Tom Hanson continues his look at the TPC Treviso Bay's construction, with the dilemma facing player Hal Sutton: he doesn't like the planned short par-4 finish.
Eight months after breaking ground, the 18th hole is nothing but piles of dirt. But it's already providing loads of drama.
The lakes on the championship course in East Naples have been dredged. Negotiations to begin the shaping of the 7,200-yard layout is under way. And still there is one minor debate: Is a 320-yard, par-4, too, short?
That's the plan for the final hole at Treviso Bay.
With today's juiced balls and trampoline-effect drivers, players will have to decide if they want to drive the green or lay up and play it safe. The tempting proposition will make it possible for an eagle to win a tournament. Talk about instant excitement.
But not everyone is thrilled.
Hal Sutton, the PGA Tour player consultant on the project, isn't sold on the idea.
Sutton, standing by his classic golf course design theories, feels that a reachable par-4 will only create headaches instead of heart-stopping action. Sutton fears that the short strike will result in slow play. He also worries that the agony of defeat, (i.e. bogey, double-bogey or even a triple-bogey) will be taken out of the equation.
"Is it exciting that everyone is going for it and the difference between winning and losing could be an eagle?" Sutton said. "Or is exciting, OK there are 10 different ways to make a 3 here and only one way to make an eagle if you knock it in from the fairway."
"I think having a hole that short as the final hole is a real risk," Sutton said.
Arthur Hills, Treviso Bay's lead architect, and Chris Gray, the project manager for VK Development, both agree there is enough give and take with having a 320-yard finishing hole.
The hole is designed to be a slight dogleg to the left with water running down the entire left side. The green will be angled so that the lake will cause players to think twice about going for the green.
"There still will be plenty of risk but I think the reward will make it a unique hole," Hills said.
I love the idea of a short 4 finish. And at that point in the round, who cares about slow play? It's already been 5 to this point, what's another wait!