It was in 1997 that the first player to average more than 300 yards on the PGA Tour came out. That year, American long hitter John Daly averaged 302.0 yards and became the main character of the first ‘300 Yard Club’. Since then, the number of players hitting 300 yards or more has steadily increased, and on the PGA Tour in the 2022-2023 season, as many as 89 players are currently hitting 300 yards or more.
It is an unavoidable phenomenon that the course discrimination ability is relatively low as the number of long hitters has increased dramatically. This is because they play a ‘wedge shot competition’ from a short distance after hitting the driver shot far away. The fact that the British Royal Golf Association (R&A) and the United States Golf Association (USGA), which govern golf rules, will limit the performance of golf balls will not be irrelevant to this situation.
When men’s golf tournaments are held, there is no reason for the number of long hitters to change from a par 5 hole to a par 4 hole.
Last year, a total of 8 tournaments were held on the par 71 course, where one par 5 hole was replaced with a par 4 hole. DB Insurance Promy Open (Ravie Bell CC Old Course), GS Caltex Maekyung Open (Namseoul CC), SK Telecom Open (Pinx GC), KPGA Championship (A1 CC), Kolon Korea Open (Woojeong Hills) GC), Asiad CC Busan Open (Asiad CC), Shinhan Donghae Open (Coma CC), and DGB Financial Group Open (Family Hills CC).
Among the many holes on the course where the men’s golf tournament was held last year, the most difficult hole was the 16th hole at Namseoul CC. Of course, this is where the par 5 hole was changed to a par 4 hole. The 4th round average was 4.58.
In 2021, the 4th hole of Pinsk GC (par 71), the site of the SK Telecom Open, was played the most difficult, beating the 16th hole of this Namseoul CC. The average number of strokes was 4.75. This hole is also normally operated as a par 5 hole. Choi Kyung-ju, who is known to have led the hole change while serving as the co-executive chairman of the SK Telecom Open at the time, said, “In PGA Tour tournaments, there are about 3 or 4 par 4 holes over 500 yards per tournament. I felt that there should be more par 4 holes where players have to attack the green with long irons.”
Choi Kyung-ju also said, “It is a clear fact that you can improve your skills by playing on difficult courses. If the players knew my sincerity, they would not resent me.”ㅋㅋㅋ벳
Of course, the organizers of last year’s SK Telecom Open judged that the 4th hole, which was changed to a par 4, was too difficult, so they left the 4th hole as a par 5 hole and instead changed the 10th hole from a par 5 hole to a par 4 hole.
A short par 5 hole is an easy ‘angel’s birdie hole’, but if you change it to a long par 4 hole, it quickly transforms into a difficult ‘evil bogey hole’. Players won’t be happy with these difficult modified holes. Although it is said to be ‘equal conditions’, it would not be very pleasant to have bogey and double bogey written on the scorecard instead of birdie and par. However, while golf fans cheer for the professional golfers’ splendid birdie and eagle hunting, they also feel a strange thrill in the predicament they face. And in overcoming the difficulties, you feel a sense of pleasure.
In the second round of the 42nd GS Caltex Maekyung Open, which took place in the rain on the 5th, the 16th hole, which was changed to a par 4 hole, definitely became a hole that divided the joys and sorrows of the players. Jung Chan-min, who took the lead two days in a row (total 11 under par, 131 strokes), caught par at this hole, and Lee Jung-hwan, who took second place by two strokes (total 9 under par, 133 strokes), committed a bogey. Also, defending champion Kim Bio, who tied for third place with a total of 7 under par 135, made a birdie at this hole. Amateur Jang Yoo-bin, tied for 3rd place, saved a par, and Jeong Taeyang, also tied for 3rd place, recorded a bogey.
It is exciting to see what kind of final result this hole’s performance will produce.