The final stop on the PGA Tour's string of five tournaments in Florida has the pros checking into Orlando for this year's Arnold Palmer Invitational. Bay Hill is the tournament's host course and one of the more difficult courses of the season. Bay Hill ranks 8th in difficulty out of the 51 courses that will host a PGA tournament this year.
Designed by Arnold Palmer, this course is generally wide open and flat. Players will find several scoring chances throughout; go for it and you'll have a great shot at birdie, but if you come up short or miss to either side, odds are you'll be scrambling to make par.
Where they'll struggle:
#18 - Par-4 - 458 yards
Off the tee, this finishing hole looks like a piece of cake. It's straight and it's got a wide open landing area. But that where the easy part of this hole ends and things get remarkably difficult. The approach will require an accurate mid to long iron shot. A large water hazard juts into the right half of the fairway and a rock lined bank lines the front of the green. Do not leave your approach shot short. A trio of bunkers line the back and left sides of the green as well, leaving players with no option other than to hit the green. During all four rounds of last year's Arnold Palmer Invite, hole 18 surrendered just 33 birdies.
Where they'll score:
#16 - Par-5 - 511 yards
There's plenty of scoring to be done on this relatively short par-5. Last year, number 16 actually allowed more birdies than it did pars or bogeys (19 eagles, 196 birdies, 146 pars, 21 bogeys). In the past, the 16th has played so easy that in 2007 tournament directors actually made the hole into a very long par-4.
Off the tee the left side of the fairway is the place to be. From there, you're left with roughly 200 yards to the green. This should be no problem, but a creek running from left to right protects the front of the green. This is a quintessential Bay Hill moment. You can lay up and have an easy pitch shot into the green or you can go for it--but come up short and you'll likely end up in the creek.
Kent Lister is a journalist working in the Midwest. He's covered a number of PGA Tour events over the years, and has spent the better part of his life playing competitive golf. From junior tournaments all the way up to NCAA tournaments, and while organized golf has come to an end for Lister, he continues spending a disproportionately large amount of time perfecting his game. Follow him on twitter @listerkent for a complete rundown of all his previews.
- Arnold Palmer
- PGA Tour