PGA Championship Hole by Hole
A new tee constructed during Rees Jones’ renovation in 2006 adds 25 yards to this dogleg left that bends past a heavily bunkered right side and a stand of tall trees on the left. Most players will throttle back off the tee with a wood or hybrid, leaving a short iron in for a shot at birdie. The ball should stay below the hole on a green surrounded by bunkers.
A par 5 for the members, this hole, the longest par 4 on the course, demands a right-to-left tee shot to a narrow well-bunkered landing zone. Avoiding the thick rough and trees along the left side sets up a longer iron to a green reconfigured in 2006 to add a back-right hole location.
A prevailing wind adds difficulty to an already challenging hole. Players will favor the left side of the fairway to avoid the bunker complex and trees on the opposite side. A large green, pinched by bunkers on either side, runs quickly from back to front.
The scenic lake that protects the front of the green also surrounds the left side and wraps around in back. Selecting the right club from a new tee — especially when the wind blows — will probably be the biggest factor in hitting this narrow green. Playing from the sand behind the green to a pin tucked against the water could be a harrowing shot.
To defend a hole that played as the easiest on the course at the 2001 PGA Championship, several changes were made. A new tee adds 25 yards of length and cross bunkers were built at the 100-yard mark, forcing players to decide between laying up short of them or challenging them on the approach. Either way, it’s a blind approach to a tiny, bunker-laden green.
The skinniest fairway on the course is just 22 yards wide, suffocated by bunkers everywhere and a series of trees on the left side. The 2006 redesign brought the pond from No. 7 into play along the left side of the sixth green, creating the perfect risk-reward scenario for a 295-yard drivable par 4 if PGA officials decide to use a forward tee.
A new tee can stretch this potential birdie hole to 195 yards if necessary. While the water in front won’t be much of a factor, the steep-faced bunker fronting the green could cause problems, depending on the hole location.
A new tee has lengthened the carry over the pond to cut the corner of the dogleg left to 280 yards. Bunkers at least 300 yards from the back tee climb up the right side of the dogleg. A perfect tee shot that draws right-to-left off the bunkers will still leave a testy uphill approach. Iron shots mishit short or left could end up in more sand or water.
Driving it straight up the gut between fairways bunkers to a slightly elevated landing area could lead to birdie, although a tee shot lost right will be blocked out by trees. A short iron should have no problem avoiding the sand surrounding a wide green. The green slopes severely from back to front.
A set of fairway bunkers loiters up the left side of the fairway, catching anything from 260 to 310 yards out. A slight fade from left to right will set up the perfect approach angle. A mammoth bunker guards the left side. Staying below the hole is a common theme on the Highlands course.
This sharp dogleg left offers plenty of room on the right of the left-hand bunkers. The downhill approach is a beauty. Bunkers guard the left side of a long, narrow green, while a pond extended during the renovation catches any sloppy mistake lost short and right. Wedges could spin back into the water, too.
A new tee adding length won’t slow the longest hitters from taking advantage of this downhill hole and going for it in two. A tee shot that doesn’t make the corner of the dogleg left leaves a tricky layup to a landing area that shrinks the closer the ball gets to a small and shallow green. A pond and three greenside bunkers could ruin a good round.
Control, not power, will solve this puzzle. The shortest par 4 on the course is also the tightest. The fairway of this sharp dogleg to the right has tall pines lining both sides. A bunker up the right side steers players into missing it too far left, blocking out the second shot. A collection of bunkers guard the front of an elevated green with some hard contours.
The fairway of this slight dogleg right is hard to hit, partly because mammoth bunkers on either side make it appear there’s little room to land safely. From there, it only gets tougher. The most treacherous green on the course is elevated on a perch above four bunkers. The toughest pins will be tucked near these hazards.
The longest par 3 on the course can be intimidating with two bunkers and a pond that fronts the green and swings along its right side. During the 2001 PGA Championship, it caused almost as many big numbers as No. 18. A new elevated tee has stretched the challenge to 260 yards of trouble.
Do You Remember?
David Toms used a hole-in-one from 242 yards in the third round en route to his 2001 PGA Championship victory, his only major championship. Jerry Pate pasted a 2-iron within eight feet to make birdie and jump-start his final-round run at the 1976 U.S. Open crown.
With a back tee to lengthen the hole by 35 yards, this long uphill par 4 will play tougher than ever. The fairway constricts the further players drive it as the left side runs out of room. New bunkers protect the right side. The approach will be uphill to an unseen green that is slick from back to front.
Did You Know?
Leading the tournament to start the final round, John Mahaffey saw his hopes to win the 1976 U.S. Open fall apart with a bogey on this hole.
From the elevated tees, the lake in front of the green looks even more menacing. Playing downhill can cause players to second-guess their club selection, a deadly sin in a major championship. The back bunkers will see plenty of action.
This demanding finishing hole in the shadow of the clubhouse is a par 5 for the members, but its design is ideal as an unforgiving dogleg left par 4 for the pros. A precise tee shot will draw around the corner to the widest fairway on the course, missing bunkers on the right. A large lake comes into play near the left corner of the dogleg, wanders up the left side and spills across the front of an undulating green. Two greenside bunkers add more potential danger.
Do You Remember?
Needing a par to win the 1976 U.S. Open, Jerry Pate hit his famous “shot heard ’round the world," a 194-yard 5-iron from gnarly rough to within two feet to make birdie and win by two strokes. Twenty-five years later, David Toms hit the most famous layup in golf history. Toms’ wedge to 12 feet and par putt beat Phil Mickelson by a stroke at the 2001 PGA Championship.