Golf Digest once had a golfer tournament where they took the four worst “avid” golfers and had the group play 18 holes against each other at the TPC at Sawgrass. Three of them ran out of balls at the 17th. The one remaining player putted his way around the pond including going up the causeway with a putter in order to preserve his last ball so that he could finish and win. Is that really good golf?
The 17th at the TPC at Sawgrass may be one of the greatest spectator holes in tournament golf, but it may also be the single worst architectural concept of all time since it creates a situation where a player may not be able to finish a round due to the absolute nature of this hole. This is a hole with no recovery options, unless the island is expanded beyond the green to include additional surroundings, but I’ve played a couple of those in high wind and even the additional area does not overcome the fact that there is really nowhere to miss.
Every shot becomes either land or lost. The approach shot is a forced carry and there is no alternative route or safe play for the weakest players to reach the green. A player could easily find themselves in a position where they can not finish the round and that sucks. My personal belief is that recovery is a key component of the game and this concept has no recovery and no options, therefore its bad design.