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Women’s Pins & Tees at Pro Tour Stops

The second half of the Pro Tour season kicks off in less than one month. In the second half of the season, we will start to see some holes designed specifically for
the women’s division. The Ledgestone Insurance Open presented by Discraft will have a completely separate course while Maple Hill (Vibram Open) will have a majority of holes adjusted for the women.
Ledgestone Insurance Open presented by Discraft TD Nate Heinold explains his decision to not use Lake Eureka.
I chose not to have them play Lake Eureka because it is a black level course with multiple long distance shots over water. I felt like my FPO turnout would be higher by having them play courses more suitable to their driving distance. Lake Eureka’s distance and high winds wouldn’t be any fun for the women to play. In terms of just giving them some short tees, the layout would not make sense. The course is designed with one set of tees in mind, showcasing the lake and landmarks at the course (the bridge hole, water tower hole, numerous lake shots). By moving tees up on some holes, it just would take away the grandeur of the course.
He then goes on to explain why he chose the Sunset and Northwood courses.
The women will be playing Sunset and Northwood, which are very highly rated courses. MPO has used Northwood every year except for this coming year and the women are very familiar with that course. Sunset Hills is a challenging, gorgeous, more open course that is built on a golf course. The Women are familiar with this course as well and have played it the last few years. Based on conversations, the women are on board with the chosen courses. They are familiar with both courses and they offer a good variety. Northwood is more wooded while Sunset is more open air. Both courses will play to an SSA of around 50.
Lastly, the conversation drifted towards whether or not the longest possible versions of the courses will be utilized for the women’s field.
At each course, they are not playing the longest version of the course. The long tees at Sunset simply add a bunch of distance and the course is already over 7000′ so we don’t see a lot of need to make any changes for the FPO there. As for Northwood, the difference between the long tees and short tees is about 3.5 to 4 strokes, and some of the long tees turn a challenging par 3 into a black level par 3, so we decided to just play the shorter tees to make the course more suited to their distance levels.

The Vibram Open at Maple Hill
Click image for Course Map PDF.
After reviewing the Women’s Tees post and having discussions with course manager Dave Jackson, it has been decided that the Vibram Open women’s course will have ten distinct women’s holes. This will double the number from last year.

  • Hole 1 : This makes the water carry worth attempting but still gives significant advantage to throwing far. This tee has been universally appreciated for several years.
  • Hole 2 : Over 75% of the players got a par. The only players that carded bogeys missed putts. A shorter tee will make this a risky birdie hole, like it is for the open side.
  • Hole 3 : The women will be playing last year’s gold tee. The open division will have a new tee that makes hitting the gap a bit harder. This has the added bonus of letting us make fun of Dave Feldberg for hitting his ace from the women’s tee.
  • Hole 6 : The blue tee will allow the women to have a chance of getting inside Circle 2 on their drive. In Round 3, only one player even got to Circle 2. Additionally, only one player carded a par. Rather than raise par, we are adding a gorgeous risky tee shot which lets the women play for birdie.
  • Hole 7 : 1 in 5 carded par. 4 in 5 carded bogey or worse. With very little danger, the women will be able to lay into this 275 foot uphill shot and get a look at a birdie on this protected pin.
  • Hole 8 : A forced water carry of over 300′ is too much, but looking at the statistics, hole 8 plays very easy. We will be contemplating moving the women’s tee from the Whites to the Blues.
  • Hole 10 : This is a tweener hole. We are putting in a new gold tee. It feels like it would be just a touch long for the women, especially as a par 3, so we want to give them a shot at this hole. After the event, we will review to determine if the Gold tee at a higher par is a better solution.
  • Hole 11 : We are changing this 800′ hole to a 650′ hole, which will give the women a similar opportunity for the birdie 3. Last year no women carded the birdie. It’s time to let the big distance give an advantage by making this hole getable.
  • Hole 14 : Another forced water carry, but closer to 350′. The blue tee pad makes the shot a possible challenge.
  • Hole 17 : The gold course requires a 450′ shot to clear the pines. While the white to gold layout does not get the scoring variation that we would like, it is currently the best option.
  • Hole 18 : 650′ uphill to an island green forces all women to layup their second shot rather than going for the island green. The women will tee from the White tees, giving the majority of the field an opportunity to go for the island green.

One other thing that came up in our conversations with some of the top women players on tour was that par should sometimes be adjusted to set a better expectation. Two holes will have adjusted pars for the women’s side:

  • Hole 9: Change to a Par 4
  • Hole 16: Change to a Par 4

We look forward to reviewing how these courses are played, how the scoring and excitement factor goes up (or down), and to see if there are more women in the mix for a run at the championship.