TPC TAMPA BAY
Course Architect(s): Robert C. Weed, Chi Chi Rodriguez (Consultant)
Year Opened: 1991
Location: Lutz, Florida
Slope: 135. Rating: 73.6
Hole-by-Hole: 1 - Par 4 395 Yds 10 - Par 4 395 Yds
2 - Par 3 191 Yds 11 - Par 3 179 Yds
3 - Par 4 425 Yds 12 - Par 5 495 Yds
4 - Par 4 427 Yds 13 - Par 4 345 Yds
5 - Par 4 332 Yds 14 - Par 5 588 Yds
6 - Par 3 144 Yds 15 - Par 4 452 Yds
7 - Par 5 541 Yds 16 - Par 4 430 Yds
8 - Par 4 414 Yds 17 - Par 3 217 Yds
9 - Par 4 472 Yds 18 - Par 4 456 Yds
Par 35 3,341 Yds Par 36 3,557 Yds
Key Events Held: GTE Suncoast Classic (1992-96),
GTE Classic (1997-2000),
Verizon Classic (2001-03),
Outback Steakhouse Pro-Am (2004-11),
Encompass Insurance Pro-Am (2012),
Champions Tour Qualifying School (1994).
Course Record: 61 (Rocky Thompson, 1994; Fuzzy Zoeller, 2004)
Awards Won: Received a four 1/2-star rating in Golf Digest's Places to Play.
Re-certification in the Audubon Cooperative Sanctuary Program.
HISTORY: When the course was constructed, Bobby Weed took an already open
piece of land and opened it up even more, as he removed over 50-percent of the
trees. When he first viewed the property, he chose a horse as his guide around
the landscape. In a short period of time, the TPC of Tampa Bay has proven
itself amongst the best on the Champions Tour. The course has a great history
of top notch golf with some of the past winners including: Jack Nicklaus,
Larry Nelson, Bob Gilder, Hale Irwin and two-time winner Bruce Fleisher.
When Nicklaus captured the 1996 event, he rebounded from an opening round
of 76 to shoot 68-67 and win by one shot over J.C. Snead. Rocky Thompson
captured the 1994 title in record fashion when he carded a course-record of
61 on the final day to knock off Ray Floyd by one shot. Fleisher captured
the first of his two Verizon titles in 2000 with three rounds in the 60s, as
he tied the tournament record of 200, set by Jim Colbert and George Archer in
1992. In 2003, Fleisher became the event's only multiple winner when he
outdueled Champions Tour all- time wins leader Hale Irwin down the stretch.
One shot off the pace with two holes to play, Fleisher birdied the tough 17th
from seven feet to take the lead, as Irwin three-putted from 20 feet away.
Fleisher has had amazing success at the TPC of Tampa Bay. In eight
appearances, Fleisher has two wins, two seconds, a third, a fifth and eight
In 2004, Mark McNulty became only the 11th player in history to title in his
first elder circuit start. Trailing by four shots after round one, McNulty,
from Zimbabwe, fashioned rounds of 65-68 to post a one-shot victory over Larry
Nelson. McNulty, who shot all three rounds in the 60s, became the first player
to win in his first Champions start since 2001 when Bobby Wadkins captured the
Long Island Classic. McNulty's three-day total of 200 tied the tournament mark
set by Jim Colbert and George Archer in 1992 and equaled by Fleisher in 2000.
Irwin captured the 2005 weather-shortened event by one stroke over Morris
Hatalsky and 2004 champion McNulty. Rain throughout the weekend reduced the
tournament to 36 holes and Irwin was forced to complete his second round on
Monday. Irwin finished at eight-under-par 134 for his second victory of four
in 2005 and gave him multiple wins for the 11th consecutive year, by far a
tour record. Irwin, who played the back nine first in the final round, began
his day on the 16th hole and one stroke behind Hatalsky. Irwin parred his
first two holes to remain in contention. He nearly holed his second shot at
the par-four 18th, as his shot stopped within two feet of the cup. He kicked
in that birdie putt to grab a share of the lead. Around the turn on the front
nine, Irwin moved atop the leaderboard with a birdie at the par-four third. He
parred his final six holes, including a tough two-putt par at the last, to
hang on for the win. It was the first time in event history that the
tournament was shortened by weather.
History was made in 2006, as 1976 U.S. Open winner Jerry Pate broke through
for his first Champions Tour title, edging out Hatalsky, Irwin and Mark James
by one shot for the win. Trailing by one shot heading into the final round,
Pate carded a six-under 66, which included a birdie putt on the last, as he
struck a five-iron to within 11 feet. After a birdie on the 14th, Pate moved
into a tie for the lead, but it was short-lived, as James took the lead with
birdies at 15 and 16. Irwin tied James with an eagle at 12 and a birdie at 14.
The par-three 17th became the downfall for both James and Irwin. James,
playing in the group ahead of Irwin with Pate, knocked his tee ball to 35
feet, but his uphill putt came up 10 feet short. James, the 1999 European
Ryder Cup captain, missed that putt to fall back to minus-10. Irwin pushed his
tee shot into the bunker on the right side. He tried to be too delicate with
his blast from the sand and the ball stopped 20 feet shy of the flag. The
three-time U.S. Open winner narrowly missed the par putt, but fell into a
four-way tie for first. James could only make par on the last and Irwin's 50-
foot attempt to tie just missed. Pate burst on to the golf scene with a win
at the 1976 U.S. Open. His last title came at The Players Championship in 1982
when, playing with an orange ball, he famously jumped in the lake off the 18th
green at the TPC at Sawgrass with then PGA Tour Commissioner Deane Beman and
course architect Pete Dye. After numerous operations on his shoulder over the
years, Pate recreated his signature dive from '82, when he dove headfirst into
the adjacent lake by the 18th green. Ironically, the five-iron which Pate
struck on the last, was the same number club he hit on the final hole at the
Atlanta Athletic Club when he won the 1976 U.S. Open.
REVIEW: The course starts off with a sensible par four, turning hard to the
right. A three-metal is needed off the tee, which must be placed left of the
fairway bunkers guarding the corner of the dogleg. Your approach shot with a
short-iron should set up a reasonable birdie chance, unless the pin is back
left. Stay right and leave yourself 15-feet with the worse case scenario..par.
The second is a straight-forward par-three. Nothing fancy, just hit the long
kidney-shaped green with a mid- to long-iron and move on.
The third hole is a straight par-four with water guarding the left side to
the green, however the landing area is an easy target, some 45 yards wide. A
mid-iron will be needed to dissect the green, which slopes from back to
front with three dervish bunkers and a chipping area protecting par.
Another severe dogleg to the right, the fourth stretches 427 yards from
the tips and requires a straight tee ball over the lake that guards the
right side. Bail out left features a pair of fairway bunkers, so accuracy is
key. The 40-yard deep green drops off severely in the back and by the way,
don't miss left, as two bunkers await.
One of the easiest holes on the course, the fifth is a must to birdie at just
332 yards. A long-iron or fairway-metal will set up a 100-yard pitch to a
shallow, but wide green. The putting surface is just 26 yards, the smallest on
The sixth gives the player another chance at birdie. The shortest par-three on
the course requires just a short-iron to a fairly simple green. If the winds
kicks up, then club selection will be difficult, otherwise, think birdie.
The only par-five on the front side is the seventh, a definite birdie hole
and maybe better. Players can reach this one in two, however, you must first
avoid the canal that runs along the left side, as the hole bends left and then
right towards the green. The putting surface slopes quickly from back to
front and depending upon pin placement, three-putting could offer a
Although just 414 yards in length, the eighth is one of the more
difficult on the course. The first obstacle is the tee shot, which must
carry over water towards the fairway which bends to the left. The hazard
continues all along the left side while trees guard the right. Next
objection is to find the green. Not an easy task when the surface is
protected by three bunkers and is very slender. Although the green is 50
yards in length, being on in two is a tough chore. If the pin is back, add
two clubs to your second shot.
A bear of a par-four awaits as you close out the front side. At 472 yards,
this is the longest two-shotter on the course. Bending slightly to the left,
water guards that entire side, so play out to the right side of the
fairway. Yes, you'll have a longer second shot, but you will be dry. The
green is protected by a grass bunker on the left and a surface that slopes
down to the front.
The back nine begins with a par-four with water all along the right side of
the fairway to the green. The landing area is wide enough, so chose wisely, as
cutting it too close to the right could spell doom. The green slopes from the
center to all three corners making a two-putt a difficult task.
The 11th is one of the finer par-threes on the course. Cypress trees
protect the entire right side while sand guards the left. This hole usually
plays into the wind, so picking the right stick will be key. Don't be ashamed
to make par.
Another reachable par-five, the 12th is just 495 yards. However, don't be
fooled, water is this holes defense with two separate lakes on the right. The
wind is no bargain either, as you play directly into the breeze. The
horseshoe-shaped green slopes from the center out to the sides and down
towards the water.
Similar to the fifth in length, the 13th is a simple par-four of just 345
yards. A wide fairway with water left and four bunkers protect the landing
zone, but this hole can be had. Although the green is elevated, a little wedge
will set up another birdie. The putting surface has a huge swale in the
center, so if the pin is up front, attack. If it's back, settle for par.
The longest hole on the course, the 14th is a brute of a par-five at 588
yards from the gold tees. Bending to the left, water protects the entire side
with a huge bunker, 75 yards in length at the bend. The layup area is wide,
so leave yourself a wedge to an elevated green that is 36 yards deep.
The putting surface slopes from back to front with three pot bunkers around
The final four holes at the TPC at Tampa Bay are top notch. We first start out
with the second-hardest hole on the course, the 15th. Bending to the left,
this 452-yarder requires accuracy and length. The entire left side is
protected by sand and water while the right side features trees and out of
bounds. The second shot with a long-iron must avoid the bunkers on both sides
of the green, and water on left. The green is the longest on the back side at
41 yards deep. When the pin is back, this one plays like a par-five.
The 16th is a straight away par-four with sand left and trees right. The
landing area is wide enough to catch a mis-hit off the tee, but it will
leave a long approach to a very wide green. Sand guards the right of the
surface while a chipping area flanks the left. Once again, par is a very
The longest par-three on the course, the 17th is a beaute at 217 yards.
Club selection is always a key, but is at its utmost importance here with an
11,000 square foot green. The right side is guarded by a pond while the
left is protected by a large bunker. Birdies are rare on this undulating
and large green.
The final hole of the course is a gem, stretching 456 yards from the back
tees. With water flanking the entire right side to the green, this dogleg
right is a great finishing hole. When playing into the wind, your tee shot
must be played down the left side to avoid the hazard and sand. A fairway-wood
or long-iron is next to a green which is very undulating and features a
chipping area, short and left. Finishing off your round with a par is a bonus.
"It's a beautiful golf course," commented Tom Weiskopf. "We don't play courses
in this kind of condition with this kind of challenge, for the most part. I
think the design is very fair. There is enough width and enough definition.
There is nothing tricky, nothing controversial. There's a lot of variety. You
hit a lot of different clubs. It's a good, straightforward kind of traditional
course." There's no question that Weiskopf hit it right on the head...Wide
fairways, large greens (averaging 6,400 square feet), variety and great
conditions. It's not the hardest course in the world, which makes it more
attractive to all types of golfers with numerous tees and generous greens.
There is plenty of water however, as the fairways weave through lakes and
natural wetlands - 19 in all - and around strategic bunkers that number 81.
Not to mention, the TPC at Tampa Bay also boasts an outstanding practice
facility along with a spacious clubhouse and pro shop. To make matters more
appealing, the price is right, especially from April through December at
under $100. How about that, a course the pros play that you can play. Just
what the doctor ordered.