It’s PGA Championship week and one of the most exciting tournaments in some time will take place. With the scary Quail Hollow playing as host, a virtual simulation is a good way to get your viewing eyes ready.
Quail Hollow is one of the most popular courses on the PGA TOUR. One reason is that it arguably has the toughest final three holes in all of golf, the Green Mile.
Although it’s a track that players are familiar with, it will still make for a challenging test at the PGA Championship. Designer, George Cobb, is the same man who created the famed and beloved par-3 course at Augusta National.
To get a better look at his masterpiece at Quail Hollow, we’ll be playing EA Sports’ Rory McIlroy PGA TOUR. The game features a laser scanned version of the North Carolina course, so you’ll get a chance to see what each hole offers.
The first couple of holes present some challenges around the green, with bunkers guarding the fortress. One of the cool things though is that Quail Hollow immediately throws a par-3 at you on the second hole. It’s a unique style of routing for the front nine.
Quail Hollow then messes with your mind, with the third hole only having one bunker that’s greenside. However, on the fourth hole, you’re dealing with an army of bunkers again. Oh, and by the way, three of them protect the green.
Not only this, but the green breaks quite a bit, so if you don’t hit it close, you may be in a little trouble.
Mid-way through the front nine
Then you come to the fifth, which is one of the most exciting holes on the Quail Hollow track.
It’s a hole that you can drive in two. However, you’ll be taking a risk, with a fairly large bunker near the green and two more that are beside the green. So this gives you a couple of options either to lay up or go for it. Designs like this are masterful, as they make you think.
The sixth hole is interesting because it’s similar to the second, where you have a bunker in the front and back of the green. The only difference is that this hole is a monster par-3 at over 230 yards.
The seventh hole wants to make sure that you have a bad day. Two bunkers are on the left side of the fairway, two more are hovering around the green, and then there’s a long, watery grave for your ball on the right. Enough said.
The last two holes on the front nine are still tough, but much more generous. The par-4 ninth hole’s biggest challenge is tackling its long length of almost 500 yards.
Making the turn to the back nine
On the back nine, Quail Hollow continues its trend of bunkers guarding the green. The 11th hole is an interesting one. It only has one bunker, but a tricky little dogleg fairway makes the tee shot challenging.
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The 12th features a row of the trees on the left and the fairway isn’t very wide, so you have a tight window off the tee. Take care, as there are some pesky bunkers by the green on your approach shot.
The 13th hole is the third straight par-3 that features a bunker on the front and back of the green. So, if you thought you were catching a break, then guess again.
The 14th and 15th holes are just the appetizers for the famed final three hole stretch. 14 is littered with bunkers, and also has water on the left and your approach shot is to a narrow green.
The 15th hole is one of the most interesting on the course, featuring water on the left, two bunkers on the right, and an elevated green. You have bunkers surrounding that green (as usual), but with this hole being a par-5, there’s a good chance for a solid score.
The Green Mile
Ah, at last, our journey at the castle of Quail Hollow is coming to an end, and we’re faced with a boss battle for the ages. The “Green Mile”, Quail Hollow’s deadly 16th, 17th and 18th holes, will make for some dramatic golf at the PGA.
We start with the 16th which features a curvy fairway. There’s water on the left, but fortunately, it’s 360 yards out, so you don’t have to worry about your tee shot taking a dip.
However, the approach shot is not as kind. Grab yourself a tissue because this will make you cry. You have a fairly small green to aim for while trying to avoid a decently sized bunker on the right of it. The water you thought you were safe from, is now on the left and backside of the green.
In short, no ball is safe unless it lands on the green. Sometimes a patch of greenside rough isn’t that bad, but in this case, the world’s most important resource (water) becomes your worst fears.
That was just the 16th hole. My suggestion would be to keep those tissues next to you. The par-3 17th immediately intimidates with water all over the place.
Not only that, there’s a little bunker in front of the green that’s just waiting to gobble up a golf ball for breakfast (I suppose lunch and dinner as well). One thing that’s slightly positive is that the green is a little bigger than 16, so it’s an easier target.
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FInally, we reach the top of the castle as we tackle the beautiful, yet terrifying 18th hole at Quail Hollow. It’s the most distinctive hole on the course, with a narrow creek on the left side, which goes all the way down.
So, basically, no shot going left is safe at all. What’s even worse is that you’re dealing with a narrow fairway, so accuracy is critical here. Oh, and did I mention that this par-4 can get over 500 yards?
Aiming towards a slightly elevated green, you have two bunkers on the right side of the green. However, for all of your troubles, you are rewarded with a fairly chunky green you can safely land your ball on.
I finished at -9, but don’t let that fool you. Quail Hollow is a beast, and as you can tell, the famed 18th hole ate me up.
So there goes the last major championship virtual course tour of the year here at PGN. I hope you’re as excited as we are about this season’s final major at the PGA Championship at Quail Hollow.
What are your thoughts on Quail Hollow? Have you played it? Tell us about it in the comments section or you can let me know on Twitter @ChiGolfRadio. Also, remember to keep it locked here at PGN for more PGA Championship stories.