The Honda Classic 2022 Overview
Welcome to PGA National, a brute of a golf course where elite level ball strikers holds distinct advantage. Following Eminem’s performance at the SuperBowl it make sense to ask ‘will the real T2G experts please stand up’.
The Champions Course was created by George and Tom Fazio in 1981 and has been remodelled by Jack Nicklaus on several occasions, the most recent being in 2018. The Golden Bear’s tracks may be found on the course, with the signature ‘Bear Trap’ holes 15-17. The 🐻 trap begins with a short-iron par 3 with water on the right. No. 16 is a dogleg right par 4 with water on the right, while No. 17 is another short par 3 with water on the right. A lengthy par 5 on the final hole provides a nice birdie opportunity to round out the round. On the Champions course, water comes into role on 13 hole, danger everywhere for the players this week. Only twice in the last 9 years has the winning score reached 10 under par or better. Only the 2 par 5’s have a scoring average under par at PGA National that gives you an insight facing the players this week.
The course is considerably harder on the back nine, with 6 of the 9 hardest holes falling on that stretch. This is something to bare in mind when looking at first round leader markets as those starting in the 10th maybe broken when they reach the 1st hole their back nine.
As well as the back nine throwing up a brutal test the players must contend with some of the hardest par 3 holes on the PGA Tour. In 5 of the last 6 seasons these have ranked in the top 3 hardest courses on tour.
All green complexes had been redesigned, with larger 7,000 sq.ft. average putting surfaces. All of the greens featured new TifEagle Bermudagrass turf, which replaced the old TifEagle surfaces. These surfaces have very subtle undulations to them but rank as some of the easiest on tour. This week is about the T2G game more so than those that excel with the flat stick in hand.
The Champions Course has been the toughest non-major Par 70 course on the PGA Tour for 5 of the last 8 seasons, golf season is now upon us after the west cost swing where birdie are easier to come by than bogeys.
5 Key Skills Set Required
- SG T2G – One of the most difficult courses the players face all year with a real emphasis on T2G performance. The wind can blow here in Florida, and that puts even more pressure on players games from tee to green. The player who lifts the trophy come Sunday evening will undoubtedly gain strokes on the field T2G. Putting won’t be much of a factor this week this is the one event to consider those elite level T2G players with inconsistent flat sticks.
- SG Approach – Iron play is essential this week, there is no way the winner of this event will be giving up shot to the field with their irons. One of the hardest the player face all year from 150 yards out. Players will hit on average 60% of GIR this week, this demonstrates the importance of excelling with irons hitting lots of green and hitting it close when the opportunity presents itself.
- SG 150-200 Yards – This week it’s all about the ball striking and mid-long iron play in particular. One of the few weeks on the PGA Tour where you can look at elite level ball strikers and forget about their inconsistent putting, for once this is all about then other clubs in the bag. 150 yards to 200 yards distance will be key this week as there is a high majority of shots expected from this range, a lot more than the average PGA tour event. This course ranks in the hardest three each and every year for approach play from 150 to 200 yards.
- SG scrambling – Only 4 holes this week average under par and that usually means that the players will have their work cut out hitting green after green, if the wind gets up which it can in Florida expect scrambling to become one of the most important factors on the week. This is a tough and demanding track regardless of the conditions even in the most benign ones. Challenging par 4’s and long par 3’s mean players will certainly have to battle for par at times throughout this event. In the last six renewals of this event the champion has ranked in the top 10 for scrambling on that given week.
- Par 3 Scoring – In six of the last seven years par-3 scoring at this event as ranked in the hardest three courses on the whole of the PGA tour circuit. The par-3’s here really test your mid to long iron game, and this is a theme throughout the whole course. When narrowing down a field we want to consider players who excel on long demanding par 3’s. All the par 3’s at PGA National average over par year in year out and are over 175 yards in distance.