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A fairly easy opening hole played downwind from atop a hill,
with trees and palmetto bushes protecting the driving range on the
right. The most difficult pin poistion is back left-center
near a wraparound bunker. Approach shots should be aimed for
center right of the green.
The ideal target off the tee is left center, which opens up the
right side of the green. The long green presents a three-club
difference from front to back, but it should not be a difficult
second shot from the fairway with a middle to short iron. The
toughest pin position is back left. In 1989 Nicklaus built a new
tee and moved the green left.
Nicklaus' re-design eliminated the mid-fairway water hazard,
making it a fairer hole. The second shot is a gamble for
those wishing to try for the green in two. A long bunker
keeps balls from rolling into the water. It's a straight shot
to the green from left center of the fairway, but a bunker on the
right makes a pin in the back right hard to reach.
This was formerly a par 3. The downwind drive demands
positioning for the proper approach shot, a wedge that can be spun
and held on the green, preferably a high, soft shot from around 100
yards. Otherwise the ball rolls off the back of the green
into a grassy swale, especially when the pin is placed back
right. The green, slightly elevated, is well-bunkered.
This hole also plays downwind, usually with a middle iron. It's
a deceptive shot, with a large depression making the green seem
smaller than it is. The best shot is a draw, but not too much of a
draw since there's water running the full left side. The toughest
pin position is back left. It was par 4 before Nicklaus' changes,
which moved the green near the lake.
Although the sixth is a reachable par 5, hence a reasonable
birdie hole, most players will lay up for a pitch shot to the
green. The preferred drive and second shots are draws.
There's plenty of room on the right to bail out. The
difficulty is the water on the left side from tee to green, making
a back-left pin position tough.
A faded middle to long iron is the required tee shot, virtually
all carry over wasteland with trees and bunkers right and
out-of-bounds left. The green is four clubs deep with back
right the toughest pin location. There are substantial waste
bunkers on the right and large collection hollows on the left for
errant shots. The green has a dip that separates pin
Though it plays into the prevailing wind, the players may choose
to hit 3-woods or long irons off the tee because of a canal
crossing the fairway up near the green. Left center is the
preferred fairway position. For the best control, the approach
should be a long iron or knockdown middle iron kept low. Back right
pin position is most difficult.
The perfect tee shot is a draw to the center of the fairway,
leaving a middle to short iron to the green at the bottom of the
hill. Back left is the toughest pin position. Anything over the
green results in a tough up-and-down situation for par. Nicklaus'
changes resulted in more gallery area behind and to the right of
Nicklaus' changes led to a switch of pars with No. 11, which had
been a 5. The 10th is reachable in two but there's a pot bunker
guarding the entrance to the green. After the 1990 PGA Seniors'
Championship, trees were added along the right side to deter
players from hitting into the 9th fairway.
Many feel this is where the golf course becomes really
difficult. There's very little let-up on the last eight holes. How
tough is No. 11? The only place for the second shot is on the
green. Anywhere else is a likely bogey or worse. With trees on the
left, the tee shot calls for a 3-wood. The most difficult pin
position is front right, near the water.
A drive to left center leaves you with a left-to-right second
shot to one of the course's flattest greens. A bunker at the
right front of the green makes the front to middle right of the
green the most difficult pin position. Large gallery area
behind the green connects to the gallery area behind the 15th green
and 13th tee.
The ideal tee shot is a draw to the right center as there's a
200-yard bunker along the left side. An elevated green with a
steep-faced bunker front left requires a soft landing with a middle
to short iron. Back left is the toughest pin placement.
Water on the right can catch a faded tee shot.
This starts what may be the five toughest finishing holes in
golf. A middle to long iron second shot is required after a
drive to the left center of the fairway. The approach has to
carry to the green because there's no chance of running the
ball. Because of close out-of-bounds left and behind the
green, the most difficult pin position is back left.
The back of the green was raised after 1990 for
visibility. The hole usually plays into the wind and a fade
aimed at the bunkers on the left will likely avoid the water on the
right. The tough pin is back right. This hole begins
the tough three hole stretch called "The Bear Trap."
This dogleg right is the toughest par 4 of all of PGA National's
90 holes. Off the tee, everything slopes toward the water on
the right, but a bunker was added to catch balls that roll too far
right. Those who bail out left are faced with a 220-yard
second shot over water, into the wind.
Although there are eight sets of tees for recreational play,
this shortest hole on the Champion is by no means the easiest. With
the wind in your face or when it's blowing left to right toward the
water to the right -- and a bunker long and left -- the only place
to put your tee ball is on the green. With just a 30-foot landing
area there, the toughest pin is middle left.
This is a superb finishing hole with plenty of viewing areas.
There is ample opportunity to reach the green in two. For the more
conservative players, a middle to long iron second shot to about
100 yards short of the green sets up an ideal pitch shot. The
toughest pin position is back right.
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