LA QUINTA, Calif. - It's a golf lover's dream come true: mastering the 18 most memorable holes - all designed by golf greats Greg Norman, Jack Nicklaus and Pete Dye - at one of the country's premier golf resorts.
Over the years, luminaries ranging from Lee Trevino and Arnold Palmer to Phil Mickelson and David Duval have tested their mettle at La Quinta Resort & Club and PGA WEST - one of the top golf destinations in the West. To commemorate the 25th anniversary of PGA WEST - a spectacular master-planned country club community on 2,200 acres - La Quinta Resort & Club and PGA WEST have culled the "Top 18 Holes" from five iconic resort courses: the Pete Dye-designed Mountain and Dunes courses at La Quinta Resort & Club and the Greg Norman, Jack Nicklaus Tournament and Pete Dye TPC Stadium courses at PGA WEST.
La Quinta Resort and PGA WEST invite golfers to put their talents to the test on all five courses, and then tackle what has been dubbed "the sixth resort course," which is a combination of the best 18 holes determined by PGA WEST pros. Some of the holes were chosen for their beauty, others for playability and fun, and some for their difficult challenges. The "Top 18" has a flow that allows players to test all of their golfing skills, and it's a course to be enjoyed by all who love the game - from high handicappers to professionals. Further celebrating PGA WEST's 25 years of excellence, the player with the top score earns a well-deserved prize for achieving what is truly a golfer's tour de force.
Below, Mike Kelly, executive director of PGA WEST, describes the course highlights, as well as the "Top 18" selected from the designs of Pete Dye, Jack Nicklaus and Greg Norman at La Quinta Resort & Club and PGA WEST:
FRONT NINE: Par 36 / Black Tees: 3,456 yards / White Tees 3,212 yards / Red (Gold) Tees: 2,802 yards
Dunes Course at La Quinta Resort, designed by Pete Dye.
At par-72, this Pete Dye championship course is characterized by rolling Scottish-links-style fairways and thick penalizing rough - a great trial to warm up for the PGA WEST TPC Stadium Course and honing one's shot-making capabilities. Top holes:
HOLE 1 - Dunes 14 (par 4) 377 / 354 / 278 Handicap (HCP) - 5
Positioning off the tee to a yardage that will not allow too much spin on the next shot to the green is key here. Too much backspin, and the ball is in the front bunker 20 feet below the green.
HOLE 2 - Dunes 17 (par 4) 420 / 414 / 369 HCP - 1
Once voted the most difficult in California by PGA Professionals, this crescent-shaped hole has Pete Dye's name written all over it. Aggressive players may do well, or lay back and take a bogey five as a good score.
HOLE 3 - Dunes 6 (par 3) 191 / 173 / 106 HCP - 13
An island green surrounded by bunkers requires a middle of the green approach when deciding on the club of choice.
Mountain Course at La Quinta Resort, designed by Pete Dye.
Famed for its unique Pete Dye design, playability and stunning visuals, this ultra-challenging course features pot bunkers and rock formations, as well as incredible elevations of tee boxes and well-bunkered greens. Top holes:
HOLE 4 - Mountain 9 (par 4) 433 / 361 / 352 HCP - 3
Getting to the green is the easy part. This green challenges all players as they make the turn to one of the finest back nines on the planet.
HOLE 5 - Mountain 14 (par 4) 389 / 377 / 310 HCP - 7
Strike a tee shot toward the base of the Santa Rosa Mountains to lay the groundwork for an approach shot over the desertscape onto a raised green.
HOLE 6 - Mountain 15 (par 5) 517 / 502 / 464 HCP - 11
Playing along the base of the mountains, stay tight to the base and go for this par 5 in two. The green stays snug up against the base and will not be in full view.
HOLE 7 - Mountain 16 (par 3) 161 / 157 / 89 HCP - 17
As the cart climbs the mountain to the tees, take in the rugged beauty of the desert as well as a glimpse of the Salton Sea. Strike a tee shot that will appear to be suspended above the desert. The ball will eventually land - hopefully on the green at the base.
Greg Norman Course at PGA WEST®.
Known for its spectacular desert terrain and limited turf, this target-style course spans 68 acres of turf and features native desert plants and grasses, colorful pockets of wildflowers and nine lakes. The newest course at PGA WEST and the only Greg Norman-designed golf course in the Coachella Valley, the course is situated 40 feet below sea level and features 102 white crushed marble bunkers, offering a truly "Outback" experience.
HOLE 8 - Norman 15 (par 4) 431 / 383 / 358 HCP - 9
Bunkers will challenge players at every step of this hole. Place the ball in a fairway bunker and getting to the green in regulation will not be an option. Straight beats long on this hole every day.
HOLE 9 - Norman 16 (par 5) 537 / 491 / 476 HCP - 15
A beautiful desert hole with the mountains as a backdrop allows players to enjoy an outback experience on this challenging par five.
BACK NINE: Par 36 / Black Tees: 3,557 yards / White Tees: 2,952 yards / Red (Gold) Tees: 2,731 yards
HOLE 10 - Norman 11 (par 4) 337 / 272 / 262 HCP - 14
A hole doesn't have to be long to be challenging. This drivable par 4 tempts players to go for it, as the scattered bunkers short of the green make it just as difficult to lay up.
Jack Nicklaus Tournament Course at PGA WEST®.
This par-72 course combines dramatic backdrops with a challenging Jack Nicklaus design that features a premium on driving accuracy and ability to work the ball left and right for small but receptive greens.
HOLE 11 - Tournament 5 (par 4) 364 / 299 / 288 HCP - 10
Play to the right fairway for a wide but shallow green to hit to. Play to the left fairway for a long but narrow green to approach. Which is optimal? Jack says play to the right side.
HOLE 12 - Tournament 8 (par 3) 172 / 132 / 125 HCP - 18
This peninsula of a green allows players to over club to avoid the water. Take advantage of Jack's kindness on this one.
HOLE 13 - Tournament 15 (par 5) 572 / 472 / 462 HCP - 12
Staying left off the tee will allow the second shot to play away from the lake. The third shot to the island green needs to be a pin seeker - as this is an exceptionally difficult green, especially with an overly long putt.
HOLE 14 - Tournament 18 (par 4) 453 / 403 / 388 HCP - 4
This is a tester. A Nicklaus fade will be needed to get one close as the green climbs up from left to right.
TPC® Stadium Course at PGA WEST®
This par-72 Pete Dye-designed jewel is a "must play" for those seeking the ultimate golf challenge. Its mystique is derived from unique undulations, cavernous bunkers and peninsula and island par 3s. Tournament highlights include Liberty Mutual Legends of Golf, Bob Hope Chrysler Classic and the Skins Game.
HOLE 15 - Stadium 9 (par 4) 452 / 382 /313 HCP - 6 / Reflection
Bomb it off the tee as this green is well-protected and difficult to hold with a long iron or hybrid. A four here will feel like a birdie.
HOLE 16 - Stadium 16 (par 5) 600 / 474 / 463 HCP - 8
Time to accept Pete Dye's version of risk vs. reward. Get greedy and go for this green in two and earn a chance at eagle. If you place your ball left or long of the green, you're into the side bunker known as "San Andreas Fault" and where you must utilize an incredibly skilled bunker shot to get out.
HOLE 17 - Stadium 17 (par 3) 168 / 131 / 112 HCP - 16
Welcome to "Alcatraz." Home to Lee Trevino's "Hole in One" - one of the most famous shots in golf history - which gave him the "Skins Game" victory over Jack Nicklaus, Gary Player, and Raymond Floyd. He left with a "one" on his scorecard, but any player should be happy with three.
HOLE 18 - Stadium 18 (par 4) 439 / 387 / 318 HCP - 2
• Careers are made or lost on this hole. As a site for the PGA Tour Qualifying final stage, this is as demanding as it gets when hopes and dreams hinge on a single golf hole. The tee shot will determine success with a well-protected fairway on both sides. Many of the tours' greats conquered this beast, using it as their springboard onto the tour.
Black Tee Total: 7,013 / White Tee Total: 6,164 yards / Red Tee Total: 5,533
La Quinta Resort & Club and PGA WEST® is a world-renowned desert destination featuring 796 elegantly appointed casitas, suites and villas; the 23,000-square-foot Spa La Quinta® with 41 pools and 53 hot spas; 23 tennis courts; and exceptional cuisine at Morgan's in the desert, TWENTY6 and Adobe Grill. Known as The Western Home of Golf in America® and named "North America's Golf Resort of the Year," it is home to five award-winning golf courses and four private courses - designed by legends Arnold Palmer, Jack Nicklaus, Pete Dye, Greg Norman and Tom Weiskopf. Golf instruction is offered at the Jim McLean Golf School. The resort is a member of Hilton Worldwide's Waldorf Astoria Hotels & Resorts. For more information, call 760-564-411, or visit www.laquintaresort.com.
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