Where is the PGA Championship being held and what can players expect from the course?
Big names in golf have flocked to Tulsa, Oklahoma to take part in the 2022 PGA Championship, and they’ll be playing on a course that’s undergone a makeover.
Pro golfers from all over the world are in Southern Hills Country Club in Tulsa Oklahoma to compete in the PGA Championship, and it’s not the first time the course has hosted the major.
Southern Hills: PGA Championship regular
This year marks the fifth time that the contest will be held at Southern Hills. It’s the only course that has hosted the PGA Championship at least four times. The club last organized the competition 15 years ago, when Tiger Woods took home the trophy.
Prior winners don’t necessarily have an advantage in terms of familiarity with the venue, as it has undergone a restoration in the hands of golf architect Gil Hanse.
Hanse, who also drew up the plans for the Rio 2016 Olympic Golf Course, led the renovation which took place from 2018 to 2019. He wanted to make the course play as its original designer, Perry Maxwell, meant it to.
Opening up Southern Hills
Plans were outlined for Southern Hills in the 1930s. It used to be lined by trees, and featured heavy rough and bunkers with little variety. Hanse removed some trees and changed the layout of the course to make it more interesting and unpredictable.
“The thing about Southern Hills is that I never understood the topography,” he said on The Fried Egg Golf Podcast.
“By restoring the scale of the fairways and opening back the vistas and allowing the scale of the topography to shine, I think that’s really what we uncovered is a much better piece of ground than I ever originally thought,” said the architect.
Short grass changes the game
The 2022 PGA Championship will play to a par 70 over 7,556 yards, as it has in past tournaments, and will challenge the players’ short game.The three critical points are holes 2, 12, and 18.
Hanse cleared rough and extended some holes. He said that having more short grass opens up the tournament to “an entire range of possibilities,” adding that this kind of grass makes the outcome a lot more unpredictable.
Some golfers who have participated in practice rounds agree with Hanse in that the course has given participants more options in their strategy. One thing seems apparent- Southern Hills will pose a big challenge to many more aspects of the players’ game.