Tapping In: To The PGA Championship
We have packed our bags and we are underway to The PGA Championship. But, first. We want to give you a run down of the 4 beautiful Baltusrol hole photos that Stonehouse was able to capture.
196 yards, Par 3
The Famous Fourth, one of the legendary par 3s in the game of golf. The pond stretches all the way to the front of the green, so the player’s shot is do or die. As Jack Nicklaus said, “You know where the hazard ends and the green starts.” This famous hole was the scene of one of golf’s most memorable vindications when Robert Trent Jones was criticized for design changes in 1952 that made the hole too difficult. In response, he took a group of critics to his new tee to play the hole. After knocking in a four-iron for an ace, Jones remarked, “Gentlemen, as you can see, the hole is eminently fair.”
425 yards, Par 4
This is a short par 4, not unlike No. 2 in the precision it demands. There are more options off the tee but fairway bunkers line both sides. The approach shot to the green is one of the most demanding at Baltusrol; pin-point accuracy is required to hold this green with its significant false front and a back left corner that feeds shots into a collection area. The fairway bunkers on this hole have been recently restored.
451 yards, Par 4
One of A.W. Tillinghast’s greatest hole designs — the oblique. This hole runs on a diagonal from left to right, with a cluster of bunkers guarding the left side of the fairway and a creek crossing the fairway and running up the right side. This oblique angle will require a precisely shaped tee shot to a narrow landing area. Once the tee shot has been negotiated, the approach to the green is short and fairly routine. Bobby Jones’ upset loss in the 1926 U.S. Amateur was cemented on this hole when he found the creek off the tee; the design became his inspiration for No. 13 at Augusta National.
649 yards, Par 5
Much shorter than the preceding par 5, this hole is eminently reachable. But the drive, one of the most exacting on the course, needs to be negotiated first. Water dominates on the left and fairway bunkers on the right. Under pressure, this fairway is difficult to hit, but if done so, getting home is the clear objective. At the 2005 PGA Championship, Phil Mickelson tapped the Nicklaus plaque in the fairway for good luck. His 4-wood to the green came up just short, but he was able to wedge out of greenside rough and make birdie for the victory, his second Major Championship.