The Bear Trap Awaits!
“I don’t care if they make golf balls that go for a thousand yards. The Bear Trap will stand the test no matter what the equipment is.” – Jack Nicklaus
The Bear Trap has confounded players since Jack Nicklaus redesigned The Champion Course at PGA National Resort & Spa in 2014. Deemed the hardest three-hole stretch on the PGA TOUR, Nos. 15-17 offer two challenging par-3s over water and a par-4 that requires immense precision. As of 2014, no player in The Honda Classic has ever aced No. 15, and in 2011, 65 balls ended up in the water, the most of any par-3 hole on TOUR that year, beating its sister, No. 17 at TPC Sawgrass.
But it’s not just the PGA TOUR that struggles on the stretch. Since the Polo Golf Junior Classic came to PGA National Resort & Spa in 2009, the match play champions have played The Bear Trap at +9 combined in stroke play, with the girls edging out the boys by 21 strokes. Lexi Thompson and Ariya Jutanugarn both played the stretch at 2-under-par over two rounds, with Lexi making birdie on No. 15 both rounds.
Some have figured out the ways of The Bear Trap. After playing the stretch at 5-over-par in stroke play in 2013, Cameron Young finished 5&4 in the championship match, avoiding The Bear Trap entirely. Rolex Junior Player of the Year Ariya Jutanugarn also won 5&4 over Angel Yin in 2012 to cap off her incredible season.
So how will it play this year? The wind and weather will play a major factor. With temperatures in the high-70s and mild winds all week, players will get aggressive off the tee.