With all due respect to TPC Scottsdale, only one hole comes to mind when conjuring images of the course. The vista at the 16th during the Waste Management Phoenix Open is one of the more unique panoramas in golf, replacing the sport’s normally reserved galleries with a crowd straight from an American football game. No other golf event comes close to duplicating the Scottsdale colosseum, making it hands-down the tournament’s trademark.
But… what if golf tried to replicate Phoenix’s stadium scene? We polled our editors for their thoughts on other holes warranting the amphitheatre treatment. Here are the nominations.
The Lakes Golf Club, Sydney – ninth hole
The essential ingredients to get this caper right appear to be a par-3 (preferably a short, interesting one), requisite space to encircle the hole with grandstands, plus a mix of mid-round drama and architectural intrigue. This year’s Australian Open venue serves up each one with its ninth hole (pictured above). With a new tournament sponsor set to come on board, our national golf body has a window of opportunity to shake things up and create a new persona for the Australian Open. Yes, ‘Party Holes’ happened at the tournament previously under Paul McNamee’s short-lived watch, but times have changed and with a little more thought and better execution, this idea can be revived on the local circuit again. — Steve Keipert
Riviera Country Club, Los Angeles – 10th hole
When it comes to short par 4s on the US PGA Tour, none test the mind quite like the 10th at Riviera, a hole where going for the green or laying up can yield equally disastrous results. Just ask Ryan Moore, who nearly made an ace on the 288-metre (315-yard) risk/reward par-4 in 2015 and ended up walking away with a par after his ball took the green’s nasty slope and rolled some 50 feet away in the collection area. Or Scott Piercy, who probably still has nightmares from his adventure at the 10th a few years ago. Imagine either of these situations going down with a stadium-like atmosphere around the green. The heckling could get out of control, but the potential eagle and hole-in-one scare roars would be well worth it. If the fans brought half the energy to the 10th that this rolling fan brought to the 18th at Riviera in 2012, then we’ve got something. — Christopher Powers
Trinity Forest Golf Club, Dallas – 8th hole
There will be some fantastic theatre at Trinity Forest, serving as the new host of the AT&T Byron Nelson this May. One of the most fun holes to watch will be the par-3 eighth hole, which is short – in fact, incredibly short – by tour standards. The championship tee plays from 126 metres (138 yards), and they can move the tees up to 100 or even 70 metres. It’s an incredibly interesting green with bumps and ridges that will reward a great strike, but a poor shot will be punished. Perched in the back corner of the property, a stadium-like atmosphere at Trinity Forest’s eighth hole would be wildly entertaining. How often do you get to see a tour pro play a short hole? Holes-in-one will be a real possibility – and on this course that will drive some pros crazy if they don’t embrace the ground game – the eighth hole might be the most interesting on the grounds. — Stephen Hennessey
TPC River Highlands, Connecticut – 15th hole
TPC Highlands is undoubtedly, from the perspectives of both spectator and player, one of the most entertaining and enjoyable venues on tour. The 15th epitomises this sentiment. Listed at 312 metres (341 yards), this hole – depending on the tee used – can be reached from the drive. Alas, a mounded green, with a lake on the left and sand on the right, brings more bite than the scorecard says. And laying up is no easy matter, with deep rough, trees and sand surrounding a narrow fairway. Only one eagle was made during the 2017 Travellers Championship, so you’d have to slightly tinker with the design to offer more reward. Nevertheless, given the respectable, yet spirited, crowd this event attracts, perhaps no venue is suited to replicating TPC Scottsdale’s success. — Joel Beall
Muirfield Village Golf Club, Ohio – 14th hole
Far be it from me to tell Jack Nicklaus – only the greatest golfer ever who has been a part of more than 400 course designs – how to set up a tournament. But, if I was the Golden Bear, I would move up the tee markers on the 14th, which usually hovers around 310 metres, to entice more players to give it a go. The hole’s configuration – guarded by a creek on the right, adjoined with bunkers on the left and deep rough – would still give many guys pause, yet the green is deep enough to receive its share of missiles. As evidenced on autumn afternoons at Ohio State’s Horseshoe, Columbus can get rocking. He’s hoping the Memorial sprinkles that spirit into Muirfield Village. — J.B.
Greenbrier Resort’s Old White TPC, West Virginia – 18th hole
Jim Justice has already done well to utilise a unique opportunity at Old White TPC’s par-3 closing hole – such a rarity to end on a one-shotter on tour. The West Virginia governor gives out cash for a hole-in-one at the 18th, which has created quite the atmosphere with money on the line. (In 2015, Justin Thomas and George McNeill both aced the hole on the same day, leading to an expensive day for Justice – handing out $US192,400 to fans – $100 per fan for the first ace, $500 for the second.) If the Greenbrier added more of the same party elements that TPC Scottsdale did to its 18th hole, the possibilities are seemingly endless. — S.H.