Bellerive Country Club is hosting the PGA Championship for the second time in its history, 26 years after it first hosted the tournament.
Check out this hole-by-hole tour of the course ahead of the championship.
The opening hole at Bellerive might best typify architect Robert Trent Jones’ description of a great golf hole as “a difficult par but a comfortable bogey.” The crowned fairway may be the most elusive of all to find with the tee shot, so the longer hitters may choose a 3-wood because the bunkers squeeze the landing area. Most players will hit a middle to short iron to this wide green.
This hole probably saw the most dramatic changes from the 2006 renovation. It used to be a difficult dogleg left where a player could not see the green from the tee. One of the main issues in the redesign was drainage. The existing creek was transformed into a lake, which shortened the hole by 20 yards. Off the tee, if a player lands the ball in the fairway, he or she will be able to be aggressive and attack and hole location. Otherwise, they'll be tasked with playing it safe from the rough.
This hole should offer several birdie opportunities, but beware the poorly struck tee shot. Water semi-surrounds the green, making the right side and back hole locations dangerous to access. If the cup is cut over the left ridge, there will be a good chance to see a hole-in-one that day.
This hole plays as a par 5 for the Bellerive membership. Tee shots will need to be shaped right to left in order to avoid bunkers and treacherous rough. Anyone who misses this fairway will have little chance to reach the green in regulation.
This is the classic definition of the Trent Jones hard-par, easy-bogey philosophy. Any kind of par will be accepted here, with the best birdie chance coming when the hole is cut on the left side of the wide green. Two large bunkers guard the front of the putting surface, supporting Bellerive’s claim to have the longest bunker shots in championship golf.
In the 1965 U.S. Open, this hole played to an incredible 4.03 stroke average. The green has even shrunk a bit since the renovation, making the front just as tough as the back-right shelf. For spectators, this is a hole worth watching. Hole locations cut in the middle swale could provide some excitement with tee shots feeding toward the cup. Still, plan on seeing a few train wrecks here.
One of the short par 4s at Bellerive, the seventh will give away more birdies than most. However, beware the front-left hole location; any player missing the fairway will be advised not to go at the flag. Trouble in the form of a creek lurks behind and left, and a big number comes into play with a misstep.
This hole has just undergone a slight change to the landing area off the tee.The left fairway bunker, which guarded the dogleg, has been removed.This allows players to take an aggressive line that potentially gives them an opportunity to get home in two. Still, it will take two good strikes to reach the green.The creek that hugs the right side of the hole is now exposed, making golfers think twice when laying up for their second shot. This green offers a wide but shallow target. Any hole cut on the left is protected by two deep bunkers.
There are many candidates for the toughest par 4 at Bellerive, but this hole may yield as many bogeys as any. It’s not the length that makes this hole so challenging.The classic uphill approach to the most complicated green on the course makes it impossible to gauge the right distance in order to be hole high. If the cup is not cut in the front bowl, do not plan on seeing many birdies here. Don’t be surprised to see many interesting up-and-down attempts here.
The 10th is another hole that plays as a par 5 for club members. The player must hit the fairway here in order to reach the green with his second shot, seeing how the rough to the right and bunker to the left are unforgiving. A wide but shallow green makes par a good start to the challenging back nine.
At 355 yards, the play is to lay up to the player’s yardage of choice. The back-right hole location is one not to be fooled with if hitting from a sketchy lie. However, if played up at a yardage that makes the green drivable, expect some reworks. At 290 yards or so, the prevailing southwest wind and slightly downhill slope will tempt the golfers to attack with driver or possibly even less club.
This is a solid par 4, with a good look from the elevated tee down the dogleg left. Keep the ball out of the left fairway bunkers and opportunities to score should abound. In 1992, Nick Price holed a 105-foot putt for birdie here en route to his first major championship win.
The hole location means everything to how tough this hole will play. If the flag is on the accessible left side of the green, plenty of birdies will be made here. If hole is cut back center or right, a routine two-putt will be a tall task. The slopes and ridges in this large green make for quite a roller-coaster ride.
‘The Ridge’ begins at the peaceful 14th. Players should grab their birdies here before tackling The Ridge’s final two holes. Players will enjoy hitting approach shots into the in infinity green that overlooks the lower holes and provides the most spectacular view on the course.
The second of The Ridge’s holes is a brutal par 4. Playing your second shot from the fairway, like any of Bellerive’s long par 4s, is a must. Usually played against the summer breeze, the hole will require middle or long iron into a wide but shallow green. The steep right-to-left slope and big front bunkers will allow short-game wizards to showcase their skills.
Again, the yawning Bellerive bunkers that lie beneath the front of the green present perhaps the most challenging of all sand shots. With a long iron or even fairway metal, this large green can be accessible, but the big misses will pay with a lost stroke or two. Make a 3 here and walk off The Ridge satisfied.
This is a wonderful par 5 with two potential teeing grounds to make the penultimate hole interesting. Most will be laying up to the cross bunker that splits the fairway in two, leaving a wedge to a green that is sharply de ned into three sections. If the tee is moved up, it becomes a most compelling hole coming down the stretch. Virtually all players could have a go at this green in two, potentially making a big move on the weekend. Either way, this is one spot to gather when looking for action on the inward nine.
The 18th gives very little, especially when trying to get to the house while protecting a good round or a one-shot lead. Again, placing the tee shot in the fairway is of the utmost importance; otherwise, this may be the hardest green on the course to hit. While there are no easy hole locations on the green, they get incrementally more challenging when placed back and right. The 18th should provide good theater throughout the week, but especially on Sunday.
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