By Jeff Shain, PGATOUR.COM Contributor
Though not an “Alps” hole in the truest sense of the definition, the par-4 13th at the The Old White TPC has proven enough of an obstacle to rank as The Greenbrier Classic’s toughest in each of its three previous editions.
One of several holes architect C.B. Macdonald modeled after classic designs in Europe, No. 13 is styled after the original “Alps” -- Prestwick’s 17th in Scotland. But whereas the Prestwick model subjects players to a fully blind shot over a hillside – and the vast “Sahara” bunker that lies just over the crest – Macdonald’s uphill approach went only halfway with the concept.
Pin positions cut on the left side of the green are visible from the fairway – a nod to hotel guests with lesser skills. But a large mound quickly rises to block the right side from view, making those pins a tougher par.
A large bunker also fronts the right-side mound, catching approaches that come down short of the crest and roll back toward the fairway.
Over three years, just 127 birdies have been recorded at No. 13, with a scoring average of 4.216. No one has more than two birdies there over the course of a four-day tournament.
While no one has used a birdie at No. 13 as a springboard to Greenbrier victory, the hole has played a role in Webb Simpson’s back-nine Sunday stumbles in the past two years. A year ago, his drive into a hazard left of the fairway was part of a three-bogey skid that dropped him from the lead as Ted Potter Jr. charged to victory.