Even Arnie knows, all golfers love the par 5
Bay Hill Club is a par 72 this year, following some course renovations and altering, and it looks like scores at the Arnold Palmer Invitational are on pace to be lower than they have in the last three years. On day two, three share the lead at 7-under (click here for the Arnold Palmer Invitational leaderboard).
Two holes were extended to par 5s for this year’s event, which is strange for a PGA Tour venue as usually par 5s are reduced to brawny par 4s in order to challenge the world’s best to shoot par instead of running up birdies.
Golfers love par 5s and courses seem to have been playing off it more and more. The first golf course in the world, the Old Course at St. Andrews, only has two par 5s. Turnberry’s Ailsa course plays a par 69 with just one par 5 during regular play, as do many links overseas.
But golf can progress, right? And more and more golf courses have been built with five or more par 5s. Doonbeg in Ireland is the first links course I’ve played that I can recall with an non-conforming five par 5s. I even played a course at the Garland Resort Fountains course in northern Michigan with six par 5s (and six par 3s and 4s, too). Nearby Tullymore Golf Club in northern Michigan has some of the best hole variety a golf course can have and its thanks to five par 5s all light years different from one another.
Last week’s European Tour venue, Royal Dar es Salam in Rabat, is a par 73. That’s the only pro venue I can recall as such, and Finca Cortesin, a new resort and Volvo Match Play host in Costa Del Sol features not only one of the most luxurious new golf hotels anywhere, but five par 5s for added pleasure.
I think if you gave golfers the option of shooting a lower score because the course is a par 70 over a few extra birdie tries with par 5s, they’d opt for the latter. I especially like par 5 closing holes over long par 4s that so many new courses have that virtually eliminate a birdie chance. Lets remember, one of golf’s signature moments of the last decade, Tiger Woods’ putt to force a U.S. Open playoff in 2008, came courtesy of a closing par 5, something that doesn’t happen at a U.S. Open venue (with the exception of Pebble Beach).
I’m certainly not a fan of shortening par 5s to par 4s because a lot of times the green is small and doesn’t fit the hole since you’ll be hitting a long iron instead of a wedge in. It also takes away from the chance at eagle, something we weekend warriors don’t do often.
I played Pinehurst No. 2 a few weeks ago and came to the 16th hole, a par-5. The U.S. Open played it as a par 4 in 1999 and 2005. From the white tees and into the wind, it played about 490 yards and took a nutted driver and 4-iron to reach the green, and I made the putt. It was a lasting memory: eagling a hole on a U.S. Open venue.
If we played the 16th as a par 4 as they do in the Open, I’d be a notable birdie in my life but hardly the same. So long live the par 5!
|« Barack Obama Club de Golf Cuba Nationale||Weekend Warriors gut it out at windy Golf Channel World Am Tour at Barton Creek in Austin »|