Klein on Design: No. 3, Ritz-Carlton GC Dove Mountain
Bradley S. Klein, Golfweek’s architecture editor, offers his opinion on one memorable hole:
Yards: 208, par 3
Architect: Jack Nicklaus, 2009
Where: Marana, Ariz.
Event: PGA Tour’s WGC-Accenture Match Play Championship, Feb. 17-21
It’s great because . . . this downhill par 3 offers a wide range of hole locations, all of them readily visible from the tee, and yet they bring into play subtle green slopes. After the course debuted last year as home to the WGC-Accenture Match Play Championship, Nicklaus revamped 17 of the 18 greens. At the third, the most demanding hole location is on the front portion because the surface, just above a little false front, is at its narrowest – pinched between a deep bunker on the high side left and water low right.
It would be even better if . . . as odd as it might be to say, the folks showcasing the Ritz-Carlton Golf Club Dove Mountain didn’t use this hole to promote the course. Brand marketers might like to talk about “signature holes,” but usually, such a heavily featured hole is the least characteristic on the course. That’s exactly the case here, because this third hole on the Saguaro nine brings into play the one lake on the 18-hole Saguaro/Tortolita championship course and the only forced-carry approach over water on a layout that is otherwise true to its native desert landscape.