Tuesday notebook

The 18th hole at Bayonet is as challenging as it is scenic.

Tuesday notebook

The leaderboard is peppered with players representing many different PGA Sections nationwide. Plus, Gene Bates, who redesigned both the Bayonet and Black Horse courses, checks out how his course changes are holding up.

By The PGA of America

SEASIDE, Callif. -- Heading into the third round, 20 PGA Sections were represented among players in the top 24. The Metropolitan Section led with five players in a tie for 24th or better.

In the 44 years of the PGA Professional National Championship, a total 38 individuals representing 21 PGA Sections have hoisted the Walter Hagen Cup. The Metropolitan PGA Section leads with six past National Champions. They include: Dan Massengale (1972), John Gentile (1978), Ron McDougal (1992), Darrell Kestner (1996), Bruce Zabriski (1997) and Ron Philo Jr. (2006). The Carolinas and Michigan Sections have four each.

DESIGNER ON COURSE: Gene Bates, who redesigned both the Bayonet and Black Horse courses, was on site Tuesday to see first-hand how his changes would hold up for a National Championship. And if the play so far is any indication, he did an excellent job.

"These are the best pair of golf courses I have played for a PGA Professional National Championship," said Jim Estes, who is competing in his seventh National Championship. "These courses are a great test of golf and I absolutely love them."

Bates had his hand in remodeling both golf courses, but did much a much more structural work at Black Horse.

"We kept the routing and general look of Bayonet the same, but we built a brand new golf course at Black Horse," said Bates.

Bayonet, originally designed by Maj. Gen. Robert B. McClure in 1954, reopened in 2007. The par-72, 7,104-yard design, with its narrow corridors and steep bunkering, remains one of the most difficult tests of golf on the Monterey Peninsula.

Bayonet retained its classic, tree-lined character, while showcasing Bates' elegant bunkering and graceful greens, the new Bayonet offers expanded views of the bay. Although the overall length of Bayonet has increased only 16 yards, the strategic and visual impact created by Bates' bunkering is immeasurable.

Black Horse, a 1964 joint original design by Maj. Gen. McClure and Maj. Gen. Edwin Carnes, was redesigned by Bates in 2008.

Highlighting Bates' elegant bunkering and graceful greens, the new Black Horse offers expanded views of the bay. Distinctively different than its previous design, Black Horse has been transformed from a series of tightly tree-lined holes to a more open, flowing and comfortable environment. Moreover, the strategic and visual impact is nonetheless developing into the ideal complement to Bayonet.

Black Horse is comprised of new tees, fairways, greens, and bunkering on each hole. It follows much of the original route, but takes several new directions, mostly notably are the 14th (par 4) and 15th (par 3). The 15th is an entirely new and repositioned par 3, already noted as being one of the signature holes on the property. 

Facing the bay with a wide view of the water and city as its backdrop, the hole also will play into a prevailing wind. A series of bunkers protect the right side of the green, with collection areas both left and rear.

"We removed around 1,200 trees and changed the speed of the greens as well," said Bates. "Those are complete game-changers."