Hole-by-hole guide to Quail Hollow

Quail Hollow

NCG travelled to North Carolina to bring you an exclusive rundown on what faces the players in the year’s final major at a familiar but much-changed venue.

1st

524 yards, Par 4

The tees remain where they were but it has been lengthened considerably by swallowing up the land where the old 2nd was. Previously, players were not hitting driver off the tee on this hole; now they will be for sure.

Where the bunker short of the green sits now is where the green used to be, and the new 1st green is in a similar location to where the old 2nd green was.

It becomes a dog-leg right and it will be a par 4 for the PGA, but a par 5 for members.

A fade off the tee will leave players on an elevated landing zone beyond the corner and then it’s an approach to a small green with a bit of movement in it and which is guarded by three large bunkers as well as run offs left and right. An apron to the front will reject anything short.

2nd 

452 yards, par 4

This is the old 3rd hole, a sweeping dog-leg to the left that requires a 280-yard drive to get to the corner.

The difficulty is that the land slopes left to right so you need to either hug the left side to give your ball a chance to stay in the fairway, or hit a soft draw around it.

A strong draw that moves too much right to left will end up among thick mature trees. The green is elevated and slopes back-to-front.

3rd

483 yards, par 4

This arrow-straight hole – the tee was moved 50 yards to the left in 2012 to correct a kink – gives a glorious view from the tee of the beautiful green complex that awaits.

Just one drive bunker on the right – although the carry to merely reach the fairway is over 230 yards – but then it’s a mid-iron approach to a ‘push up’ green with white-sand bunkers set into its banks.

These are proper bunkers too, while the green surface is divided by a small ridge separating the front from the back.

4th

184 yards, par 3

A brand new hole, created on the land that was once used by the old 5th. That was a par 5 that twisted right then left and ended on a green a little left of where the 4th’s sits now.

The new hole is a par 3 that is not long by modern standards but is defended by huge bunkers to the front while there is lots going on on the big green, which has fall offs to the back and sides as well as undulations and slopes on it.

It is a beautiful new short hole with spindly, towering pines as its backdrop.

5th

449 yards, par 4

The last of the big changes is at the 5th, and it is likely to be a key hole. This former par 5 is now a two-shotter that turns to the right between bunkers right and left – with the former’s encroaching intimidatingly into the fairway.

It plays down then back up a shallow valley and players will try to fly the right traps and give a short iron into a flatter, narrow green with less severe fall offs and devilish contours. Instead, it just sits in the natural terrain land. A front right bunker guards the entrance to the slightly-elevated target.

6th

249 yards, par 3

Quail Hollow’s longest par 3 is a beautiful downhill short hole among deciduous trees and pines.

There are bunkers front left and back right but it is the green’s false front and slopes from back to front that will cause the headaches here.

7th 

546 yards, par 5

After the tough start, the field will look to pick up one or two shots at the shortest par 5 at Quail Hollow.

Webb Simpson’s house overlooks the tee, from which you must thread a drive between bunkers on the left and the creek that runs all the way down the right.

The hole turns right at the green, beyond bunkers right and left. There is a big ridge almost down the middle from back to front in the huge green and a fall off to the left.

The water that is a factor all the way down the hole and the awkward green means that while distance will not be a problem here, it is no guarantee of a birdie on better, especially with lots of potentially evil pin positions.

8th

346 yards, par 4

This hole was altered five years ago – with the tee at a better angle and a bigger landing zone around a totally re-worked green – to make it more appealing for those attempting to drive the green.

Bunkers were also added on the left, but it is the one on the right closer to the green – and the tree on the front left corner – that will be most in play. Expect most players to have a crack at it – and for the PGA to come up with some extreme pins, such as three paces from back and left, to protect it.

9th

505 yards, par 4

Just the 505 yards for the course’s longest two-shotter. It’s a dog leg to the left along a rolling fairway and the right-hand drive bunker will see some action during the week because the rough on the left is gnarly.

The approach plays uphill – to effectively add a few more yards – to a huge green with a new bunker on the right. It’s a big green but there is less movement in it than some – but still some tricky pins available.

10th

592 yards, par 5

The longest par 5 but dead straight to a back-to-front and right-to-left sloping green that is very slender and has run offs and sand to add further protection.

But they’ll still be going for it in two assuming they avoid the bunker on the left off the tee.

11th

462 yards, par 4

The biggest change on the back nine has seen bunkers added here and the green pushed back so it extends the hole by 40 yards.

Also, a mature oak that was positioned on the left edge of the fairway at the corner of the dog-leg has been replaced by two bunkers. The brand-new green is slightly elevated and has two bunkers on the left.

12th

456 yards, par 4

This hole has the narrowest fairway on the course, even more slender than the 7th. The trees encroach into the playing areas significantly so threading a driver between them will be an exacting task.

There is a significant tier in the green too, so while it is not the longest par 4 here, expect the 12th to play as one of the tougher holes.

13th

208 yards, par 3

Part of a very good set of par 3s, this one is very open and will have great vantage points for fans.

The tee and the very flat green are almost on the same level with a big dip in between. Two large bunkers and a funky green defend this point-to-point par 3.

It is a relatively new green having been moved left of its former position in 2013 and the new surface slopes back to front and has a scoop out of its middle.

14th

344 yards, par 4

If you’re chasing on Sunday, you’ll have a crack at this short two-shot hole despite water lurking on the left. It is well bunkered too both off the tee and either side of the green. But everything points to a soft draw to find the lake-side green.

It’s a cool hole and a nice change of pace after what feels like a lot of hitting. The green is reasonably long but very narrow with plenty of undulation in it.

The play will be to get your drive down there and bounce it in off the banks on the right.

But if your ball sticks in the grassy slopes or sand, you face a shot directly towards the lake. The reward is there, but so is the risk. It starts a very good five-hole climax.

15th

577 yards, par 5

A lot can happen at 15 too. In fact, there could be a three or four-shot swing easily on these two holes come Sunday afternoon.

This is the last par 5, a swinging dog-leg to the left, the lake keeping you honest off the tee even if for the pros it would take a very poor shot to find it.

Plenty will reach in two off good drives despite the second being uphill in what feels like the biggest elevation change on the course.

The green has falls-off to the back and sand at the front but will help you off the right side. There is also a ridge running down the middle of the green.

16th

506 yards, par 4

The start of the famed ‘Green Mile’ closing a stretch. (Only half of the name is true.) The second 500-plus par 4 winds steadily down as it turns right to a green that was moved 80 yards to the left so it sits on the edge of the lake.

It is one of the biggest greens on course and there are loads of pinning positions with a back ledge on the green. Left or long, though, with what will be a long-iron approach, is wet.

The stands will make it feel like the 16th at Augusta for spectators.

17th

223 yards, par 3

Now played from where the old 16th green was, this picturesque hole is played over the lake – which is also hard to the left side. There is a bunker in front of the green and a drop-off to the right into hollows, so if you bail out away from the water off the tee you’ll be chipping back down towards the water with an exacting second.

The green slopes that way too, and there is nothing to stop mis-hit chips running away from you, bouncing on a rock and plopping in. The bunker short will actually be a better miss.

18th

494 yards, par 4

Quail Hollow’s signature hole. It’s a great-looking tee shot if you’re playing with friends – possibly not if there is a major on the line – with more than 100 trees removed to make it a better viewing experience for the galleries.

A creek runs up the left, and a bunker right. Then it is uphill to the deep, sloping green that is cuddled by the creek and has two traps on the right.

It is not one of the PGA Tour’s toughest finishing holes for no reason.

Keep up to date with all the latest from Quail Hollow on NCG’s dedicated PGA Championship site

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