Friday, March 04, 2011

Is the Bear Trap the toughest finishing stretch in golf?

Although five golf courses make up the PGA National Resort and Spa, it is the 16th hole of the Champion course that provides this week's Kodak moment at the Honda Classic.

The 15th, 16th and 17th holes of The Champion golf course, or "The Bear Trap" are legendary and have been called "the real killer in golf" by Lee Trevino.

Why is this stretch of three golf holes called "The Bear Trap"?

Although Team Fazio originally designed the course, Jack Nicklaus redesigned it in 1981. Known as the "Golden Bear", Nicklaus left his "footprint" behind on what he considered to be these "Three Great Finishing Holes on the PGA Tour."

"That stretch is about precision," said Nicklaus. "That stretch is about guts."

It is the 16th hole that has been designated as the Kodak Challenge hole for the Honda Classic and is considered the toughest par-4 of all of PGA National's 90 holes. According to, on this dogleg right...

"Off the tee, everything slopes toward the water on the right, but a bunker was added to catch balls that roll too far right. Those who bail out left are faced with a 220-yard second shot over water, into the wind" and on to a two-tiered green.

With strong winds whipping on Thursday, double bogeys outnumbered birdies.

The hazards and the elements of nature that golfers will contend with this week make the PGA National Champion golf course a truly memorable yet difficult experience but, are these three golf holes, as USA Today has stated, the toughest test in golf?

Last week's winner of the WGC Accenture Match Play Championship, Luke Donald, called the Bear Trap finishing stretch, "one of the toughest we have all year" while Ernie Els claimed, "those are the holes that really sits in people's minds."

You decide.

Photo credit:  PGA National

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2 comments: said...

I would love to play here one day, I've heard these holes are really something and all the courses they have are great.

If it's not THE toughest on TOUR, it's certainly one of the toughest finishes these guys face all year.

Great post!

Healthy Golf Obsession said...

When the wind is whipping like it was earlier in the week, I would have to say this is definitely one of the toughest stretches in all of golf! Especially with the pressure on to try and win a golf tournament. And if the holes themselves aren't tough enough, when they tuck the pins behind the water or other trouble, even the best pros can put up big numbers in a hurry!