Daily Fantasy Golf Course Primer: AT&T Byron Nelson
Any time the PGA moves to a new course, we daily fantasy players struggle with a lack of information.
We generally have some ways to make course comparisons to other tracks on the PGA Tour calendar, such as finding similar lengths and layouts between past courses and the newcomer.
This week, for Trinity Forest GC, we may not have that luxury. Here's why.
Course and Tournament Info
Trinity Forest GC -- 7,380 yards and a par 71 -- is a links-style course, which means...not a whole lot. Jordan Spieth is a member at the new course, built in 2016, and had this to say about it last week:
It's like an American links. You've kind of got to play it from the air, not really a bounce the ball up kind of links, but it is still a links-looking golf course. So it's weird, it's unique. It's actually -- Birkdale was kind of the closest comparison I've found to a links course that you kind of have to attack from the air. You get maybe four or five, six holes where you can bounce the ball up, but the way to get balls close is to come in with a higher shot. That's not necessarily true links. I don't want to say that about Birkdale because of the history and everything, but it's just the way I've found to play it well is that route.
So, it looks like a links course but doesn't necessarily play like one. Spieth also called this a "second-shot course."
To get into the Royal Birkdale GC corollary, the host of The Open Championship in 2008 and 2017, Spieth is comparing Trinity Forest to a par 70 (just over 7,100 yards). In 2008, Birkdale was the PGA Tour's toughest course relative to par. In 2017, it was third toughest.
Bill Coore, who designed the course with Ben Crenshaw, has a different comparison in his mind:
We're excited because the ground in its natural form has ripples and humps and hollows that are amazing. It's incredible how many parts of it look like (Pinehurst) No. 2. There are a lot of lessons to be learned as we look at Pinehurst.
Pinehurst hosted the 2005 and 2014 U.S. Opens, most recently playing as a 7,546-yard par 70. In each year, it was the PGA Tour's most difficult course by score relative to par.
The common thread there is difficulty.
The undulating Champion Bermuda greens will be maintained at a 10.5 on the Stimpmeter, meaning the greens will be slow but rolling and likely difficult to read.
These stats stand out as critical for success at a course expected to play like Trinity Forest GC.
|Key Stats for the AT&T Byron Nelson at Trinity Forest GC|
|Strokes Gained: Approach|
|Strokes Gained: Off the Tee|
|Greens in Regulation|
We'll give into Spieth's second-shot suggestion here, making strokes gained: approach one of our top stats of the week to key on. The undulation of the course is going to prove problematic from every area of the course, and that includes the fairways.
Along with strokes gained: approach, strokes gained: off the tee is worth considering. Accuracy doesn't matter in the sense of hitting fairways (because they're wide and there's not a concern with rough), but distance will help here, and so will placement off the tee to set up ideal second shots.
From there, scrambling and greens in regulation with the chance to avoid disaster on what should be a difficult track rounds out the top of the list.
Of course, the lack of trees means wind should be a factor, so you can bump up golfers who play well in the wind. The links-style approach will also mean we can bump up golfers who fare well on links-style courses.