The par 4 4th hole at the Torrey Pines south course is one of the most scenic, but also one of the most difficult. It shoots about 500 yards, making it one of the longest on our “challenge list.” The hole is located near the ocean, so you must be careful to avoid the water. Additionally, bunkers surround the hole. Most golfers cannot make it in two strokes.

For this hole, start with an aggressive drive. Try to draw the ball off the bunkers, which increases your distance and the ball’s spin. Don’t draw too aggressively, though, or you’ll get a hook. If you reach the bunkers on your first stroke, you can play the rest of the hole like a par 5. If not, play toward the right to avoid the ocean. Aim your second stroke toward the front or middle of the green. Try not to chip; the hillside may throw off your shot.

Because of its difficulty, it’s okay to shoot for bogey on this hole. Many amateur golfers do at first, and improve their scores over time. If you are an experienced golfer, however, shoot for par on the final putt. As with many of our challenging holes, making par at this Torrey Pines hole is like picking up a stroke at other courses.


A three-wood or five-wood club is your best bet for the Torrey Pines 4th hole. A wood’s narrow body and large head makes it ideal for hitting long shots. On the Torrey Pines hole, use a low-lofted one wood club for your tee shot. Lower loft gives you better distance off the tee, which lets you focus more energy on your next three strokes. However, don’t be afraid to club up if you’re used to higher lofts.


Extra Strategies

The par 4 4th hole at Torrey Pines is a par 5 hole in disguise. Although difficult, par 5 holes give you a slight break because they’re often automatic birdie holes. However, don’t get cocky. Par 5 holes can still ruin your score without the right strategies.

It’s always important to play to your strengths, but even more so on par 5 holes. Experienced golfers with great long shots should maximize that gift. Be aggressive and try to increase your yardage on your first or second strokes, while aiming for birdie on the others. Similarly, golfers with good short games should put most effort into the tee shot. You can afford to be less aggressive on the following strokes.

Always know how to position yourself. Know the exact distance you can hit on each stroke and club up if needed. Play to the right to avoid water. If you miss the green, go up or down for birdie on your next stroke.

On par 5 holes, stick to your most comfortable clubs. It’s often best to lay up, which gives you more control over the ball’s position. Lay up often on a par 5 hole, especially if you have a good short game.

There is a fine line between playing aggressively and over-exerting yourself. On the strokes after the tee shot, find the most comfortable spots on the green. Do not mash or blast your club to make par. Instead, use a wedge to increase distance on your middle strokes, which will make it easier to putt for par on your last one.

Finally, always assess risk vs. reward on a par 5 hole. During a tournament, play as aggressively but intelligently as you need to for par. However, don’t push yourself during a recreational round. Simply avoid hazards, use a wedge, and determine whether your best strategy comes from short or long shots.


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To learn more strategies regarding the par 4 4th hole or any of our other challenging holes, contact us or book a round of golf online.