Door County’s Toughest Holes: The Orchards, No. 16

Golf is supposed to be relaxing, right? Being outside and enjoying the beauty that Door County provides is very soothing. However, there comes a time when a hole just has your number. No matter how many times you play it you feel deflated and wonder why you play this game. Throughout the season the Peninsula Pulse will spotlight some of the toughest holes in Door County.


No. 16, The Orchards Golf Course

Par 5, 577 yards

Most of the time, par fives are welcomed with open arms by all kinds of golfers. But Hole 16 at The Orchards isn’t like most par fives.

Posted near the end of the scorecard, within seeing distance (and well within smelling distance) of the clubhouse, No. 16 helps drift a golfer’s mind toward his post-round schedule. Disclaimer:  this is a trap; there’s plenty left to be settled on the golf course.

For starters, each of the four tees at The Orchards stretch to 500 yards or longer and make this behemoth the course’s longest hole. And all things considered, standing on the tee box might be the best part about golfing No. 16.

A relatively wide, downhill fairway extends straight out from the tee, blanketed on each side by a thick fescue territory. A good drive is sent bounding down the hill, right where things start to get dicey.

“What makes [No. 16] so difficult is not the tee shot, but the second shot,” The Orchards General Manager Jack Jackson said. He consistently has a clear view of the hole from behind the pro shop desk. “If your drive is long enough, you may attempt to get home in two, but if you aim directly at the green, more water comes into play, and a lay-up shot is also treacherous.” 

photo by Len Villano

The water he notes, marginally, is probably worthy of a higher remark. It’s a four-acre lake of sorts that sits between the holes 16, 17 and 18 and leaves golfers in the position to “get home in two,” like Jackson said, or “lay-up.”

To lay-up, however, takes a defined iron shot to a thin landing strip guarded by sand traps. Pick your poison; regardless, an extremely layered green waits after an uphill pitch. As if that wasn’t enough, a hurting wind generally makes this monster play closer to 600 yards. Best of luck!


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