Golf your best round at Bully Pulpit: How to play the back nine

You’ve reached the back nine! Your drives were true and your irons accurate. Now the real test of your golf skill begins. We’ll start you off slowly, but once fourteen comes around — all bets are off.

Rattlesnakes will rattle in the brush. Your golf cart will squeal as you question whether or not it’ll make it up the bluff. Captivating vistas await, but so do daunting tee shots and tucked-away pins.  You’re golfing IN the Badlands. Not around them, in them. As General Alfred Sully would say, “the Badlands look like Hell with the fires put out.” No golfing experience comes close to this.

You’re rounds almost finished. Plan your shots out and execute them. Just make sure you take the time to appreciate the scenery. Bully!

#10 – Junipers

Par 4
Back into the woods with a very wide fairway seems to make this hole play easy. But there is a nasty left front bunker that demands a super second shot to a green that naturally falls away towards the back. If your driver is working well, try to fly the right side mound and bunker complex for if successful, the second shot is much easier. If the flag stick seems short, the hole is located in the little hollow at the back of green, so land the approach in the middle of the green and let the ball release to the hole.

#11 – Marquis De Mores

Par 5
This hole offers so many optional ways to play it. I’m not even sure which is best. So, I would play the drive in the middle of the fairway, then play a second shot well to the left of the green to the fairway landing area. Big hitters may be tempted to get home in two, which can be done but only with a near perfect second for a little too long or short could be disastrous. There is nothing hidden on this hole except the winds that swirl out of the Badlands and along the big butte by the river.

#12 – Sully’s Trail

Par 3
This hole is much easier than it looks except from the back tees and it is every bit as difficult as it appears to be. The green extends for quite a way to the right behind the bunker and ridge complex. The shorter tees will play down the long axis of the green while back are much more perpendicular to it. To top it all off there is a ridge through the middle of the putting surface and on either side it drops off quickly. Smart play is to the middle of the green until you know the course better.

#13 – Rough Rider

Par 4
This is a drivable par 4 for the very long hitters, but intelligent play is to the left and upper fairway. This is the most demanding green and bunker complex on the golf course. If your play line is to the lower fairway to dramatically shorten the hole, be very careful and precise with your approach shot for the margin of error is small and the green falls away from you.

#14 – Peaceful Valley

Par 4
This is the start of the “Oh my goodness corner,” for you are in the Badlands! The safe drive is to the left middle of the fairway to allow the ball to run down to the right. What makes the second shot so hard is no just that it is up 20 feet or more, but it also hits into the prevailing summer wind. So take a club or two more than you think, and aim just left of middle for too far right means a long uphill third shot.

#15 – Bully Pulpit

Par 3
Welcome to the Bully Pulpit and what could be one of the most terrifying par 3’s in golf – if not one of the most photographed. If you are on the lower left tee complex, consider aiming at the right edge of the green where it meets the fairway, for the widest margin of error. If you are playing from the upper or right side tee complex, called Bully Pulpit tee by a world famous golf writer, consider landing the ball short of the green and letting it run on. To go for the pin and miss can result in a very difficult recovery shot. But no matter which set of tees you play, take a minute or two and survey the majesty and magic of this beautiful landscape. This is truly “God’s country”.

#16 – Perched Rock

Par 4
Wow! Every single time I stand on this tee that is what I say – not just to myself, but usually out loud. Let your eyes feast on a view and listen to the quiet, I am reminded of the 17th tee on the Old Course at Ballybunion, in Ireland, and on that bench are the letters C.T.H. which stands for “closest to Heaven”. That view was spectacular, but not any more so than the one you are enjoying here. So take a deep breath and now launch your best drive of the day to the right edge of the fairway and let it trickle down to the middle. This approach shot must fly to the green so take plenty of club and aim to the right of middle.

#17 – Happy Trails

Par 5
This is another of those “dog gone” split fairway deals that definitely cuts a lot of yards off the hole by playing to the narrow left fairway. From there some very strong and adventuresome golfers can get home in two. Everyone else must play out to the right, while avoiding the fairway with a great chip shot. This green falls to the front and towards the creek, so play a little pitch and run shot, high and to the right and let gravity help you get it close. You just mastered “Oh, my goodness corner”.

#18 – Dakota

Par 4
Don’t celebrate your career round yet, for this last hole can be a heart breaker. Aim your drive to just miss the left side bunkers and you will have a middle distance approach to the green. This is not an easy approach but there are no hazards once you get by those nasty looking front ones. So being long is much better than a foot or two short.


  1. Doug Peterson
    April 21, 2015    

    I’ll be looking forward to playing the course this summer … Also, seeing the musical⛳️⛳️

  2. Duane Moe
    March 18, 2016    

    I’m looking forward to playing the course again in
    August. And also all the other things to do in

Leave a Reply