Atlanta Athletic Club, hole by hole
A hole-by-hole look at Atlanta Athletic Club, site of the 93rd PGA Championship to be played Aug. 11-14:
No. 1, 454 yards, par 4: A new tee lengthened the hole by 25 yards and provided a better angle for the dogleg left. Trees are down the left side, and a long bunker on the right side of the fairway starts at about 295 yards. Even if players choose a 3-wood off the tee, the longer hitters will have a short iron to a green that is surrounded by bunkers.
No. 2, 512 yards, par 4: The first of two par 4s that measure over 500 yards, this plays as a par 5 for members. The best tee shot is right-to-left that fits into a narrow landing area that features bunkers that range from about 250 yards to 350 yards off the tee. The green is undulating and protected by bunkers, and it was reconfigured in 2006 to allow for a back-right hole location.
No. 3, 475 yards, par 4: This typically is into the wind, making it one of the tougher holes on the front nine. The ideal location off the tee is to the left to avoid a sprawling bunker along the right side, from where it’s difficult to get onto the green. The green is large and is quick from back to front.
No. 4, 219 yards, par 3: A new tee adds 15 yards to this hole, which is all carry over a large pond that wraps around the back of the green. The putting surface is long and narrow, and a bunker is at the back of the green. The tendency is to favor the right side of the green, but that leaves a quick putt if the hole is located to the left.
No. 5, 565 yards, par 5: This played as the easiest hole in 2001, although a new tee adds 25 yards. The hole plays uphill, so only the big hitters will have a chance to reach the green in two. A fairway bunker comes into play on the right off the tee, and cross bunkers about 100 yards from the green have been added. The green is relatively small.
No. 6, 425 yards, par 4: Most players will opt for an iron or fairway metal off the tee to stay short of a pond that juts out into the left side of the fairway closer to the green. If the tee is moved forward to play 295 yards, it could tempt players to go for the green from the tee, bringing the water into play. Bunkers are in front and behind the putting surface.
No. 7, 184 yards, par 3: The water most likely will not come into play until a tee shot is extremely short. This is the only par 3 that measures under 200 yards. The green is wide and shallow, with a lot of undulation. The biggest challenge is the large, steep bunker that guards the front of the green.
No. 8, 467 yards, par 4: A new tee now requires a tee shot to carry some 280 yards to take it over the left corner of the water and reach the best landing area, with bunkers catching anything that goes too far. To avoid the water lengthens the hole. The water and bunkers again come into play if anything is short or left of the green. The approach should avoid going over the back of the green.
No. 9, 426 yards, par 4: Bunkers are on both sides of the narrow landing area, but any tee shot in the fairway leaves only a wedge or short iron to the green. Anything too far right be blocked by trees on the approach. This green is wide and slopes from the front to the back, and is protected by five bunkers.
No. 10, 442 yards, par 4: The hole can play even longer if the PGA uses a back tee, which is on the front of No. 1. A pair of bunkers guard the left side of the fairway starting at 260 yards off the tee, so a left-to-right shape is ideal. A short iron for the second shot should avoid a large bunker that guards left side of the green.
No. 11, 457 yards, par 4: The hole begins as a sharp dogleg to the left, although it requires a 290-yard shot to carry the last bunker, and anything short on the left side is blocked out by trees. Going to the right is safer, but makes the hole longer. The approach is downhill to a green that features bunkers to the left and water around the right side of the green.
No. 12, 551 yards, par 5: Even with a new tee, this hole tends to play shorter because the drive is downhill. Anything in the fairway opens up the second shot that brings some risk-reward into play. Water is down the right side of the hole for the last 100 yards, which comes into play for those trying to reach in two. The landing area narrows for layup shots, so most will opt to stay well short of the water. The green is small, shallow and guarded by three bunkers.
No. 13, 372 yards, par 4: The shortest par 4 on the course is also the tightest. It’s a sharp dogleg to the right with tall pines lining both sides of the fairway, and while a bunker to the right steers shots to the left, anything too far left can be blocked out by trees. The green is slightly elevated and guarded by a series of bunkers in front. The trick is to hit enough club into the prevailing wind to clear the bunkers, but still stay below the hole on this heavily contoured green.
No. 14, 468 yards, par 4: A slight dogleg to the right, with large bunkers protecting the left side up to 350 yards out and the right side up to 330 yards off the tee. The second shot is to the most severe green on the course, with large bunkers in front. The green is elevated and slopes from back to front.
No. 15, 260 yards, par 3: Various teeing grounds give the PGA plenty of options in how long the hole will play. It was the toughest par 3 in 2001. While it is slightly downhill, it features a large pond along the entire right side of the green. The best way to play it is to copy David Toms in the third round of 2001, when he used a 5-wood for a hole-in-one.
No. 16, 476 yards, par 4: The championship tee has been lengthened 35 yards, and bunkers added to protect the right side of the landing area starting at about 315 yards. Players will favor the left side, although they could be blocked by trees for the left hole locations. The second shot is slightly uphill to a mostly blind green, in which the player can see only the flag. The green is fast from back to front.
No. 17, 207 yards, par 3: The signature hole on the Highland’s course, this has tee boxes set at various elevation levels, all of them overlooking a large lake that surrounds most of the green. Anything going long, which is likely because of the water, could find bunkers and leave a difficult shot back toward the water. This played the third-toughest in 2001.
No. 18, 507 yards, par 4: The tee shot on this dogleg left should be right-to-left to make the longest par 4 a little bit shorter. Anything too far to the right might be too far away to reach the green, which is protected in the front by a lake. David Toms found this out in 2001, chose to lay up and made par to win the PGA. The undulating green is guarded by bunkers and has water front and to the right. This is no place to make birdie, rather to protect par.