Already boasting what’s perennially the PGA Tour’s toughest closing stretch in the “Green Mile,” Quail Hollow also now features an opening brute that might give Augusta National’s first hole a run for its money.
Created from the merger of two holes in Quail Hollow’s original footprint, the new No.1 was unveiled at last year’s PGA Championship and soon made itself known. After just 15 birdies were recorded in the first two rounds, not one of the 75 players to make the weekend birdied No.1 in Round 3.
All in all, No.1 came in as last year’s eighth-toughest hole on the PGA Tour. Rory McIlroy, whose 61 in the 2015 Wells Fargo stood as the old course record, summed it up by suggesting whereas the old 418-yard opener greeted golfers with a gentle handshake, the new version is like a punch in the face.
No.1 will play 29 yards shorter this week than at last year’s PGA (524 yards), so that should ease a bit of the sting. Still, only the longest hitters will be able to cut much corner on a dogleg that doesn’t bend until 250 yards, and a long approach awaits to a small, well-guarded green.
No.1, Quail Hollow Club
Par 4, 495 yards
2017 average: 4.39 (2nd toughest)
2017 PGA Championship: no eagles, 27 birdies, 240 pars, 179 bogeys, 13 double bogeys, none higher