The BWD Major Tournament Hole of the Day: August 15, 2015. The 11th at Whistling Straits (The Straits Course), Home of PGA Championship

Tournament: PGA Championship – Whistling Straits, Kohler, WI
Hole: 11th – Par 5, 618 Yards
Architect(s): Pete Dye – 1998

Architectural Summary:

The tee shot on the 11th plays slightly uphill through bunkers, sand dunes and fescue to a left to right sloping fairway. From the plateaued landing area, players will face the most notable feature on this long par 5: a 16-foot-deep bunker located 100 yards from the green. This railway tie laden hazard really dictates the strategy of the hole as competitors will need to avoid it on their second shots. A strong tail wind, which is common on the hole, allows longer players the chance to reach the small, elevated green in two if they can successfully play over the bunker. Those not going for the green in two will want to play to another plateau to the right of the bunker to avoid a blind shot from the valley in the fairway. From this angle, however, players will be faced with a pitch back over a greenside bunker. Due to its predominant false front, the small green can be problematic. Any shots short of the green will be repelled, while shots that carry the green can easily find the bunker behind.
Statistical Analysis:

The 11th yielded scoring averages of 4.941 and 5.106 in the last two PGA Championships contested at Whistling Straits. We expect the 11th to once again play close to par during this week’s tournament.

Fun Facts:

  • The 11th hole is named “Sand Box” for the notable 75 yard bunker, situated on the left roughly 100 yards from the green. The “Sand Box” will test competitors as they must navigate over the notable bunker, which is 16 feet deep and lined with railway ties, to reach the green.
  • The course record for the Straits Course was previously held by China’s Liang Wen-Chong with a 64 during the 2010 PGA Championship. This week Japan’s Hiroshi Iwata bested that record by shooting a 63 on Friday.
  • In the making of The Straits course, over a million tons of cubic earth were moved in order to construct the dramatic terrain of the links-style layout.