Course Spotlight: Building a game plan to tackle water-logged TPC Twin Cities
3 Min Read
Written by Keith Stewart @KJStewartpga
TPC Twin Cities is an amateur golfer’s nightmare. The property has 27 water hazards coming into play on 15 of the 18 holes. Where there is dry land, this week’s TOUR stop reveals 72 bunkers. All 14 driving holes bend in one direction or the other. Everyday golfers love to look for the on-course trouble, and our host venue for the 3M Open has plenty of it.
The forecast calls for a slight shower on Thursday night, but overall, the ground conditions are dry. TPC Twin Cities has received less than one inch of rain since the beginning of July. Temperatures are going to reach into the mid 90s and the air will be quite humid. A major aspect of building any contender’s game plan is understanding course details. TPC Twin Cities rests at 1,000 feet above sea level. As a PGA coach, I can tell you that will add two percent to your ball flight. The par-71 scorecard showing 7,431 yards just became a little shorter.
Flyover: TPC Twin Cities | 3M Open
The weather will also influence ball flight. Hot and humid conditions will add another two percent to your normal carry distances. To properly prepare, players will carry a small conversion chart in their yardage book. The next step will be to look at the golf course online and assess your landing areas based upon the conditions. Amateurs love to show up and let loose. Many PGA TOUR players employ yardage consultants to help them break down the layout.
TPC Twin Cities is the perfect example of how to prepare. Professionals see all the double bogey opportunities, but they use them as a framework to shape where to go. They select the safest landing areas and sections of each green. Imagine all of this happens before they get to Blaine. Compiling these course details begins to build out the skills needed. Upon arrival, each player can practice those aspects of their game on property.
Past champions of the 3M Open have all been very long. Cameron Champ, Matthew Wolff and Tony Finau possess tremendous power. A quick glance at Strokes Gained: Off-the-Tee reveals Garrick Higgo, Vincent Norrman, Champ and Ludvig Aberg near the top. Ludvig Aberg (+2500 BetMGM) epitomizes the role Wolff played in the 2019 3M. Not only an excellent driver of the golf ball, but he is also ranked in the top 10 for proximity to the hole and opportunities gained.
Further course inspection reveals a strong need for great mid- and long-iron play. Forty-five percent of the approaches attack from over 175 yards. Emiliano Grillo, Gary Woodland, Chez Reavie, and Hideki Matsuyama lead the field. Gary Woodland (+4000 BetMGM) checks every ball striking box. The 2019 US Open winner has put together an incredible ball striking year. Unfortunately, the putter has not converted enough of those birdie chances. Woodland currently sits outside the top 70 on the FedExCup points list and needs an inspired week to reach the Playoffs.
Tony Finau won a year ago by gaining over 16 strokes on the field tee-to-green. Conversely, he gained less than a stroke with the putter. TPC Twin Cities prep would reveal a winning strategy is possible without a hot putter. Cameron Young (+1400 BetMGM) led the Open Championship field in Strokes Gained: Tee-to-Green, Off-the-Tee, and Approach! With veteran caddie Paul Tesori by his side, I am certain their team will be prepared. If you question his focus after a major championship, keep in mind Young finished second at St. Andrews last year and followed it with a runner-up at the Rocket Mortgage Classic.
TPC Twin Cities presents a specific strategy for success. Follow your favorite PGA TOUR player’s preparation techniques and get your card ready to win this weekend.
Keith Stewart is a five-time award winning PGA Professional who covers the PGA TOUR and LPGA from a betting perspective. Founder of Read The Line, he is also published by Sports Illustrated and The Sporting News. Follow Keith Stewart on Twitter.