PGA West – Stadium Course is rated one of the “Top 100 Courses in the World” by GOLF Magazine and the 4th toughest course in America in Golf Digest’s “Top 50 Toughest Courses in America” (2007), there may be no greater challenge or excitement in the game of golf. At 7,300 yards, the Stadium Course has the highest stroke (76.1) and slope (150) ratings of all the courses at PGA WEST®. A Pete Dye golf course, the Stadium delivers multiple adrenaline rushes throughout the round. Named “Stadium” thanks to Dye’s ingenious plan to sculpt spectator seating into the natural terrain, many historic moments in golf have occurred here, including Lee Trevino’s unforgettable hole-in-one on Alcatraz. This won him a carry-over Skin worth $175,000 in the 1987 made-for-TV “Skins Game,” hosted at PGA WEST from 1986-1991. With five sets of tees, the Stadium lures all skill levels.
Signature Hole: 17th Hole – 168 Yard Par 3 – This island green, aptly called Alcatraz, is absolutely one of the finest island green in the country, sparing the 17th at TPC Sawgrass. From a slightly elevated tee, players can do their best to land one in the heart of the rock-surrounded green. Though the green is perfectly round and fairly receptive, the daunting 160 yard carry proves to make for one of the most challenging par threes out there.
Best Par 3: 6th Hole – 255 Yards – This hole has every element of a great one shotter. The distance is clearly there, forcing even the longest of players to swallow their pride and pull out a three wood. The water, all 220 yards of it, is there as well. Lastly, the green’s undulations and the bunker complexes add another mental difficulty to a shot maker’s mind off the tee. A par here is a great score and many players can cope with a bogey as well.
Best Par 4: 8th Hole – 346 Yards – This is by far the shortest par four on the course. Usually great par fours require a driver and then a mid iron to get to the green but this one simply requires a fairway metal or utility club and a wedge to hit the dance floor. Both of those clubs must be hit straight as an arrow. The drive can’t miss left or right, but with a giant lake running all the way up the right side it makes the left side’s deep bunkers seem a bit more comforting. The approach must be hit wonderfully as well. A forced carry over the water is necessary once again and a few pot bunkers await the player who decides to bail out over the green.
Best Par 5: 5th Hole – 535 Yards – One of the only holes around with some type of water up the entire left and right sides of the hole. The drive is always hit parallel to a large lake that runs all the way along the left side. Once in the fairway, it’s foolish to smack a wood in the direction of the green, the carry is simply too long. Golfers are forced to lay up down the left side of the hole and hit a wedge into this tough green. This is a great hole that has a minuscule margin for error throughout the entire length of the hole.
Birdie Time: 2nd Hole – 371 Yard Par 4 – Many avid golfers who have already played this course would laugh at the idea of a birdie on this beast of a course. The second hole is extremely gettable however. The fairway is somewhat tight and the green is demanding as well. Many golfers will have wedges into this green, yielding a marginally large number of birdies, considering the course.
Bogey Beware: 9th Hole – 452 Yard Par 4 – As much as it would behoove me to write each and every hole on the course for this segment, hole 9 is truly the hardest hole on the course. With water down the whole right side and signature Pete Dye railroad tie bunkers all down the left side, this par 4 is extremely hard. Following the pattern of many holes on this course, left is bad, but right is worse. Par is, again, a great score on this one.
Address: 56-150 PGA Blvd., La Quinta, CA
Length: 7300 yards
Golf Season:Year round
Architect: Pete Dye