With the 2017 The Players Championship teeing off next week, golfers will have to face the infamous 17th green again at TPC Sawgrass. With this in mind, Golf Monthly looks at the some of the best island greens in golf. By Harvey Jones
The 6 Best Island Greens in Golf
6 – Le Golf National, Guyancourt – Hole 18
The eyes of the golfing world will fall on Le Golf National, France in late September next year for the Ryder Cup.
There the American and European teams will face one of the most challenging island greens in golf when the groups close off their rounds down the 18th hole.
Named the ‘Albatross’, due to it’s short length as a par 5 making it eligible to also play as a par 4, the 18th hole at Le Golf National is a fitting end to any round of golf with a green that is protected by a grenade bunker a well as the surrounding water hazard.
It’s main feature is a strip of turf connecting the 18th green to the 15th, another difficult island green.
If the wind picks up when the players make their approach to this final hole, we could see anything from an eagle to a double bogey being made. A devilish green.
5 – PGA West Stadium Course, Palm Springs – Hole 17
Designed by the famous golf architect, Pete Dye, the 17th hole at the PGA West Stadium course in Palm Springs, California is a replica of Dye’s famous 17th hole at TPC Sawgrass.
Although Dye was originally sceptical about replicating the historic par 3, he well and truly created a green as treacherous (if not more) that the original.
Though the green is significantly larger than Dye’s original, it’s also 30 yards longer and becomes doubly intimidating on a breezy day in the desert.
The rocky perimeter of the green makes the hole even more daunting and really makes up for the lack of bunkers and other hazards, whilst the view from the tee box suggests that there is no water behind the green, which can trick first time payers into hitting the ball long.
It’s no wonder this Sawgrass replica is nicknamed “Alcatraz”. Any tee shot that’s just a fraction out and there’s no escaping the inevitable splash.
4 – Coeur d’Alene Resort, Idaho – Hole 14
Another par 3 from America, and this one is stunning.
Boasting the title as ‘The World’s Only Floating Island Green’ this 218-yard hole is surrounded by a mixture of red geraniums, a pair of bunkers and some conifers, not to mention one of the country’s most beautiful lakes. A real hidden gem with a mix of beauty and danger.
The 15,000-square-foot putting surface beckons golfers for a challenge, floating silently 150 yards off the lakeshore. Unlike other island greens, there are no man-made strips of land that provide a bridge over the water. Instead, it’s only reachable by a six-passenger boat called the “Putter.”
It’s a hole so difficult to make par on that if you reach dry land and two-putt you earn a certificate on the ride back to shore.
3 – Apple Tree Resort, Yakima – Hole 17
This Washington based course has one of the most uplifting and picturesque par 3s in the world.
Sticking to the apple theme of the resort, the 17th hole has an island green in the perfect shape of an apple. Guarded by a back-left bunker that resembles a leaf, there’s also a stem in the form of a 50-foot walking bridge connecting the green to dry land.
With the surrounding water and fast greens, the hole’s beauty disguises the peril that awaits your tee shot. But perils aside, you can’t help but smile when you see this hole.
If only it were that easy in real…
We look at some of the best par…
2 – Four Seasons Punta Mita, Mexico – Hole 3
Following in similar footsteps to the 17th at PGA West Course, this hole is guarded by a very rocky perimeter. The only difference is this hole sits on a completely natural island on the Pacific Ocean.
Designed by Jack Nicklaus, the 3rd hole is Best known as the “Tail of the Whale” which, during low tide, golfers can trudge through the sandy path to get to the green, but at high tide, it’s only accessible via amphibious golf cart.
A truly stunning hole it requires no bunkers or other additional hazards. The swirling winds from the Pacific and towering rocks on the island give this green all the protection it needs.
1 – TPC Sawgrass, Florida – Hole 17
If you ask any golf fan from around the world to name a hole that has an island green, they would all say: ‘The 17th at Sawgrass.’
Every year we are fortunate enough to watch the top golfers in the world play this amazing Florida based course in The Players Championship and this hole is where all the drama happens.
The swirling winds, accompanied by the incredibly small target zone makes this small 137-yard par 3 one of the toughest holes in the world.
So much so that a number of players on Tour, including Tiger Woods, feel it shouldn’t be one of the finishing holes because there’s “too much left for chance”, like a gust of wind suddenly blowing your ball off line.
That aside, the hugely challenging aspect of this hole is what makes The Players Championship so great and the large number of tournament-deciding tee shots that have been made on this hole makes it, not just the best island green in the world, but one of the best holes in golf.