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A 22-handicap took on Firestone Country Club’s 667-yard ‘Monster’

A 22-handicap took on Firestone Country Club’s 667-yard ‘Monster’

I took on The Monster.

I did it by sand, by sea, by air and by grass (both long and short). I experienced just about all it has to offer and lived to tell the tale — well, barely.

Hi, I’m Ryan. Nice to meet you. I’m a 22 handicap when it comes to golf. What that basically means is that I’m not great, or maybe average-ish. The normal average for a male handicap often hovers around 13 or 14, so out of people who keep an official handicap rating, I’m about 8-9 strokes above that, though not many people keep handicaps until their scores begin to come down to that range.

I have no ego when it comes to my golf game and enjoy the ever-evolving process of improvement. To get an idea of where my game is, I recently broke 90 for the first time in many years, shooting an 87 at Mallard Creek that, for me, was a pretty outstanding day and a nice personal milestone.

But, basically, I’m someone who might get absolutely crushed by a very, very difficult golf hole.

So, meet The Monster: the 16th hole on The South Course at Firestone Country Club, where the 2024 Kaulig Companies Championship will be held next month, and where Tiger Woods roamed in dominating fashion for so many years.

The Monster is, well, aptly named. It’s a behemoth of a golf hole, even for the pros. Today, fully extended (or when this monster stands on its hind legs, one could say), it measures an almost ridiculous 667 yards. It’s a winding fairway armed with sand traps and trees that leads into an approach shot over water. In other words, it’s a golf hole that more so resembles a shark’s mouth lined with rows and rows of teeth.

To put it another way, it’s downright mean when someone like me tees it up. I am not armed with a 340-yard drive like others. It’s not nice. It’s cruel. There should be some sort of a crime involved when it’s 667 yards and still, somehow, only a par 5 instead a par 7 or par 8, which would offer some mercy. But, no, this hole is ruthless.

It’s also a great deal of fun to play and an enjoyable challenge nestled on one side of a pristine golf course.

Technically, the hole in its entirety measured 666 yards when it was lengthened in 2003, but they didn’t want that number associated with the course, so it’s now listed at 667. But does one yard really matter at that distance? It’s a long, long way.

I had the pleasure of being able to play Firestone’s South Course as part of Media Day leading into the tournament next month. We played most of the day from…


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