Stanford University Golf Course Home of Champions
Hole 1 Hole 2 Hole 3 Hole 4 Hole 5 Hole 6 Hole 7 Hole 8 Hole 9
Hole 10 Hole 11 Hole 12 Hole 13 Hole 14 Hole 15 Hole 16 Hole 17 Hole 18

Stanford Golf Course Notes*

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"The Stanford course is a joy to play. It is both beautiful and difficult,
and requires you to master every shot. It is a complete golf course."
Tom Watson (class of '72)

Tom Watson said it best: "the Stanford course is a joy to play" and it will challenge any player. A steady game, not trying to overpower the course or hit every pin, can yield good results.

Greens are large, in good condition and roll true but have hard to read breaks. One key is to look for the subtle grain on the greens to help you read the slopes since the grain follows the slope. Thus downhill putts are a bit faster than they look and uphill putts a bit slower than they appear while the grain on sidehill slopes accentuate the breaks.

Although a par 70, scoring often will not be low mainly due to the greens and lack of roll on tee shots. The course plays longer than the yardage. A series of tough par 4s will test you throughout your round. Stanford is visually striking with many native areas separating 18 distinctive and memorable holes.

Hole 1 Notes: 501 yards (black tee). A reachable par 5 with a dramatic, elevated tee shot and a very deep green. It's 230 yards to carry the left bunker off the tee. The right bunker is 250 yards from the tee. Keep your tee shot right as the left bunker and rough beyond leave a poor angle for the 2nd shot. Avoid the short left bunker, 60 yards from the green, at all cost. With pin to the left, don't short-side yourself as the green falls away to the right. The green at the back breaks more than it looks. A good birdie hole.

Hole 2 Notes: 423 yards (black tee). A tough driving hole. 230 yards to carry the left bunker. Best to play a draw around the left bunker gaining extra distance as the ball kicks left in the fairway. It's about 240 yards to right bunker off the tee. Both fairway bunkers are very difficult from to play from with little chance to hit the green. Most 2nd shots hitting the green will kick a little to the left. There are subtle breaks on a big green. A bogey on this hole isn't too bad.

Hole 3 Notes: 193 yards (black tee). A long and challenging par 3. The hazard left and tall trees to the right catch many tee shots. The safer tee shot is to the right side of green. This green is very difficult to read and putt as it has a ridge running down the center. Downhill putts will roll out more than you think. A birdie is rare and a bogey here isn't a bad score.

Hole 4 Notes: 146 yards (black tee). A fairly short but often tough par 3. With the pin up front there is little room between the tight left bunker and the hazard to the right. Any shot hit right of the green kicks into the hazard. The bunker shot is a tough one unless the pin is back as the green slopes away. Birdies can be had but the key is to avoid a double on this hole.

Hole 5 Notes: 396 yards (black tee). A solid dogleg right par 4. Important to play left to avoid getting blocked on your 2nd shot by trees. There is plenty of room off the tee if you go left. Very large, elevated green has a left side slope sending errant shots off the green. Putts from back right to left and front are fast. A birdie hole with a well placed drive.

Hole 6 Notes: 408 yards (black tee). This #1 handicap hole requires a good drive. Off the tee, most should avoid the right side as the ball kicks right. Long hitters (260+ yards) can play down the right side, however, hitting into the open area past the right-side tree. The 2nd shot plays a bit longer than the yardage. The creek short of green (70-80 yards out) catches many errant 2nd shots. The back of the green slopes away.

Hole 7 Notes: 479 yards (black tee). This dogleg left par 5 is a good birdie hole. Hitting past the corner takes a 240+ yard drive and the green can be reached in 2 if a good drive is well positioned. Shorter hitters should play to the right side of the fairway to avoid being blocked by the corner trees. A very deep green slopes away at the very back but otherwise slopes back to front. With a back pin avoid the front bunker that would leave a difficult, long sand shot.

Hole 8 Notes: 144 yards (black tee). A short par 3 with a big green plays across a hazard -- check the wind carefully since the tee is sheltered. There are many, subtle breaks on the green. The hazard short and right of the green is only in play with a poor tee shot. The easiest of the five par threes at Stanford offers a good chance at birdie

Hole 9 Notes: 348 yards (black tee). This great, uphill dogleg requires good shotmaking from tee to green. The longer the tee shot, the more the hole opens up to the right. There is a hazard down the entire right side. Off the tee, aim at the right corner of the bunker (250 yards off the tee). All tee shots kick right. Add a club on your second shot and avoid the deep right bunker. The back to front sloping green is fast, especially in the back and front areas.

Hole 10 Notes: 404 yards (black tee). A strong uphill par 4 plays longer than the yardage. Favor the left side on your drive, which opens up the 2nd shot. To clear the right bunker takes a 220+ yard drive. Add a club on your second shot even if you're with the wind. A very deep, two-tiered green is challenging. Putting up the tier from front to back is very slow. The front half of the green is quite slopey. Par is a very good score here.

Hole 11 Notes: 348 yards (black tee). This short par 4 gives you choices off the tee. The right bunker is about 240 yards off the tee, left bunker a little shorter. Even top college players tend to lay up short of the fairway bunkers leaving a short iron 2nd shot from a level lie. Big hitters can nearly drive the green but trouble is brought into play left and right. The back of the green slopes away and putts from front to back are often hit long. The front half of the green is not sloped as much as it looks.

Hole 12 Notes: 446 yards (black tee). The signature hole at Stanford features two large oaks in the middle of a very wide fairway. Top players prefer to drive down the left side of fairway or into the rough to leave an open 2nd shot to the green. For average hitters anywhere in this wide fairway is okay as most play it as a 3-shot hole. The 2nd shot is challenging for almost everyone. The 2nd shot plays longer than the yardage as it's typically into a prevailing wind. A big, deep green once again slopes away at the back. Birdies are rare here.

Hole 13 Notes: 406 yards (black tee). A straight-away par 4 that's easy for long hitters but challenging for all others. The fairway is wide for long hitters who can carry the left bunker, about 240 yards off the tee. OB right is in play. Average players will be left with a rescue/long iron 2nd shot into yet another big green. Make sure to avoid the short bunker about 50 yards from the green to the left side. Downhill putts will be speedy on this green.

Hole 14 Notes: 163 yards (black tee). This mid-length par 3 offers more of a challenge than it first appears. Check the wind direction from the previous hole since it's protected at the tee. A steep bank short of the green makes uphill chip/pitch shots difficult. Stay below the hole as the big green slopes steeply from back to front. When pin placements are on the perimeter of the green avoid short-siding yourself as 2nd shots become very difficult here without plenty of green to work with.

Hole 15 Notes: 347 yards (black tee). This short dogleg-right par 4 gives you choices off the tee - a good tee shot and it's a definite birdie hole. The middle bunker is about 250 yards off the tee and the right fairway bunker 280 yards out. For most, a driver works well leaving a mid to short iron into the wide green. Longer drives (270 yards+) open up the tee shot and can result in only 40-80 yard pitch shots but these will be hit off sloped lies. For most players, avoid the right side off the tee as large trees block your line to the green. Stay below the pin on the green. The back and right sides of the green are steep and so leave your 2nd shot below and right of the hole.

Hole 16 Notes: 490 yards (black tee). This straightaway, uphill par 5 is only reachable by long hitters. The fairway bunker requires a 280 yard drive to clear it. It's a tight drive, safer down the left side to avoid the bunker as the fairway slopes to the right. A 2nd shot to left side of the fairway improves your chance of hitting green. You must avoid the trees to the right on your 2nd shot. Make sure to hit enough club on your 3rd shot and don't miss it right. Another very deep green sloping back to front. This green is fast downhill. Another birdie hole if played well.

Hole 17 Notes: 167 yards (black tee). This uphill par 3 is played into a large, two-tier green that provides the challenge. Often there is a helping wind but the hole still plays longer than the yardage. If the pin is on the right side of the lower tier, play left to leave a fairly easy putt. Missing right leaves a very difficult up and down. Avoid the front bunker as par is rare from there. The green is very fast from back to front on the lower tier.

Hole 18 Notes: 422 yards (black tee). On a clear day you can see downtown SF from the tee. This downhill finishing hole is a challenge despite a wide fairway. There is more trouble left off the tee from trees that often block a shot to the green, while driving down the right side of the hole leaves an open 2nd shot. You'll get some roll on this hole that plays into the prevailing wind. Downhill all the way, the 2nd shots are made tougher with the sloping lies. The big green is fairly deep and actually slopes away at the back of the green. The greenside bunkers are tough to get up and down from. Make sure you clear the right bunker on your 2nd. A great finish to a wonderful course.

* Course notes provided by Stanford member and former club champion Bob Stevens September 2014.
You can email Bob with suggestions or comments at