28 Feb GolfPass Grass Guru – PGA National Champion Course
The Honda Classic • PGA National Champion Course
Hole 1 • Par 4 • 365 yds
By Eric MacPherson
PGA National. The Honda Classic. PGA National is an absolute monster of a facility. They have a million holes and the crown jewel is the Champion Course. Let me tell you, there are no shortage of bunkers that are worthy of claiming the title of “best of.”
Being a Florida course, the amount of water here borders on absurd. Practically every hole has water, and it ends with the “Bear Trap” so accuracy is key. Here, the bunkers are more friend than foe. And luckily, there are numerous bunkers between the water and green complexes.
Right out of the gate, Hole 1 exemplifies the beautiful bunkers that one would find throughout. Hugging the left side, and rear of the green, this large white bunker, helps more than penalizes. It prevents wayward shots from ending in the drink – which immediately starts here on hole 1 – or the ill fated plugged ball in that gross, dirty, muddy marshes that Floridians seem to glorify. Comparatively, hitting it in this bunker might not be so bad.
A relatively recent build, and renovated by the best there ever was, Jack Nicklaus, the Champion track is one of the most fun courses to both look at and play. Large, exaggerated bunkers, punctuated with tiny little traps, captures the new resort course design style. This makes it tremendously fun to play while still very difficult for the pros. Not US Open difficult, but way harder than the tracks they have been playing in recent weeks.
PGA National is a place I highly suggest any golf fan visits. While you’re there, give props to the bunkers, which will almost certainly help you out. Remember, it’s hard to lose a ball when you know you landed smack in the middle of a big green side monster, of which there are many.