Don’t go from bad to worse
altusrol Golf Club, which hosted the PGA Championship, has a bunch of great holes. But I’d say the par-5 17th on the Lower Course (illustrated) is the most strategically interesting.
Right away, the distance lets you know this is a true three-shotter. It’s 647 yards (592 metres) from the championship tees with an uphill finish to the green, so only gorillas have any chance of knocking it on in two. (John Daly was the first to do it, during the 1993 US Open.) Most par 5s allow you to make up for a weak shot with a strong one, but that luxury doesn’t exist here. Miss the tee shot, and the hole effectively becomes a par 6. Botch the lay-up, too, and it’s a par 7.The reason is the four cross bunkers that divide the fairway. They’re the foundation of what I call a “progressive-penalty design.” This is a concept I’ve used in many par 5s I’ve built. Basically, an early mistake stays with you the entire hole. – with max adler