Snoqualmie Ridge's four par-3s are longer than usual for a Champions Tour course, promising to make life difficult.
SNOQUALMIE — They are the longest short holes on the Champions Tour.
The four par-3s at the TPC at Snoqualmie Ridge all measure more than 200 yards if played at their listed lengths.
No other course on the Champions Tour can make that claim. The majority of Champions Tour events have only one par-3 hole longer than 200 yards. The shortest at TPC at Snoqualmie is 207.
But don’t expect all four par-3s to be used at their listed lengths each day in the Boeing Greater Seattle Classic, which begins tomorrow.
“We are going to mix it up,” said Gene Smith of the Champions Tour, who is in charge of course setup. “One day a hole might play at 207 yards; the next day we might move the tee up so it’s only playing 158.”
That was welcome news for two-time Masters champion Ben Crenshaw.
“That is good, because at full length, they are very difficult holes,” he said.
Traditionally, par-3s play tougher than par-4s and par-5s, and Smith expects that to hold true at TPC at Snoqualmie.
Five players who can win it
D.A. Weibring: Has posted eight top-10 finishes in past 10 starts; 20 of past 21 rounds have been below par.
Hale Irwin: Most successful golfer in Champions Tour history hasn’t won since February. He is overdue for a win.
Dana Quigley: Money leader says he likes fresh courses and has plenty of game.
Tom Purtzer: Fellow with “sweetest swing on tour” a winner earlier this month.
Allen Doyle: Learned his hockey-like swing in a basement with a low ceiling. Won U.S. Senior Open three weeks ago.
Five fun guys to watch
Morris Hatalsky: Hardly a household name, but he simply is one of the best putters of all time.
Peter Jacobsen: Portland native is what the doctor ordered for Tour: personality plus ability.
Gary Player: One of the greatest golfers in history.
Rick Rhoden: Former major-league pitcher isn’t just window dressing for this event. He can flat-out play.
Craig Stadler: “The Walrus” is a natural entertainer just by being himself.
Craig Smith, The Seattle Times
“If it’s a par-4 that is 445 yards and a player hits a 300-yard drive, he has 145 yards left to the hole,” Smith said. “That’s easier than standing over a 210-yard par-3 hole.”
The par-3s are enough to induce nightmares for amateurs, with two of the holes requiring a carry over water. Although they’re likely to prove the biggest challenge, Smith does not think the par-3s will be too difficult.
“These guys are good,” Smith said. “I expect you will find that the guys who are playing well and contending will hit the green and make putts no matter what the distance of the hole.”
Dave Stockton isn’t so sure. He expects them to prove difficult.
“They are all long, and you are going to be hitting woods into them [when playing full length],” said Stockton. “They also have elevation change, and the one hole that doesn’t have elevation change [No. 9] is over water.”
A look at the four par-3s and the places players will have to avoid:
• No. 6, 207 yards — Nicknamed Cascade because of the view of the Cascade Mountains from the tee box, the hole is downhill and plays shorter than its yardage. It is guarded by bunkers short left and long right. This hole is susceptible to different winds. “You don’t want to be long left on this hole,” Dickens said. “Actually, anywhere left on this hole is not good, but it might have the most accessible green.”
• No. 9, 207 yards — Nicknamed Screaming Eagle, this is easily the most visually intimidating of the par-3s. At full length, players must carry shots 195 yards over Eagle Lake, then an additional 8 yards over the greenside bunker. Coming up short on this hole can lead to a big number. “I don’t think you will see a lot of balls in the water, but I do think the water and front bunker will affect club selection,” Dickens said. “I think players may go up a club just to make sure they clear that.” Hitting long above the green will be no treat, as players will face a tough downhill chip with a bunker behind the hole.
• No. 13, 210 yards — Nicknamed Mount Si-gh, it is one of the most picturesque holes on the course. Views of Mount Si and the Cascades are the backdrop on this downhill shot, with bunkers both short and left of the hole. “This hole plays long, and is also susceptible to different winds,” Dickens said. “You don’t want to be left.”
• No. 17, 211 yards — Nicknamed On The Rock because of the large rock players must hit over in addition to a pond, its green has two tiers. Dickens said the large rock could not be moved during construction, so designer Jack Nicklaus incorporated the rock into the hole. “The rock affects the visual aspect of the hole,” Dickens said. “The key here is not being on the wrong tier of the green. You don’t want to be on the tier that the flag is not on.”