Deutsche Bank Championship
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Check out this overview of the TPC Boston course, with comments from PGA Tour veteran Brad Faxon, who has consulted on changes in recent years. Course details: OUT Par 36, 3,629 yards | IN Par 35, 3,587 yards | TOTAL Par 71, 7,216 yards
The course begins with a short and straight par 4 with “chocolate drop” mounds now guarding the left side of the fairway, along with two larger bunkers on the right edge of the fairway. Typically this hole can be played with a long iron or fairway wood off the tee, leading to a wedge into the green. Long hitters will be tempted to drive the green but should beware of the substantial bunker with island features that guards the left front. A missed shot could be a tough way to start.
With a good drive this par 5 is reachable in two. Off the tee, players should avoid the fairway bunkers on the right with a well- placed fade to get in position to carry the pond that guards this three-tiered green. The green has been drastically reduced this year, mounds have been added down the left side in the drive zone, and the second-shot landing area has more undulation. A birdie hole.
This par 3 is now home to a stone wall, enhancing the course’s traditional New England feel. With the addition of a quirky little ridge on the left side of the green, and a new large bunker protecting the front right, an accurate iron shot is required on the approach. A new tee box has been built, stretching the hole to 208 yards.
The fourth hole contains some of the more significant changes on the course. This hole is a driveable par 4, however a number of options exist off the tee. A layup will result in a full approach to the pin, or a drive placed to the widest part of the fairway will set up a tricky little pitch over the yawning bunker that guards the left side of the green.
The TPC really starts to show its teeth on the fifth hole. Drives must be long and accurate to avoid a strategically placed bunker on the left side of the fairway. This will lead to a mid-iron approach shot to a three-tiered green, with trouble left and right.
This long par 4 is one of my personal favorites. No. 6 is a long, slight dogleg left through a narrow chute and over mounds with two bunkers guarding the right side of the fairway. The green is complex and entirely changed, with water guarding its front edge and dangerous mounds to the left. Par will be a good score.
This monster par 5 requires an accurate and long tee shot. A gigantic bunker crosses the entire fairway and requires players to choose to either lay up short and have a blind third shot or try and carry to get in position for a potential birdie.
The eighth hole is a long par 3 that has been strengthened by deep bunkers and is enclosed by a grass hollow at its rear that promotes uneven strands and lies if a player misses the green.
The longest par 4 on the front nine. This dogleg left presents a fairly open tee shot, but the approach will be blind to a new punch bowl green. Most players will hit a long- to mid-iron second shot and try to bounce the ball onto the green to get close to the flag.
The back nine begins with a shortish par 4 and players may choose a fairway wood instead of a driver. It is a straight par 4 but now contains a two-tiered bunker on the right side of the green that accentuates a classic New England look.
The strongest par 3 on the course features a massive bunker guarding the front right of the green. The left side has been contoured, allowing shots hit to the left to funnel down toward the green. Players will be happy to finish with a 3 on this hole.
This long, dogleg left par 4 is the only hole at the TPC without a bunker. The target off the tee will be a newly created ridge on the right side of the fairway, leaving a mid- to short-iron approach to a green guarded by a hazard on the front right side.
Another long par 4 where hitting the fairway is a must. Drives must carry the rocky ledge in the fairway, leaving a long- to mid-iron into a green with a bunker on the front right. Par is a good score.
This par 4 was dramatically changed. Bunkers on the left were removed and replaced with chocolate drop mounds, sporadically placed on the left side of the fairway, and covered in natural fescue grasses. These mounds don’t look too dangerous until a ball is hit there. Players will find themselves — even with a good drive — with an approach shot of upward of 200 yards into a relatively small green.
The 15th is a strategic par 4 that requires thought off the tee. To have a clear shot at the pin, drives must be to the left side of the fairway, avoiding four fairway bunkers. A new tee box this year will present a more challenging tee shot to the player and recently added mounding right of the fairway eliminates the opportunity of bailing out to the right.
This newly created par 3, although the shortest on the course, will surely test the players’ nerves. Water guards the front and left rear of the green, where pin positions are sure to be close to the water’s edge. A stone wall now protects this two-tiered green, giving the hole some true New England character. An accurate tee shot will be paramount to save par.
My favorite hole on the back nine. This quirky, short par 4 provides many options off the tee, as a ridge protected by church pews help divide the fairway. A safe play down the right side of the fairway will leave you with around a 150-yard approach, while longer hitters can carry their drive over the ridge onto the lower fairway, leaving just a wedge to the green. This hole will be pivotal down the stretch.
The biggest change to the course this year is the 18th green, which is much smaller, has been raised slightly, and features a number of run-off areas and a small bunker to the left that will make up-and-down birdies, or par saves, quite challenging. Players can still choose to carry two bunkers in the middle of the fairway, but going for the green in two now won’t be as easy. Those choosing to lay up on their second shot will still need to avoid a pot bunker in the center of the fairway in order to score well.