What is the bear trap at PGA National?

Answered by Tom Adger

The Bear Trap at PGA National is a renowned and challenging stretch of holes on the Championship Course. This treacherous trio of holes, consisting of the 15th, 16th, and 17th, was redesigned by golf legend Jack Nicklaus, earning its nickname from his nickname, the Golden Bear.

The 15th hole is a par-3 that requires precision and accuracy. It measures around 170 yards, and a large water hazard guards the front and left side of the green. The wind can also be a factor, adding an extra layer of difficulty to an already daunting hole. The key to success on this hole is to find the green and avoid the water, as any shots that miss the mark will likely result in a bogey or worse.

Next up is the 16th hole, another par-3 that demands precision. This hole measures around 160 yards and features a small, undulating green surrounded by bunkers. The green slopes from back to front, making it crucial to find the right portion of the putting surface to have a good chance at birdie. The Bear Trap lives up to its name on this hole, as any wayward shots will find themselves in the sand or in the water hazard that runs along the right side of the hole.

The final challenge of the Bear Trap is the 17th hole, a challenging par-4. This hole measures around 430 yards and is known for its narrow fairway and numerous bunkers. Accuracy off the tee is essential, as the fairway is lined with bunkers on both sides. The approach shot is equally demanding, as the green is well-guarded by more bunkers and a large lake on the left side. Par is a great score on this hole, and anything better than that is a real achievement.

The Bear Trap is notorious for its difficulty and has become a favorite among both players and spectators. It has played a significant role in determining the outcome of many tournaments held at PGA National, including the Honda Classic. The pressure and challenge it presents often lead to dramatic swings in scoring and can make or break a player’s chances of victory.

Having personally experienced playing the Bear Trap, I can attest to the nerve-wracking feeling that comes with standing on the tee box of these holes. The combination of water hazards, strategically placed bunkers, and the pressure of the moment can make even the most seasoned golfer feel a sense of unease. It truly tests a player’s mental fortitude and shot-making ability.

The Bear Trap at PGA National is a formidable and iconic stretch of holes that tests the skills of even the best golfers. The combination of challenging par-3s and a demanding par-4 makes for an exciting and nerve-wracking experience. It is a true test of a player’s ability to navigate treacherous hazards and make strategic decisions under pressure. The Bear Trap is a fitting tribute to the legendary golfer Jack Nicklaus and a highlight of the Championship Course at PGA National.