Quail Hollow is a course the world’s best players know very well, having played it year on year on the PGA TOUR. Which key holes could decide the 2017 PGA Championship?
The course in Charlotte, North Carolina, hosts the Wells Fargo Championship in May each year, but steps up to the big stage between August 10-13 for the last of the year’s four majors.
It is course that, among others, Rory McIlroy and Rickie Fowler have triumphed at and where Webb Simpson is a member and resident. But changes made to the Quail Hollow course—including alterations to four holes—mean that it will offer a slightly different test.
So where could the 2017 PGA Championship be won and lost?
Hole 1 (Par 4 – 524 yards)
This is one of the four holes altered at Quail Hollow. The changes mean things get a little tougher from the outset. It is no longer a mere breeze, and is now a par-4 measuring a staggering 524 yards. That’s because it is the old 1st hole (an easy par-4) and 2nd hole (a 200-plus yard par-3) combined. A par to start will be a good thing.
Hole 4 (Par 3 – 184 yards)
Another of the ‘new’ holes, this one put together from what was left of the old 5th hole. It isn’t long, but there is danger surrounding the elevated green with three bunkers at the front while at the back the pros will be playing from below the green if they outshoot the putting surface. For those finding it, the green is scarily contoured and one where putts will go begging.
Hole 11 (Par 4 – 462 yards)
Lengthened by 40 yards, that’s not the only change that make the 11th hole seriously tougher. There are now bunkers waiting in the landing zone of the fairway in place of the old oak tree, and two sand traps in front of a now-raised green. Avoiding those will be essential to carding a good score.
Hole 16 (Par 4 – 506 yards)
This is the first of three tough closing holes known as The Green Mile. At 506 yards, it is another tough par 4 and one that can change the complexion of a round in a flash. Not only is it long, the mid to long-iron approach shot must be accurate with the green now repositioned on the edge of the lake—creating a dogleg to the 16th—with water in play throughout the last three holes.
Hole 17 (Par 3 – 223 yards)
No. 17 is the signature hole at Quail Hollow and a picture on the eye. With the green almost an island, the tee shot requires almost 200 yards carry to clear the water. A par is not the worst result on the penultimate hole.
Hole 18 (Par 4 – 494 yards)
Already one of the toughest finishing holes in golf, this needed no tweaking whatsoever. It plays well over par on average during the Wells Fargo and the key here is to stay out of trouble if victory is in sight. David Toms famously carded an eight here to see his six-shot lead cut to two, as he nervously scraped home for victory.