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Tips from the Pro: A Player’s Guide to Better Scoring

January 29, 2021

Grafted onto a jaw-dropping site marked by massive dunes, granite cliffs and rolling foothills, Quivira Golf Club sprawls across a magnificent site at Land’s End. Now in its seventh year, Quivira, among the highest-rated of Jack Nicklaus’ international designs, has grown mightily in stature since its debut. It’s a breathtaking test with views to match.

But…you need a game plan to get around a windswept, topsy-turvy layout that can test golfers to the limit. The vertigo-inducing experience of tiptoeing along sheer cliffs, the sea thrashing far below, has captured the imagination of visiting players. But safely navigating the course can be a daunting task.

Antonio Reynante, Quivira’s director of golf, has a few friendly words of advice.

“Quivira can be visually intimidating, especially to first-timers,” Reynante explained. “And because of the edge-of-the-world setting, each risk-reward scenario must be weighed very carefully. When in doubt, take the conservative route.”

Here are a few of Reynante’s insider tips.

1. Quivira has a mesmerizing beauty all its own, but it is first and foremost a challenging course. Consider moving up a set of tees from your normal preferred yardage. You’ll have more fun and reach more greens in regulation. On the other hand, there are hazards, both visible and unseen, to watch for.

2. The invisible hazard is the wind. The prevailing breeze is from the southwest, but it can shift during the round and must be taken into account on every shot. Local pros have a favorite saying: “When it’s breezy, swing easy.” The idea is to impart as little sidespin as possible on full shots. Solid contact is the key.

3. Many of the fairways at Quivira are guarded by long waste bunkers filled with coarse native sand. Players can ground their clubs in these bunkers. Getting the ball back in play with a lofted club, as opposed to attempting a heroic all-or-nothing shot, is usually the best option.

4. Play the desert rule. If your ball departs the fairway and enters thorny scrub, take a drop two club lengths from where the ball entered the desert, penalty of one stroke.

5. Quivira is hilly. The land rises sharply from the sea to the mountains. Rolling fairways present an array of uphill, downhill and sidehill lies. It’s important for players to adjust their stances to ensure they hit the ball squarely.

6. Quivira’s greens are firm, fast and true. Spend some time on the practice putting green before teeing off to get a feel for how firmly the ball needs to be stroked in order to reach the hole from a variety of distances.

Finally, here’s some local knowledge from Reynante that will pay dividends for players at all ability levels. “Nicklaus, to his credit, built kicker slopes and containment mounds at Quivira that tend to gather the ball to safety and feed the ball to the hole,” he said. “A case in point is the short par-3 13th hole, which plays across a chasm to a tiny green that sits atop a granite pinnacle high above the sea. Hit safely to the hill on the left, and the ball generally will roll down the slope and onto the green.” And sometimes into the hole! No. 13 has recorded dozens of aces to date.

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