This unorthodox suggested tee area is a Cool Golf Thing

Free-form golf opens up all sorts of possibilities.
The suggested tee area for the 5th hole at PGA National's new Staple short course is unorthodox: a bunker.

Tee boxes? We don't need no stinking tee boxes.

That's the basic creed at the new Staple Course at PGA National Resort & Spa. Architect Andy Staples, whose star is rising in the golf course design field on the strength of imaginative projects like Rockwind Community Links in New Mexico and his acclaimed renovation of Meadowbrook Country Club in Michigan, has coaxed a cheeky new 9-hole short course out of the corridors of the former 1st and 18th holes of the resort's tired, swampy Squire Course.

The Staple Course features holes that range from about 50 to more than 160 yards, depending on the whims of players, who are encouraged to think of them less as formal par 3s than simulations of approach shots to longer holes. The starting points of each hole are shaped like rumpled fairways, such that open-minded players will be able to test their skills off uphill, sidehill and downhill lies, approaching eccentric putting surfaces with all manner of tiers, swales and gathering contours.

For club members and resort guests who arm themselves with their putter, a wedge and a mid-iron (for bump-and-runs) in one hand and a drink in the other, it will be delirious fun when it opens later this spring.

Choice and discovery are the order of the day here, but if you'll permit Staples one suggestion as to how you might enjoy the course, avail yourself of a flat spot in a flashed-up bunker as the starting point on the 75-yard 5th hole. If you clip your wedge shot correctly, you'll clear a canal and find the rumpled putting surface. Then you can berate your buddies as they give it a try.

Architect Andy Staples surveys the undulating fifth green at his new short course at PGA National.
March 22, 2019
300 words or less, every Friday.

Tim Gavrich is a Senior Writer for GolfPass. Follow him on Twitter @TimGavrich and on Instagram @TimGavrich.
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This unorthodox suggested tee area is a Cool Golf Thing