Charley Hoffman won last year’s Deutsche Bank Championship by shooting a final-round 62. He returns this week looking to defend his title.
PGA Tour veteran Brad Faxon, who has consulted on changes made at TPC Boston in recent years, breaks down the course, host to this weekend’s tournament:
Course details: Out: Par 36, 3,629 yards; In: Par 35, 3,585 yards; Total: Par 71, 7,214 yards
TV: Friday and Saturday: Golf Channel, 3 to 6 p.m.; Sunday: Golf Channel, 1 to 3 p.m., Ch. 7, 3 to 6 p.m.; Monday: Golf Channel, noon to 3 p.m.; Ch. 7, 3 to 6 p.m.
Hole 1, Par 4, 365 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.
Hole 2, Par 5, 542 yards
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.
Hole 3, Par 3, 208 yards
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.
Hole 4, Par 4, 298 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.
Hole 5, Par 4, 466 yards
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.
Hole 6, Par 4, 465 yards
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 itself is complex and entirely changed, with water now guarding its front edge and dangerous mounds to the left. Par will be a good score.
Hole 7, Par 5, 600 yards
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.
Hole 8, Par 3, 213 yards
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.
Hole 9, Par 4, 472 yards
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 be close to the ﬂag.
Hole 10, Par 4, 425 yards
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 new two-tiered bunker on the right side of the green that accentuates a classic New England look.
Hole 11, Par 3, 231 yards
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.
Hole 12, Par 4, 461 yards
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.
Hole 13, Par 4, 451 yards
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.
Hole 14, Par 4, 495 yards
This par 4 has been dramatically changed. Its bunkers on the left have been removed and replaced with chocolate drop mounds sporadically placed on the left side of the fairway 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.
Hole 15, Par 4, 421 yards
The 15th is a strategic par 4 that requires thought off the tee. In order 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.
Note: Description of changes to this hole provided by Brad Williams, TPC Boston general manager.
Hole 16, Par 3, 161 yards
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.
Hole 17, Par 4, 412 yards
My favorite hole on the back nine. This quirky, short par 4 provides many options off the tee, as a new ridge protected by church pews help divide the new 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.
Hole 18, Pat 5, 528 yards
This ﬁnishing hole will undoubtedly be controversial. Players can choose to carry two bunkers in the middle of the fairway and leave themselves a chance to reach the green with a fairway wood. Or the longest hitters can carry the right fairway bunker around 320 yards, giving themselves a mid-iron approach for a chance at eagle. The players 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. There will be plenty of birdies, bogeys, and heartbreak on the ﬁnal hole.