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Scenic but stern Mid Ocean Club adds to beauty of Bermuda
The PGA Grand Slam of Golf has a new home on a new island in a new time zone. But thanks to a picturesque course called The Mid Ocean Club, and some of the most stunning scenery anywhere on earth, golf's most exclusive foursome will once again not lack for beautiful surroundings.
By T.J. Auclair, PGA.com Interactive Producer
Carved along the beautiful coastline of the breathtaking Atlantic Ocean, The Mid Ocean Club in Bermuda is the new home to the PGA Grand Slam of Golf.
On Oct. 16-17, Masters champion Zach Johnson, U.S. Open victor Angel Cabrera, Open Championship winner Padraig Harrington and former U.S. Open champ Jim Furyk will descend upon this paradise island just off the coast of the Carolinas to form golf's most exclusive foursome.
Previously held at the stunning Poipu Bay Golf Course in Kauai, Hawaii, the PGA Grand Slam has moved to a new course on a new island and in a new ocean for its 25th edition.
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Designed by Charles Blair MacDonald, the Mid Ocean Club opened in 1921. The exotic location of the course provides one spectacular view after another. Spectators will be blown away in particular by the views on the second and fourth tee boxes as well as the entire 18th hole. Looking beyond the cliffs from those three locations, the coral reef line can be seen in the crystal-clear waters. The water is so clear, one might even see schools of fish swimming about.
Relatively short by professional standards as a 6,666-yard par 70, Mid Ocean wastes no time getting down to business. The first hole, a 418-yard par 4, is one of the most difficult holes on the course and has been called the hardest opening hole in Bermuda. It's a dogleg left that requires a right-to-left tee shot to a fairway flanked by bunkers on each side. The trouble only begins there, as deep bunkers and a false front protect the green.
The second hole, a downhill, dogleg left, is typically a par 5 for the members, but will play as a 471-yard par 4 in the Grand Slam.
Players are greeted with two short par 3s on the front -- the 167-yard third and the 164-yard seventh. Many of the shorter holes are on the outward nine, as it plays nearly 500 yards shorter than the inward nine.
Mid Ocean is a course whose defense is the wind, which is as unpredictable as the weather in Bermuda. There is no prevailing wind on the island and on a calm day, the course could be defenseless.
While professional golfers love to take care of their scoring on the par 5s, Johnson, Cabrera, Harrington and Furyk might need to do it elsewhere at Mid Ocean. The course has just two par 5s and both are on the back nine -- Nos. 11 and 18.
At 487 yards, No. 11 is nearly 20 yards shorter than the par-4 15th hole. Players should have no problem getting home in two on No. 11, provided they hit a big drive and have a mid-iron in. It will be difficult to hold the crowned green with a long iron since the green falls off in every direction.
The 12th hole, a 482-yard par 4, will likely play as the most difficult hole on the course -- depending on the wind. If it's blowing straight downwind, this hole could be the easiest. The key here is going to be the approach shot up to an elevated green. Anything short of the putting surface is capable of rolling 25 yards back down the fairway.
The two par 3s on the back nine are no bargain at Mid Ocean. The 13th plays to 238 yards, while No. 17 is 199 yards.
On the 521-yard 18th, the only trouble really -- aside from getting lost and losing focus while taking in the incredible scenery to the right of the hole -- are the large, deep bunkers that guard this enormous green.
All in all, the Mid Ocean Club provides some of the greatest settings likely to be found an island filled with mind-blowing beauty.