1 Par 4 . 418 yards
Donald Ross preferred to open the round with a hole of somewhat modest difficulty and length, and this is certainly the case at Sedgefield. A drive near the fairway bunker 290 yards from the tee will leave the best angle of approach with a middle iron. The raised green is a Ross classic, leaning from right to left.
2 Par 4 . 442 yards
Spence believes this is one of the best holes ever designed by Ross. The tee shot requires a slight fade over the middle of three diagonal cross bunkers to set up the shortest and best line into a green that’s protected on the right by a creek. Approach shots should favor the left side of the green, which leans hard right toward the creek.
3 Par 3 . 174 yards
The mid-length par-3 hole is generally played into the prevailing wind and contains three of the deepest bunkers on the course, short and right. The large, somewhat subtle green narrows the deeper into the green one plays. Long and left is a very difficult up-and-down with the green sloping away from the player.
4 Par 4 . 428 yards
A blind tee shot to a left-to-right sloping fairway awaits the player on this hole. The best line favors the left side, allowing for considerable roll to the right. The bunkerless green is one of the most undulating and demanding on the course, requiring a very precise approach to get it close for a birdie attempt.
5 Par 5 . 529 yards
The first par-5 of the course is easily reachable in two shots. However, a deep hollow running diagonally across the putting surface will make getting up and down for birdie a challenge. The key to this hole is finding a level lie in the well-undulating fairway. Any shot hit short of this green will roll well back down the fairway.
6 Par 4 . 423 yards
A dramatically downhill tee shot to a fairway crossed by a creek at 280 yards calls for a fairway metal or long iron. Those players who position the ball left of center nearest the creek will be rewarded with the best angle into the back-to-front sloping green. The most difficult hole location is back right behind a large rolling mound.
7 Par 3 . 223 yards
Here the green is guarded on three sides by a deep creek and features a soft punch-bowl green with very difficult hole locations in the corners. Par is a great score on this demanding hole. Longtime golf fans remember this is where Arnold Palmer made triple bogey during the final round of the 1972 GGO, costing him the tournament and breaking the heart of everyone in Arnie’s Army.
8 Par 4 . 374 yards
A definite birdie opportunity for the player who plays right of the creek near the two fairway bunkers. The big hitters can go for this green, but long is no place to be. Sam Snead played short and left of the creek en route to his eighth win here in 1965.
9 Par 4 . 416 yards
A left-to-right tee shot near the deep fairway bunker 275 yards from the tee is preferred on this hole. A properly struck tee shot will find the bottom of the saddled fairway and allow an aggressive approach into this scalloped-edge green set below the backdrop of Sedgefield’s historic Tudor clubhouse. Hitting long on this severely sloping and undulating green will make par a difficult feat.
10 Par 4 . 440 yards
The first of several long par-4s on the backside requires a well-struck tee shot positioned near the fairway bunker on the left. The most severe green on the course awaits the approach shot. Distance control into this green is of the utmost importance, as going long leaves little chance for recovery.
11 Par 4 . 486 yards
The proper line for this tee shot is the bunker seen in the distance short and right of the green. The severely canted fairway will kick a right-to-left tee shot into the left-hand rough. The approach shot into this green is deceptive and can be bounced in by landing a long- to middle-iron just over the approach bunker 25 yards short and right of the green.
12 Par 3 . 235 yards
The longest par-3 on the course will require a very precise approach into a dramatic two-tier green cut into the face of a hill. Anything short will roll well back from the green and require a difficult up-and-down. Dead center of this green is the preferred line and will give the player the best chance of escaping with a par or an occasional birdie.
13 Par 4 . 405 yards
This is one of the most strategic holes on the course. The left side of the landing area funnels into the left rough, leaving a blind approach over two cross bunkers. The smart play is along the right side, providing an open view and short iron into this highly undulating green.
14 Par 4 . 526 yards
This very difficult and demanding, long par-4 requires a right-to-left tee shot over the fairway bunker at 275 yards. Two center-line bunkers create a deceptive approach into this “skyline” green. The green is the largest on the course and probably one of the most difficult to putt due to its severe slope from back right to front left.
15 Par 5 . 572 yards
The ideal tee shot to this reachable par-5 is directly at the fairway bunker. The downhill tee shot must avoid the “sheeps” fescue grass to the right and just over the bunker. Deep bunkers surround this undulating green. The far back-right corner is the most difficult location, especially if going for the green in two.
16 Par 3 . 163 yards
This short par-3 will provide the player an opportunity to be aggressive. However, the horseshoe-shaped green will weak havoc on misplayed tee shots and chips from around the green. Two 4-foot-deep pot bunkers guarding the green require a demanding short-iron approach.
17 Par 4 . 406 yards
Spence believes this hole is one of the most beautiful in North Carolina. The deep, saddled fairway meanders up an old creek bed filled in by Ross. A short-iron approach into the smallest green on the course is compounded by the difficulty of finding a level lie in the fairway. A natural amphitheater surrounds the smallest green on the course, a great place to view an exciting finish.
18 Par 4 . 507 yards
This members’ par-5 converted to a long par-4 will be the most difficult on the course. A tee shot to the crest of the downhill-sloping fairway leaves an uphill long iron or fairway metal into this severely undulating green perched on top of a hill. The most difficult hole location is atop a large roll in the back right corner of the green. Birdies from this location will be difficult.
Given that Donald Ross was the son of a stonemason and served an apprenticeship as a carpenter, he figured to build something. No one figured it would be golf courses. No one has done it better.
When the Wyndham Championship takes flight at Sedgefield Country Club, the focus will be on the course as much as the players.
Such is the lure of a Ross course. America’s pre-eminent golf architect designed more than 400 courses, but actually walked maybe one-third of them. Sedgefield was one.
Rather than shape the earth to fit the course, Ross did the opposite. Greensboro golf architect Kris Spence knew this when he renovated Sedgefield two years ago. The humps and hollows and rolling fairways are much the way they were 80 years ago when Ross put his imprint on the land.
Spence is a huge fan of Ross. He specializes in restoring the architect’s courses. What follows is a look at Sedgefield through the eyes of Spence.FIND MORE AT NEWS-RECORD.COM
Course map source: Wyndham Championship
graphics and design by doug cox/News & Record