TPC Sugarloaf (Private)
2395 Sugarloaf Drive, Duluth
STAFF: Victor Aliprondo is the Director of Golf; Mike Crawford is the Superintendent.
PAR YARDAGE: Sugarloaf has three nines (Stables, Meadows, Pines); Stables and Meadows are the original nines and constitute the tournament course, which plays 7,343 yards. Other tees for the Stables/Meadows 18 are: Blue (6,836); White (6,374) and Red (5,456).
COURSE RATING/SLOPE: (Stables/Meadows) 76.0/145 (TPC); 73.2/142 (Blue); 71.1/138 (White); 72.5/133 (Red).
ABOUT THE COURSE: Sugarloaf will have a different appearance this year compared to the previous 11 times the course has served as host of a PGA Tour event. The course was not over-seeded for the first time, and the rough has been converted from rye to Bermuda, which could have an impact for players who miss the mostly ample fairways. With the move from the week before the Masters to mid-May, the weather should not be as much a factor as in recent years. With two exceptions, the 72-hole winning score has been in the 13-to-18-under par range, going as high as 280 and as low as 260. Zach Johnson won in a playoff last year after finishing at 15-under 273. Big hitters have tended to do better at Sugarloaf than players who rely more on precision, but Johnson has won twice in the last four years, with Ben Crane also among the recent winners.
Sugarloaf’s layout features a nice mix of tournament holes, with a relatively tame (by PGA Tour standards) group of par 5s, one of the easiest par 4s on tour (13) and two par 3s that yield a sizeable number of birdies (2 and 11). Two of the par 5s (4 and 18) offer some risk, with the 4th playing the toughest of the four last year, and the trouble-free 6th the easiest of the four. Other than 13, the par 4s are a strong group. Holes 5, 7 and 9 are among the tougher trio of two-shotters on tour, with 5 and 9 ranking 1-2 in double bogeys and worse last year. Other than 18, Sugarloaf finishes with a solid stretch of holes beginning at 14, the toughest hole to birdie in 2007. The seemingly unimposing 16th surprisingly matched the long 8th as the toughest par 3 last year, while the visually intimidating 11th averaged under par for the four days. The key at Sugarloaf is handling the large, fast, undulating greens, with several of the tour’s most accomplished putters among the past champions.