16 – If you are watching the Waste Management Phoenix Open this week you will inevitably hear way too much about the “loudest hole in golf” aka the par-3 16th. TPC Scottsdale Stadium course was built just for that purpose – get as many people around the holes to sell tickets and then add beer to make it a “wild” scene that the tour rarely sees. It makes for great golf TV and looks like this, but what they don’t tell you is what it looks like during the rest of the year.
A couple of years ago I was out in Scottsdale for work and even though it was the middle of June there was no way I wasn’t bringing my sticks. So after meetings finished I headed over to TPC for quick 18 in 115 degree heat (yeah dry heat is still 115). The course is great and as an East Coast guy it was nice to play out of the cactus instead of pine trees and see rabbits instead of squirrels, but the course itself was the real winner. It was in great shape for the summer even if the grass was a little burnt out, but who cares. I had a great round and enjoyed the challenge and was excited to see the “loudest hole in golf” in person, but when I did it just wasn’t the same.
What they don’t tell you on TV is that when the tour isn’t there they take down all of those stands and what is left is a series of massive cylindrical holes perforating the outline of a pretty regular looking par-3. To be honest it was ugly and plain. I know we don’t play on the tour and those guys get the best every course has to offer, but man what a disappointment. Having also played Sawgrass (which totally lives up to the hype – especially 17) I was kind of ticked.
Now the rest of the course, especially 15 and 18 were amazing, but when you have this image of this renowned hole on tour and you finally get to play it you just hope it’s as close to TV as possible and the “loudest hole in golf” just doesn’t measure up.