At Maderas, we know the 18th hole is often a challenge. By then you are tired, possibly distracted, and ready to tally your final score. However, shooting under par at the 18th hole can make a big difference in your score. At many San Diego golf courses, the 18th hole is also the most challenging. This is certainly true at the Aviara Golf Club.


Of the many San Diego golf courses, Aviara is the only Arnold Palmer-designed one. Its 18th hole is a long and difficult par 4 hole encompassing 443 yards. On days when the prevailing wind comes off the lagoon, another 15-20 yards are added.


On the Aviara 18th hole, your tee shot means everything. Water surrounds the hole on the left, while bunkers take up the right side. From where you are standing, aim for the bunker that will help you find the fairway. Many golfers use a fade on the tee shot, which gives them a slight advantage. However, beginners should not depend on fades. Often, a poor fade results in a slice.


With other 18th holes, the last two putts are sometimes easier than the tee shot. At Aviara, though, the prevailing wind makes the last two strokes harder. The lagoon wind blows directly into golfers’ faces, leaving them distracted and pushing the ball off course.

To compensate for the lagoon wind, consider clubbing up. If you normally use a six iron for a 150- to 170-yard shot, use a five iron. This guarantees you won’t come up short and helps you line up the shot accurately.

Most Aviara golfers come up short on their second stroke at this hole. Stroke average is about 4.5, or a bit under par. With this in mind, make your last putt for par. Even if you come up short, 4.5 at Aviara is like picking up a stroke anywhere else. Sometimes pulling out the pin helps.


Further Strategies for Par 4 Holes

Par 4 holes are probably the most difficult at San Diego golf courses. Course designers love making these holes especially long. Experienced golfers can afford to hit aggressively to make the hole in two strokes. The wind normally comes from the southeast; aim and hit accordingly. On your second stroke, aim toward the middle of the green. This keeps your ball from going in the water and eliminates bunkers.

On most par 4 holes, aim right, not left. Otherwise your ball will hit the water, costing you a stroke. We recommend our less experienced golfers bail out right and lay up. Additionally, do not show off. Move up and make your last stroke shorter, even if your yardage decreases. Give yourself time and plenty of practice to make those long shots.

Shoot from the fairway instead of the rough, and make your first two strokes as long as possible. You’ll have room to putt and make par on your third stroke, and increase your yardage on the first two strokes. Use a three-quarter swing to avoid tiring your arm.

Par 4 and par 5 holes require your A game. Many golfers find their scores get worse the longer the hole. Do not focus on this, or you’ll get frustrated and distracted. Golf truly is a game of mind over matter. Use the pre-shot rituals you’re comfortable with and give yourself every advantage when lining up the shot. Remember, the purpose of recreational golf is to enjoy yourself and improve your game.


Contact Us

You can now book a round of golf at Aviara or any other Maderas club online. Set your tee time or visit our website to learn more about the Aviara 18th hole and other difficult holes.