When it comes to this year’s Winthrop Gold Course changes, USDGC officials have worked to bring more visibility to fans and film crews and eliminate OB rope in favor of natural obstacles where applicable. Rest assured the Winthrop Gold Course still provides a fair, stern test to the game’s greatest players and the ooh’s and ahh’s for those watching them.
Here is a quick rundown of this year’s notable changes. This is not a complete listing of changes or rules. For a hole-by-hole analysis of the ground rules look to the 2016 Caddy Book Draft.
Winthrop Course rules are largely intact from last year.
Hole 1: Easiest hole no more? The tee has been moved directly back about six feet. Also, a second pin position was added to the left of the current pin.
Hole 3: The woods are no longer a safe place. Along with the hazard rope on the left side of the fairway from last year, hazard now continues behind the basket and along the right side woods.
Hole 4: A little left off the tee? No problem. The hazard rope on the left side of the fairway has been removed.
Hole 5: The disc’s final voyage to the green will have to sail over a bit more water now. The Mando pole (Mando left) has been moved closer to the green.
Hole 6: Beware of the red roped shaped bean. The roped area to the right of the green changes from hazard to OB. All OB throws are limited to previous lie or drop spot with a one stroke penalty. While facing their hero putt, players opting for the drop spot, which is 47-feet from the pin, will notice its lovely view of the beach green and nearby lake.
Hole 8: Enjoy the new spacious tee, which has been scooted back about 20 feet. Also, hazard rope on the right side of the fairway leading to the baseball stadium has been removed.
Hole 9: Long bombers rejoice, another go-for-it hole. Both the tee and the elevated pin have been relocated away from the road to where the final result is a 447-foot crowd pleaser. Hazard rope surrounds the fairway and the green.
Hole 11: Challenge the fairway: OB has been changed to hazard allowing competitors to attack the Gold Course's most challenging par 4.
Hole 13: Winthrop’s hardest hole received a major tweak. Near the edge of the Winthrop Recreation Complex is where the new Hole 13 tee lies, which is about 75-feet to the left of the old tee. A safe throw off the tee will land in the long but thin strand of land between the hazard line on the left and the road on the right (similar to the fairway used in previous years). Subsequent safe throws must also land in this area or land safely in the island green. Players landing left of the hazard line may throw from that lie with a one stroke penalty. Any OB throw in the road, a player must return to the previous lie with a one stroke penalty.
Hole 15: No need for OB rope here. A triple mando post was erected about 260 feet off the tee to funnel throws to the fairway’s gut, eliminating the use of more than a 1,000 feet of OB and hazard rope.
Hole 18: What a way to finish! At 399 feet from the dock tee pad, the new pin setting, which will be used for the first and final rounds, is well within visibility of fans lined up near the Pro Shop. Fans watching the final hole, which changes to a par 3 on those days, should see some early fireworks there.