At 6,841 yards and a par 70, course demands a strong finish
This week’s Travelers Championship in Cromwell, Conn., will be played on the TPC River Highlands golf course for a 37th consecutive year. One of the things that makes this course unique is that it started unlike other made-for-the-PGA Tour venues.
Founded in 1928 as Middletown Golf Club, the course in 1934 was renamed Edgewood Country Club, which it retained for nearly a half-century, until it was blown up and redone by Pete Dye in 1982. What was rebranded in 1984 as TPC River Highlands went until the knife again five years later at the hands of architect Bobby Weed, with PGA Tour players Howard Twitty and Roger Maltbie consulting.
Today, TPC River Highlands is one of the shortest courses on Tour. At 6,841 yards and a par 70, the course sits on a tight 148-acre property typical of the Northeast. With rolling fairways, the course is lined with oak, sycamore and eastern white pine trees. Also typical for the area but somewhat rare on Tour, the course features Bentgrass from tee to green, with green surrounds featuring bluegrass fescue rough.
Roll this all together and it usually means the course crowns winners who are known as ball-strikers, with the ultimate combination of distance and artistry being three-time winner Bubba Watson (2010, ’15 and ’18).
The finishing stretch will attract much of the attention, notably holes 15, 16 and 17, which play around a four-acre lake.
Holes to watch:
No. 15, par 4, 296 yards: This exciting risk/reward hole is drivable for many Tour players, but with the aforementioned lake guarding the left side of the green, a drive is just as likely to find the water as a too-safe drive to the right might leave a tricky bunker shot for the approach. It’s possible to see scores from 2 to 6 recorded at the 15th.
No. 16, par 3, 171 yards: A scenic one-shotter over the lake requires a precise mid- to short-iron from the game’s best. The green is narrow, with a fair amount of slope. Numerous hole locations can cause fits, and the bunkers to the left and right of the green are not easy up-and-downs.
No. 17, par 4, 420 yards: Maybe the most intimidating tee shot on the course, the 17th forces players to decide how much of the right edge of the lake they want to bite off, or control a fade off the left-hand fairway bunkers. The lake stretches basically from the tee and guards the front of the green, making for an equally intimidating approach shot. With any wind, scores can get squirrelly here in a hurry.
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