Among the many good things about the PGA Tour’s annual return to Riviera Country Club is the 315-yard, par-4 10th hole which proves each year that great course design requires more imagination than yardage.
If you’re watching this weekend you’ll see players scratching their heads, slamming their wedges and talking to themselves after playing the little hole that requires two simple things – careful strategy and precise execution.
It doesn’t matter if a guy can drive it 340 yards. It only matters if he can put it in play in the proper spot off the tee, then execute a short shot that must look like an aircraft carrier looks to a pilot trying to land in a stormy ocean.
It’s not unusual to see a player 20 yards from the hole but with no real shot toward the flag.
The case can be made that the green is too firm and the contouring repels good shots. Some players will agree.
But the majority appreciate the hole for what it is – clever, straightforward and demanding.
The rest of us should appreciate it for proving that the measure of good design isn’t based on yardage. What a novel concept.