Remodelling work is under way at TPC Twin Cities in Blaine, Minnesota, in advance of its debut on the main PGA Tour next year.
The course, which has hosted the 3M Championship on the PGA Tour Champions schedule since 1991, will host the 3M Open on the main tour from 2019.
A team from Arnold Palmer Design Company, the firm that originally designed the course in 1997, will work with Hollis Cavner, CEO of Pro Link Sports and organiser of the 3M Championship, Steve Wenzloff, senior vice president of design at PGA Tour Design Services, and professional golfer Tom Lehman to introduce a series of changes to increase the level of challenge offered by the course.
“Even though a successful Champions event has been held there for the past several years, with 20 years of technology advancements the game has charged forward, so the course needs tweaking to stay current and match today’s PGA Tour competitive standards,” said Brandon Johnson, senior golf course architect at Arnold Palmer Design Company.
“Tournament set up and operations standards expand when hosting PGA Tour events, so accommodating increased hospitality needs, spectators, equipment trucks and a full field event is also being considered.
“The extra wide fairways – 50-60 yards on average – while extremely forgiving for the membership, do little to challenge the skill level of a PGA Tour professional,” said Johnson. “Fairway lines will be strategically adjusted to place a higher premium on driving accuracy while minimising the advantage disparity between long and shorter hitters.
“It has been interesting thinking through adjustments that will still accommodate typical high wind conditions and also utilise the contours to affect a player’s lie or stance on a particular shot, angle of approach or the roll out of the ball, within the PGA Tour’s setup perimeters.”
Some tees and bunkers will be repositioned, added and/or realigned.
The most significant changes will take place on the eighteenth hole. “While the card stated it was a 582-yard par five, it did not play to its true yardage,” said Johnson. “The fairway was also the widest on the golf course at approximately 80 yards wide at the landing area.
“With those two elements out of balance, and par fives historically playing the easiest on tour, a strategic change was in order, so we seized the opportunity to move the tees to a position where the hole could play to its true yardage. We are expanding the lake fronting the green to engage the new tee shot and use that fill material, glacier sand, to cap other areas of work.”
Landforms close to the eighteenth tees will be expanded to allow spectators to watch holes 14, 17 and 18.
“Lake adjustments will occur on hole six to put a premium on accuracy,” said Johnson. “For the second shot on the par five, it will create more thought in executing the aggressive shot to the green or a more conservative lay up for position.
“Initial conceptual planning generated a larger scope of work than what we are undertaking in this initial phase,” said Johnson. “We hope this will be the first of a few phases in updating the course to PGA Tour competition standard while enhancing strategic challenges and decisions for the pros and current membership. It will be very interesting to review ShotLink data after the first year’s event, as it will be a great tool going forward to help inform future enhancements.”
Construction work is being handled by lead shaper Jimmy Stevens, plus teams from Duininck Golf Construction and Arnt Construction.
The project team began work the day after this year’s 3M Championship finished and expect to be completed by 15 October, so that the remodelled course is ready for the PGA Tour event in July 2019.