O nce again, Jimmie Austin is the closer. The Norman Transcript City Championship may not be decided here, but its champions will at least be crowned at the 7,197-yard, Par 72 layout. As for all those long holes? Well, if not won, the tourney could certainly be lost on the University of Oklahoma course.



One of the best examples of a course with something for everybody, Jimmie Austin appeals to the scratch golfer for its length and fast greens, as well as the high handicapper for its plethora of interesting and challenging holes, even from the regular tees.



It’s hardly ever punitive, which everybody likes, yet perpetually demands good shot after good shot for anybody wishing to score. The next cheap 68 at the OU course will be the first one. At the same time, you’ve got a chance on every hole, just as each hole has a chance to humble you.



As for the key holes, there are 18 candidates. Let’s take a look at today’s winners.



Best hole: No 12, Par 4, 290 yards.



Honestly, this is tough. There are a lot of good holes out here. This one, with apologies to No. 3 at Westwood, No. 4 at The Trails and a few nice candidates at Belmar, is the best short Par 4 in the city.



The bunkers and green make the hole. Depending upon the pin placement, often there’s no advantage to chipping up from a few yards out vs. a full swing with a sand wedge from about 90 yards.



So, if you want to drive it, drive it. But don’t be pin high and left. You’re better off hitting a 5-iron off the tee.



The sucker pin is just about anything on the left two-thirds of the green. It’s just so shallow. And chipping back from a few feet over is no picnic.



It’s a birdie hole, sure. Yet, even playing so short, 90 percent of the birdies made on it will follow a conventional route.



Good drive, precise approach, one putt. It only looks like it can be run over.



Honorable mention? No. 2, especially with a back left pin.



Toughest hole: No. 6, Par 3, 248 yards.



We could stop right here. The yardage says it all.



The green is forgiving, rolling hard from right to left, thus allowing just about every ball that finds it to finish no worse than in the middle. And it’s big enough, and free enough from trouble to make the tee shot nerve free. And still, even on a windless day, you’re talking about a Par 3 that might demand a 3-wood or 1-iron. Into the wind, many a strong player has come up short with a driver.



A fine example of many of the harder holes at the OU course, it’s very fair. Par is a great score, yet there’s no reason to make worse than bogey.



Just walk up, hit it solid and keep walking. It’s a long way to the green.



Honorable mention? No 14. Listed at 610 yards, I swear it can play 700, even out of the fairway. Absolutely the longest Par 5 I’ve ever played.



Most underrated hole: No. 13, Par 4, 428 yards.



Back in the old days, this one was part of a murderer’s row of long and tough Par 4s. The others were Nos. 3, 4 and 17.



For a 14-year-old kid just learning to break 80, playing with his grandfather, there was no end to those holes.



No. 13 is the last one standing. And with the technology of the day, approaching with a short iron isn’t uncommon. Still, we’re talking about 428 yards, every one of them uphill, on a hole demanding a draw off the tee and a precisely-clubbed approach. Because if 9-iron’s your 150 club most of the time, it might be your 135 club on this hole.



But for some fairway bunkers on the left, it couldn’t be any more straightforward. And still, it continues to stand up.



Kind of like the tourney itself.



Unique and one of a kind.



It begins today.



Clay Horning366-3526cfhorning@normantranscript.com

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