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Worthington Country Club offers a challenging round

WORTHINGTON -- With enough trees, sand and water to challenge even the most astute golfer, the Worthington Country Club can make for a long day.

With water or sand to compete with on every hole, the WCC can inflate scores with even one wayward shot.

On this day, heat and humidity accompanied a slight breeze -- calm compared to most days in Southwest Minnesota.

First impressions: Considering the lack of moisture over the past two months, the WCC was in amazing condition. The tee boxes, fairways and greens were very green and in good form.

Par 4, 349/344/337 yds

The first hole gives you a false sense of the course to some extent. It's rather wide open and straight away. However, you won't see a hole like this again for some time. There are small hills on the back of the green, and the green itself slopes left to right.

Par 3, 173/155/146 yds

What appears to be a short par 3, is actually rather challenging. A right side pin placement is nearly impossible to hit with an overhanging tree and a bunker on the right side. Back left is another bunker, and if you lose the ball to the far right, it may get wet.

Par 4, 390/364/336 yds

The third hole is a long dog-leg left. The best place to be is right on the drive, but don't go too far. An accurate drive is necessary to score well on this hole. By the green, a sand trap is on the right, and a back-to-front slope characterizes the green.

Par 4, 328/320/240 yds

The first shot on No. 4 is a blind one, but this hole actually helps you out. It's a dog-leg right, but the entire hole slopes down to the green, so being a little left on the shot isn't necessarily a bad idea. However, a bunker protects the left side of the green, so being right along the trees is the perfect place to play this hole.

Par 4/5, 435/411/403 yds

The fifth is a slight dog-leg, but is pretty much straight away. The only real trouble is on the left with a little water, but for the most part the green is the toughest part of No. 5. There is a slight ridge in the green, creating some impossible putts if you are on the wrong side of the ridge.

Par 5/4, 510/461/338 yds

Right away, the water on the left is intimidating, but it shouldn't be a problem. However, there are more than likely plenty of balls in the bottom of the pond, so it's something to watch out for. More water awaits near the green, and bunkers line the area between the water and the green, making it a very scary approach from the left side. The key to this hole is staying out of the water and beach, and playing up the right side is the best way to avoid disaster.

Par 4, 374/342/315 yds

The seventh is pretty straight away, but with houses along the right be careful not to lose it to the right, or you may have some upset homeowners. Staying a little to the left is not a bad idea on this hole, but a bunker on the left side of the green awaits golfers up the left side.

Par 3, 175/158/133 yds

The eighth is a short par 3, and seems to be a tough green to hit. There is a bunker protecting the green, which makes for a difficult up-and-down if your tee shot finds the sand.

Par 4, 402/391/287 yds

The par-4 ninth is a severe dog-leg right. Unless you are a big hitter and can carry the dog-leg, make sure you are left on your drive. There is another bunker on the back left of the green, and the green is very challenging. It is two-tiered, with the back right tier elevated. On your approach, make sure you notice the location of the pin, and the color of the flag, otherwise, you'll be looking at some very tough putts.

Par 3, 115/110/103 yds

The 10th hole is the shortest hole on the course. At 115 yards or less, it's a very unique hole. The green is practically surrounded by water, leaving only a small patch of grass on the front left side. Tall trees line and protect the left side of the green. However, getting on the green is just half the challenge. Once you are on the green, a drastic back-to-front slope creates incredibly difficult putts.

Par 4, 305/300/289 yds

As a short par 4, long hitters would be left with just a short chip shot to the green. A well-placed tree on the left can create some problems, but it's the sand around the green that you have to really watch out for on this hole. Three separate bunkers surround the green, and could prevent what should be an easy par on this hole.

Par 5/4, 499/490/376 yds

A par 5 for the ladies and a par 4 for the men, you'll start this hole with a blind tee shot. An intimidating tree down the right center makes for an even more difficult shot. Because of its length, the drive is a crucial shot on this hole. After the drive, the hole is a dog-leg left, so being close to the right side is a good idea. Once you are by the green, more bunkers await. Being safe and accurate on this hole is the key.

Par 4, 382/365/341 yds

One of the straightest holes on the course, the 13th green is what will inflate your score on this hole. The green is two-tiered, so the key is making sure to recognize the color of the flag and selecting a club accordingly.

Par 3/4, 229/186/211 yds

As a long par 3 for the men and a short par 4 for the ladies, the 14th is straight away. Being able to hit accurately with long irons or fairway woods is the key. A bunker creates some trouble on the front left, so missing right is not a bad thing on this hole. A slight break awaits you on this green, but the putts are not overly difficult.

Par 4, 385/379/324 yds

Right along the road, the 15th is a hole where you want to stay away from the left side. At the bottom of a small hill, a pond awaits. A bunker lines the right side, but that is definitely the side to come in from on this hole. The green is slightly elevated, making approach shots a little more difficult.

Par 4, 312/306/295 yds

The 16th is also by the road, but trees line the left side, protecting passing cars from errant shots. It's not an overly long par 4, but the green is tricky. It's small enough that you will rarely have a long putt, but hitting the green on the approach can be challenging.

Par 5, 523/515/461 yds

The 17th is a dog-leg left, and tightly lined with trees on either side. A hook is especially bad on this hole, with a forest to the left, so stay right on this hole. Once you are past the dog-leg, it's still a long way to the green. There is a drop-off past the green, so don't be long on your approach.

Par 4, 390/385/308 yds

The 18th is a pretty wide open hole, compared to other holes at the WCC. It is straight away, and a good hole to end your round on. There is a bunker on the left, and the green is smaller, so being short isn't a bad play on this hole. It's a good finishing hole, with an opportunity to pick up a par or birdie before heading to the clubhouse.

Final impressions: The course starts out rather easy, but becomes increasingly difficult with each passing hole. Accuracy is key at this course. Without precision, you will always be playing a shot under a tree, out of a bunker, or dropping from a water hazard. To score well, play safe shots, and don't get too ambitious. You may not make many birdies that way, but you won't be looking at a scorecard with triple digits either.