The BWD Major Tournament Hole of the Day: August 14, 2015. The 7th at Whistling Straits (The Straits Course), Home of PGA Championship

Tournament: PGA Championship – Whistling Straits, Kohler, WI
Hole: 7th – Par 3, 221 Yards
Architect(s): Pete Dye – 1998

Architectural Summary:

The 7th hole is aptly named “Shipwreck,” as the par 3, measuring 221 yards, demands competitors to navigate between Lake Michigan and a steep hillside on the left strewn with bunkers. Precision and club selection are critical from the tee as missing the expansive green will result in a challenging recovery shot. Occasionally, the left slope will propel balls into the green, but any ball staying there greatly diminishes the chance for par. The left slope will be in play often as the left-to-right crosswind will lead competitors to aim towards the left, the high side of the hole, though their eyes will be drawn to the sandscape dropping down to the lake’s edge. The 42-yard-long green is also protected by numerous bunkers to the right and short of the putting surface. Competitors will want to hit the correct quadrant of the large, well-contoured green which has a bisecting ridge, creating a back to front slope short of the ridge and front to back slope over the ridge greatly enhancing the difficulty of front pin positions in particular. The wind will largely dictate play on this difficult par 3 that has typically yielded scores well over par.

Statistical Analysis:

During each of the past PGA Championships, the 7th hole has yielded over twice as many scores over par than those under par. Over 115 bogeys or worse were recorded on the hole during the 2010 tournament, which elevated the scoring average to 3.158.

The only hole-in-one to be recorded on the hole was during the 2004 PGA Championship. Despite the ace, the field averaged 3.189 on the hole.

Fun Facts:

  • Hale Irwin played his tee shot off the hill during the 2004 PGA Championship and made a hole-in-one when his ball bounded onto the putting surface and rolled into the cup. It was the first ace at Whistling Straits during a competitive round.
  • Whistling Straits plays along two miles of Lake Michigan shoreline, where eight holes on the course hug the rocky shore.
  • The property was previously the site of a U.S. Army anti-aircraft training facility named Camp Haven in the 1950s.