Earlier this year, months removed from the chaos of the Waste Management Open, I drove out to TPC Scottsdale to play an unassuming round of golf with some friends. I've lived in Scottsdale for years, but it seems the rounds at TPC Scottsdale are few and far between, a fault of my own but also a point of mine so I don't ruin the PGA Tour tournament course.
I arrived at the par-3 16th hole, with no bleachers or grandstands or anything, just a lonely par-3 with some clouds framing it. The hole on paper is nothing special, just a short hole by PGA Tour standards that calls for a 9-iron or wedge depending on the hole location and wind.
The thing that makes the 16th so special isn't the architecture behind the hole or even the sneaky bunkering that surrounds the small putting surface, but the tournament organizers realizing years ago that this would be their stamp on the golfing world.
The 16th at TPC Scottsdale isn't just the most fun hole at this golf tournament, but it's the most fun golf hole in all of golf, an original if there ever was one that never ceases to amaze even the most frequent of Waste Management guests.
On Friday and Saturday at the Waste Management, the lines to get into the general admission grandstands on the par-3 range in the thousands, and inside the atmosphere would rival that of a playoff NBA game.
It's electric, but even that doesn't do it justice. This is a place where every golfer is either celebrated or humbled, and it really doesn't matter who you are. Phil Mickelson misses the green? The boos are going to shower down on him. Johnny Qualifier sticks it to four feet? The crowd will love him for that 160 yard walk.
The question before the Waste Management each year is always if the pros like the hole, and some will say they like it because it's different while others will say it's a bit much.
But if you take a moment to just stand on the 16th, hands in your pocket (or holding that cold beverage that is almost mandatory) and just look around at what the hole is really about, you'll understand why it's so special.
It doesn't have the history or the beauty of Amen Corner, it isn't close to the 18th at Pebble Beach or the 17th at Sawgrass, but if you want to simply enjoy yourself on a golf hole in a type of environment that is only found at one stop on the PGA Tour, the 16th is for you.
The only problem is, you better get in line now.