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How to play Jimmy Clay Golf Course

I love/hate Jimmy Clay, I think it's probably one of the hardest muni courses in Austin. At 6,368 from the white markers it's plenty long for me and combines both wide open and narrow fairways. After six months of playing it almost exclusively I'm close to getting it figured out and I thought I'd share my notes.

Please note: This applies to Clay before the 2007 revisions and several holes have changed significantly. I will have them updated in the next several weeks.

Hole 1, 378 yards, par 4 - Tee image, fairway image, green image

A dogleg left with water on the left. You'll want to try and stay right and avoid the left. A reasonably good drive will leave you with a doable iron shot to the green.

Hole 2, 132 yards, par 3 - Tee image, green image

The easiest par three at Clay. Never be long, you'll be in trouble and avoid the trap on the left.

Just to make you feel bad in 1992 Brittany Andres, age 6 years, 19 days, scored an ace on this hole. The recorded distance is 86 yards.

Hole 3, 357 yards, par 4 - Tee image, green image

Fairly narrow. If you hit a driver straight go for it, otherwise stick to your three wood. A shot to the right over the trees isn't the end of the world but hitting left is.

Hole 4, 489 yards, par 5 - Tee image

Drive right of center and then right again for your second shot for everything other than a red flag. Going to the right will leave you with a "mouth" and take the bunkers out of play. Stay away from the right, it's deadly.

Hole 5, 133 yards, par 3 - Tee image, green image

Relatively straight forward hole, just don't go over the back. The green slopes back to front so anything past the hole is going to be very fast.

Hole 6, 307 yards, par 4 - Tee image, green image

A potential birdie hole. Stay in the fairway and attack your approach.

Hole 7, 475 yards, par 5 - Tee image, green image

A straight par 5, grip and rip. The wide open fairway always tempts me into over hitting so stay straight. A big uphill to the green, use an extra club.

Hole 8, 426 yards, par 4 - Tee image

A tough hole, consider par a birdie. Long and a slight dogleg left. Hit right of center and you'll get a good carry with only a seven/eight iron to the green.

Hole 9, 382 yards, par 4 - Tee image, green image

Slight dogleg right. Hit left of the trees and stay in the fairway; the rough on the right makes it hard to hit the green. Watch the wind as it's often strong and in your face as it was the day of these images and I came up very short on my drive and 2nd shot.

Hole 10, 479 yards, par 5 - Tee image, green image

Another birdie opportunity with a bit of luck. Hit right of center and then fade a 3 wood into the green or on the hill for a chip shot.

Hole 11, 406 yards, par 4 - Tee image, green image

Straight away, just don't hit right.

Hole 12, 178 yards, par 3 - Tee image, green image

The toughest par 3 on the course. Don't hit right, better to come up short and chip to the green. In this picture I got lucky; hit left with slight fade and got a great bounce from the hard pan.

Hole 13, 378 yards, par 4 - Tee image, green image

This hole plays a bit longer than 378 for me as there's a pretty good uphill but it's wide open. Avoid hitting the front bunker, better to go long and chip back.

Hole 14, 171 yards, par 3 - Tee image, green image

Another tough par 3. Left or right will give you a bogie, better to put it in the bunker. No ball on the green in the image, I hit left, got a big bounce from the cart path and I was down for a double. Ouch.

Hole 15, 351 yards, par 4 - Tee image, green image

Defender by the "defender", a huge oak tree in the middle of the fairway from a tee that sits in a chute. Better to go right of the oak tree as that will give you a better shot to the green which is protected by bunkers left and right.

Hole 16, 512 yards, par 5 - Tee image, green image

A downhill par 5 with a tricky green. If I can avoid the trees I score better if I play it from the right side.

Hole 17, 395 yards, par 4 - Tee image, green image

Uphill for the first half and downhill for the second half. A drive left is better than a drive right. Very heavy left to right wind pushed my second shot far left.

Hole 18, 419 yards, par 4 - Tee image, green image

Why end on a good note, get humiliated so you'll come back. Water left, woods right and a narrow opening for the drive. A drive right will probably leave you a shot if you're lucky. A long iron into the green which is protected by two bunkers. If you hit the bunkers on your 2nd shot consider yourself lucky.


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