OPELIKA, Ala. — In three weeks, some of the best golfers in the world will play the Barbasol championship in Opelika. It will be played at the Robert Trent Jones Grand National lake course. The course modifications are in place, so News 3 sports got a tour.
When players step on to the Lake Course at Grand National in Opelika, they will find an expertly manicured course. And shortly afterwards, they will have to figure out how to win the first Barbasol Championship.
“It is going to be the player that hits his wedges close, keep it in the fairways off the tee. He is going to be the one that scores and wins this tournament,” says course director Scott Gomberg.
He says they have lengthened the course, but the champion will be the one who is smartest around the greens.
“Every green is well bunkered. every green that you see has falloff on one side and bunkering on the other. The player that misses the green short, left, or right are going to be penalized by bunkers,” he says.
The PGA first started coming to the course in December. They’re responsible for all the pin placements.
The course has been lengthened quite a bit. They’ve also made more room for a couple of tee boxes like the one facing the sixth hole, a par three island green. One characteristic that all the holes share is the need for balance. A player has to assess how precise they can be based on how aggressive they play.
“If there was a player that wanted to try and be aggressive and try to hit the driver over this bunker, as you can see as you get up here, if he pulls it a little bit left he is in the water, if he pulls it a little bit right, he is in the trees,” Gomberg says.
With this being a public course, customers can be on it up until the Saturday before tournament week.