How Danzante Bay’s 17th Hole Is Like Golf’s Most Iconic Par 3s
The breathtaking par-3 17th hole at TPC Danzante Bay has drawn comparisons to several other memorable cliffside par 3s, including the world-famous 16th at Cypress Point Club in California.
It’s easy to see why. The back tees on TPC Danzante Bay’s signature hole sits high above the glistening Sea of Cortez, setting up a sharply downhill, do-or-die shot from 175 yards over a canyon to a long, narrow peninsula green that drops off on three sides to the ocean far below.
“I think most people would agree that the location of the 17th hole at TPC Danzante Bay is one of the most spectacular in the world of golf,” said renowned golf course architect Rees Jones, whose other notable original designs include Nantucket Golf Club, Atlantic Golf Club, Ocean Forest Golf Club, and Cascata Golf Course.
Yet it’s another, much shorter, iconic par 3, the 12th hole at Augusta National Golf Club, that played a large part in the design of the 17th at TPC Danzante Bay—at least from a strategical standpoint. Both greens, said Jones, “share a front-left-to-back-right angle that makes club selection important,” and both are susceptible to swirling winds that can make club selection tricky. The two greenside bunkers that sit behind the 12th at Augusta are ready to grab any shot that goes long, as is another, more frequently visited, bunker short and right of the thin landing strip. That’s not all that different than what golfers confront at TPC Danzante Bay’s 17th, which features a wraparound bunker. Jones has said the hole is “distinctly different” from any of the other par-3s he’s designed.
“The 17th hole is distinctive because the strategy of angles and options work for every type of golfer,” said Jones. “The visual factor shouldn’t be underestimated. It changes the way golfers approach the shot whatever their ability may be.”
Jones believes that the 17th at TPC Danzante Bay also shares a characteristic with another famous 17th hole, the “island green” penultimate hole at its TPC Network sister course, THE PLAYERS Stadium Course at TPC Sawgrass.
“Both are great holes that must be played toward the end of the round,” said Jones. “Therefore, both holes are in the mind of the golfer from the start of the round until they have to challenge it and, hopefully, get through it. Their minds are drawn to the shot required long before they ever reach the hole, and that anticipation has an effect on how the hole is played.”
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Jones has designed or redesigned some of the game’s most recognizable par 3s, including the 17th at Bethpage Black, the 4th hole at Torrey Pines South, and the 3rd hole at Mauna Kea Golf Course in Hawaii. He believes that the 17th hole at TPC Danzante Bay stands with them all.
“I believe it should be considered one of the best par-3s in the world,” said Jones. “It is certainly one of the most visually memorable holes in golf.”
Take a look to TPC Danzante Bay’s 17th hole in this short video tour.