river beyond. Taking the more direct route between the lake and the bunkers not only opens up the possibility of reaching the green in two, but it also offers the best line in to attack from. But, beware the small pot bunker which further accentuates the accuracy required if this is your chosen path. If the risk of finding the narrow left strip of fairway is too much, but the wish is to still challenge the green in two, the third option is to take the central bunkers head-on. Any drive managing to fly them will benefit from a big bounding leap forward to bring the green in range.

Any misdirected drive or drive up the right side will need to layup up short of the stream,which diagonally crosses the fairway, for the second, leaving a full shot in for the third. the green site is receptive to either an aerial or bumped-in approach between the bunker and stream. Any overly cautious approach missed to the left will leave an extremely tough chip to the rolling and undulating putting surface, however any shot missed right will find a watery grave and probably the odd ‘cheer’ from the clubhouse balcony. A spectacular hole which concludes the bold, beautiful, exciting, challenging yet enjoyable (hopefully) PGA National Russia golf course.

Information about playing the course as a visitor

ZAVIDOVO, PGA National Russia is a private member’s club. However visitors can play the course through the following channels —

  • As a guest of a member
  • As part of a Corporate partner arrangement
  • As a resident staying the PGA National Club House
  • As a home owner / resident in the Zavidovo resort
  • As a resident of our onsite partner hotels.
  • As a group via prior arrangement

During 2012 we for a limited period only had an «open door» policy to allow the golfing community to preview our wonderful course.

To apply for your preview round please contact Club President Alexander Yarunin YaruninAB@zavidovo.com