FT. MYERS, Florida – The 35th edition of the United States Golf Association’s Women’s Mid-Amateur Championship will be played at Fiddlesticks Country Club in Ft Myers, Florida over a six-day span starting Saturday Sept. 17 to Thursday Sept. 22.
After attending the media day presentation at Fiddlesticks on Aug 2, I had the opportunity to play the “Long Mean” course which will host the 132-player field. The USGA accepted 437 entries in 2022, the most since 2007. The championship is open to female amateur golfers who have reached their 25th birthday by the first day of the championship and have a Handicap Index not exceeding 9.4.
The 18-hole “Long Mean” course at Fiddlesticks Country Club stretches out to 7,077 yards from the back tees with par of 72. The course rating is 74.2 and it has a slope rating of 144 on Bermuda grass.
Designed by renowned architect Ron Garl, who has designed or renovated 250 courses around the world, the “Long Mean” course opened in 1983 and recently underwent renovations to greens and bunkers. The course will be set up for at 6,137 yards and play to a par 72 for the best female amateurs in the world.
1st Hole – This Par 5, 464yds starting hole has water left and right off the tee. A well-placed drive will leave you looking at waste areas to your left and a large bunker along the entire front left of the green. Your second shot needs to stay towards the right side of the fairway leaving you with an easier approach to this green.
2nd Hole – This Par 4, 359yds dogleg left hole has water lining the left side of the fairway with trees strategically located to prevent you from cutting the corner. You need to concentrate on keeping your drive to the middle of the fairway for a second shot to a raised green with a bunker on the right.
3rd Hole – This scenic Par 3, 133yds hole has a waterfall feeding a stream running along the right side of the fairway from green to tee. The left side has both water and trees. Proper Club section will give you a birdie putt.
4th Hole – This Par 5, 518yds has the right side of its fairway water lined. There is a waste area running the entire left side. A solid drive to the middle of the fairway will give you a good chance to reach this green in three.
5th Hole – This Par 3, 179yds is a little more trouble than it looks. A tee shot left or right of center could end up rolling well off the green leaving a difficult second shot. This green slopes back to front which makes a left or right-side putt more difficult.
6th Hole – The Par 4, 357yds hole is like the first hole with a large waste area protecting the entrance to the fairway. A tee shot directed to the left side of the fairway will be your best opportunity to reach this well protected green in two.
7th Hole – This Par 4, 335yds hole requires you to keep your drive down the middle. Avoiding the large waste area in front of a raised green should leave you either a short uphill chip or putt on a sharply breaking green.
8th Hole – This Par 4, 382yds dogleg left hole with water running the entire left side and trees at the bend of the fairway requires keeping your tee shot down the right side leaving you with a long second shot to the green. A bunker guards the right front of this green.
9th Hole – The Par 4, 328yds dogleg right hole is one of Fiddlesticks’ Signature Holes. There are trees off the tee on the right side of the fairway, which will take away any opportunity to shorten the distance of your second shot. A drive down the middle will leave you with your best chance to reach this island green in two.
10th Hole – This tree lined Par 4, 364yds hole requires an accurate tee shot that stays to the left center of the fairway. There is a long and wide waste area running the entire left side to the green. This unguarded green is a tempting target that requires a well-placed approach shot to land firmly on the green.
11th Hole – This Par 5, 489yds has a wide fairway that needs a tee shot down the center. Anything hit to the right side will have to negotiate a row of Church Pew bunkers. Failure to do so will make it almost impossible to reach the green in regulation. Just pay attention to the four bunkers awaiting an errant approach shot to a small green.
12th Hole – This Par 4, 348yds dogleg left fairway is lined with an enormous waste area that ends in front of a large bunker that runs the entire left side of the green. The fairway tapers and bends to the left the closer it gets to the green. An undisciplined approach shot can make this hole a bogey or worst.
13th Hole – The Par 3, 162yds hole is innocent looking enough for an aggressive tee shot straight to the middle of the green. Anything hit short and right will give you a bunker problem that could quickly change the complexion of the hole. Choose you club wisely on this hole and think long!
14th Hole – This Par 4, 370yds tree lined tee shot requires a drive to the right center of the fairway. The waste area along the left side is large but will not interfere with well-placed shots. Do not be fooled by the openness of the green, it is protected by a false front, bunkers, and mounds. A layup on your second shot might make the end results more to your liking.
15th Hole – The Par 4, 367yds dogleg right hole has water running the entire right size of the fairway. A good drive down the center will entice you to play over the water to a wide open green on your second shot. There are bunkers to the left and back of the green but will not interfere with a well place shot.
16th Hole – This Par 4, 405yds hole is another in the list of water lined fairways. Your second shot will be decided by the length of your tee shot. A long narrow green, protected by bunkers on the left side,
requires an accurate shot that settles quickly on the green.
17th Hole – This Par 3, 142yds hole is not for the faint of heart. It has water running along its entire left side making it almost impossible to reach without carrying the water with your tee shot. A large waste area makes up 90% of the fairway if you decide to go in that direction. It has a long receptive green that
is awaiting your well-placed tee shot.
18th Hole – The Par 5, 499yds hole is another Fiddlesticks’ Signature Holes. It starts out with a large dogleg right fairway inviting golfers to take their best shot. Fairway bunkers are strategically placed along the right side of the fairway to prevent most golfers from cutting the edge. Your second shot needs to cover enough distance to have a reachable third shot over the water at this ‘Island Green.’ Reaching this green in two is a possibility for some golfers but it requires two long accurate shots and a lot of courage.