No. 1, 408 yards, par 4:
A gentle start to the championship, with a slight dogleg to the left. Tee shots down the left side flirt with a series of bunkers and dunes, while the right side creates a longer approach from the rough. Deep bunkers protect the green left and long.
No. 2, 593 yards, par 5:
Tee shot should be down the left side to avoid a blind second shot. To reach the green in two, players will have to clear a deep pot bunker 35 yards short of the green. A layup still requires a wedge to a slightly uphill, narrow green guarded by deep bunkers to the left and a large swale to the right.
No. 3, 181 yards, par 3:
Large, undulating green with a big water hazard — Lake Michigan — on the left. Deep bunkers and dunes are to the left of the green. Anything on the right side of the green will move quickly to the left. Size of the green could mean a three-club difference depending on the hole location.
No. 4, 489 yards, par 4:
A visually intimidating hole, it features large mounding down the right side and bunkers and dunes to the left that drop off toward the lake. The approach will be a middle iron to a slightly elevated green that hangs on the edge of Lake Michigan’s bluffs and will force players to consider the right side.
No. 5, 603 yards, par 5:
The fairway bends sharply to the right with water on both sides. This should be a three-shot hole for most players. Anyone going for the green in two will have a long carry over the water to a shallow green with no margin for error short and left.
No. 6, 355 yards, par 4:
The shortest par 4 on the course, some might try to drive the green. The penalty is a deep pot bunker that guards the front and should be avoided. An iron off the tee that strays too far right could lead to a blind approach to a shallow, undulating green. Any shot short, right or long will make for a tough par.
No. 7, 221 yards, par 3:
This hole hugs the Lake Michigan shoreline on the right. The green also is protected by bunkers short and right, and the left is framed by a large hill layered with bunkers. The long green will make club selection critical, because the putting surface has subtle movements.
No. 8, 507 yards, par 4:
A blind landing area off the tee will challenge players to keep their tee shots left to avoid a severe drop into dunes, bunkers and Lake Michigan.
The second shot has the lake as a backdrop. A mid to long iron will be required to reach the deep green guarded by sand dunes and bunkers.
No. 9, 446 yards, par 4:
The fairway tilts to the right, but a tee shot too far to the right might cause the approach to be blocked by a large tree about 100 yards short of the green. Seven Mile Creek and a series of narrow bunkers wind along the right side of the humpback green, with the left protected by sand dunes and bunkers.
No. 10, 361 yards, par 4:
The ideal tee shot is close to the left edge of the fairway. A deep bunker on the right side of the landing area requires a 240-yard carry to set up a wedge to the elevated green. Some big hitters might risk trying to drive the green, which has deep bunkers short and left. Vijay Singh nearly drove the green in the playoff, in 2004, leading to his only birdie of the final day.
No. 11, 563 yards, par 5:
Anything that misses the fairway right will be swallowed by sand dunes and bunkers. The second shot must avoid a huge bunker on the left that extends about 100 yards from the green. The bunker is 16 feet deep, meaning players will have a blind shot to the green. Anything short of this elevated, small green might roll back to the fairway. Anything long will catch a bunker.
No. 12, 143 yards, par 3:
The shortest hole at Whistling Straits plays downhill to a large, undulating green.
Anything short or right drops off some 40 feet into the dunes and Lake Michigan. The green is one of the most difficult to manage, so the fun only starts when the ball gets there.
No. 13, 404 yards, par 4:
A tee shot that misses to the right will find sand dunes and awkward lies. A wedge or short iron to the green is downhill to a narrow putting surface that hangs on the cliffs of Lake Michigan and is protected by bunkers to the short right and left.
Anything right will be lost over the steep bluffs.
No. 14, 397 yards, par 4:
A long iron off the tee should favour the right side. Anything left likely will end up with a blind approach or in a sand bunker at the corner of the fairway. The approach is only a wedge, but deep bunkers guard the right side of the undulating green, with more bunkers long and left of the green.
No. 15, 518 yards, par 4:
The longest par 4 on the course requires raw power off the tee, followed by a precise approach with a long iron.
Sunken sand dunes to the right of the fairway and in front of the green protect this large, undulating putting surface. Bunkers also guard the left side of the green.
No. 16, 569 yards, par 5:
The shortest of the par 5s will tempt players to hit driver off the tee to a tight landing area so they can reach the green in two. The long approach is a forced carry over sand dunes and bunkers that will cause players to bail out to the right. The green is elevated, with Lake Michigan as the backdrop.
No. 17, 223 yards, par 3:
The green is guarded on the left by monstrous sand dunes and bunkers that fall 20 feet below the green. A large, elevated dune some 40 yards short of the green will lure players toward the left side, which is risky because of the drop toward the lake. A tee shot over the bunker is the safe play. Anything too far to the right will catch dunes and bunkers on a steep hillside.
No. 18, 520 yards, par 4:
Birdies should be rare on this closing hole. The aggressive play is to the left side of the fairway, but requires a 270-yard carry over dunes and bunkers. Tee shots must not go too far or they will find Seven Mile Creek. The approach is downhill and must carry the creek. The green is more than 18,000 square feet with several undulations.
© Irish Examiner Ltd. All rights reserved