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.
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.
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.
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:
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.