PGA WEST STADIUM: NO 17
Perhaps the most iconic—and dangerous—hole in Pete Dye's extensive design portfolio is the par-3 17th at TPC Sawgrass, home of the Players Championship. It gets a ton of attention, and deservedly so, but it's not the only island-green backbreaker with Dye's name on it.
In fact, the par-3 17th at PGA West Stadium Course (nicknamed "Alcatraz") plays up to three clubs longer than its Florida-based sister, and sports a smaller green (3,765 sq. ft. vs. 3,912 sq. ft.). It regularly brings the Tour elite to its collective knees when the Stadium Course hosts the Career Builder Challenge. Here's how to plan your own escape from this desert menace—and from tough par 3s everywhere.
1. FIND YOUR HAPPY PLACE
The first thing you don't want to do here is to dwell on the dangers of the hole: The green will appear microscopic amidst all that water. Do yourself a favor and first take in the stunning desert beauty of your Coachella Valley surroundings. Only then should you quickly acknowledge the hazards of the hole and get down to business.
2. STAY CENTERED
No matter what you do, aim for the middle of the green. I don't care where they put the pin— don't get cute. Pick out a specific target in the distance—a rock or a tree, for example—that sits in line with the center of the green. Grab the right club for your distance (or even one extra) and make a free swing.
3. STEER CLEAR
A common mistake with difficult shots is the tendency to be tentative. You end up trying to steer the ball to your target. Tentative swings lead to bad shots. Be confident that you've selected a conservative target and commit. That's exactly what Lee Trevino did when he aced No. 17 here in the 1987 Skins Game—and bagged $175K for his effort!