The drivable par-4 is just about the most fun hole design in golf. It allows big hitters to flex their muscle, and usually provides a decent opportunity to get up and down for shots that come up just a touch short. But when you get to the elevated tee box of No. 4 at Rio Secco, tone down the salivary glands just a little, Pavlov, because there’s an easier way to make birdie on this par 4 than ripping driver as hard as you can.
At just under 320 yards, No. 4 at Rio Secco is just what you need to get your front-nine back on track. Less than driver off the tee (anything from long iron to fairway metal) will find a flat spot on the wide fairway in the depression between the tee box and the green, leaving an excellent angle on approach. Don’t overthink your wedge shot and aim for the center of the wide, but shallow green – making sure to clear the steep front bunker – which should leave prudent players an excellent chance for birdie.
If you can’t control the temptation to grab driver, make sure to get all of it. The front bunker guarding the green makes for a tough up and down. The slope behind the green should catch long drives that couldn’t check on the dancefloor, but any shot that hangs up long of the green on No. 4 will leave a tricky downhill pitch, so heed caution, take your medicine and move on.
As one of the most popular hole designs in the modern game, the drivable par-4 provides an excellent opportunity for birdie for most players. But the Rees Jones designed Rio Secco golf club stays true to the risk/reward element of the short par-4, instead of giving players an easy eagle putt. It’s simple – if you trust your driver, give it a rip, but if par is good enough to win, a practical approach will leave more than a good opportunity to score on No. 4.