The DP World Tour's flagship event of the season, the BMW PGA Championship, once again returns to Wentworth West Course this week.
The event welcomes one of its strongest ever fields with all 12 of the 2023 European Ryder Cup team pegging up in the BMW PGA Championship, including Rory McIlroy, Jon Rahm and newly-crowned PGA Tour FedEx Cup champion Viktor Hovland.
Wentworth has dished out plenty of birdies over the past five years, certainly more so than in 2016 and 2017 when the winning scores were 9-under par (Chris Wood) and 11-under par (Alex Noren) respectively.
You can expect more of the same this week.
Last 5 winning BMW PGA scores:
- 2018: Francesco Molinari -17
- 2019: Danny Willett -20
- 2020: Tyrrell Hatton -19
- 2021: Billy Horschel -19
- 2022: Shane Lowry -17
The West Course underwent a multi-million refurbishment in the summer of 2018.
All the greens were reseeded and nine were remodelled.
They are now among the best in the world - and even the players say so.
This year marks the 100th year of Wentworth Club.
In this feature, we take a closer look at where the BMW PGA is likely to be won and lost.
To help us, DP World Tour pro and friend of GolfMagic Gary Boyd gives us his take on how to tackle every hole at Wentworth West:
Hole 1: A strong opening hole that requires an accurate drive between the two bunkers. Some players will be hitting 3-wood off the tee so that they can’t reach the left-hand bunker, which will then leave just under 200 yards into a pretty generous green that slopes gently from back to front. The longer hitters will let rip with the driver, trying to get to the bottom of the hill which will ultimately leave a shorter shot. However, players will not be able to see the bottom of the flag from there, which can prove problematic. A real tough par-4 opener, especially when you consider it plays as a par-5 for the members. Par a great score.
Hole 2: The shortest par-3 on the course measuring just 154 yards. You hit your tee shot over a big ravine, so distance control is always the key here. Players will be looking at giving themselves a decent birdie chance with a well-struck shot, but anything that comes up slightly short and right will leave a devilish little bunker shot to get up and down for par.
Hole 3: This hole will be no doubt be playing one of the hardest holes during the week. At some 470 yards all uphill from the tee shot, players will be aiming down the left half of the fairway to avoid the three big bunkers down the right hand side. The second shot is uphill into a green that has a big slope that runs through the middle of it which always makes it hard to get your ball close. Players will definitely take a par here.
Hole 4: One of the best birdie chances on the entire course, with just about everyone in the field able to get home in two shots on this par-5 hole with a solid tee shot that plays blind and downhill. Players will be looking to shape their ball from right to left to hold the fairway off the tee and leave themselves a good chance of hitting the green with their second shot. With a good tee shot here, most players will be left with a long iron or hybrid off a slight downhill lie into a green that is below them, sloping hard from right to left. Any ball that is leaked slightly right will be swallowed up by two bunkers, leaving a very delicate shot on a severely contoured green. You will see plenty of eagles here this week.
Hole 5: A tricky par-3 measuring 203 yards. Players never see the bottom of the flag from the tee with the green 44 yards long and contouring from the left with a big slope in the middle that will take the ball to the back of the green once you get over it. Depending on where the flag is players will be looking at using this to get the ball close especially to a back right flag. Birdie is possible here with a decent iron shot, but you will happily take your par and move to the next.
Hole 6: After a little walk up the hill to the tee, players will be looking at hitting their tee shot around 275 yards avoiding the left-hand bunker which will leave them a short iron into the green to give themselves a great chance of birdie. The green slopes quite viciously from right to left, but players will be looking to make more birdies than pars here during the week.
Hole 7: Another blind tee shot that goes downhill to the fairway, but players will be looking at hitting their tee shots no more than 260 yards to ensure they play short of the ditch that runs across the fairway. This will leave them a short approach shot into the green that has a big tier in the middle and slopes heavily from back to front. When there is a front pin, players will be looking to pitch their ball past the flag and spin it back close, but when there is a tough back pin, players will be trying to control their spin so that it doesn’t spin all the way back to the front of the green leaving them an incredibly testing two-putt for par.
Hole 8: With a green that is 37 yards long but only around 15 yards wide, and water hugging tight to the left side of the green, most players are looking to leave themselves a short iron into this green. The key here is to hit your ball over the cross walk but short of the water before the green. Accuracy is vital here as any tee shot leaked right will have tree trouble, while left is absolute no-go zone. This hole is a birdie chance with a solid tee shot in the right position, but a big score is also waiting here. You will be more than happy with four pars here during the week.
Hole 9: One of the tougher holes on the West Course, once again placing a premium on accuracy from the tee. A tough hole from the outset with bunkers placed in the perfect spots for a slightly pushed or pulled drive. If the player finds the fairway, it's a generous green but any ball that is pushed right will roll down off the green down a slope leaving a tough up and down to save par.
Hole 10: A testing par-3 that is lined by trees right and left into a green that slopes from left to right. Most players will be trying to use those contours to work the ball close, but any tee shot that is slightly pulled left will leave a delicate chip onto the green that runs away from them. I know I'm more than happy with par here!
Hole 11: A real birdie chance at this relatively short par-4 playing from right to left. Players will be looking at giving themselves a good chance of birdie here. The tee shot must be placed between two bunkers from the tee, leaving them a shot up the hill to a raised green with numerous slopes from back to front. Controlling the spin with a short iron or wedge here is key to get the ball close. You will see tons of birdies here during the week, and possibly the odd eagle-two.
Hole 12: One of the iconic tee shots at Wentworth over the years that needs to be hit between the three pine trees that guard the beginning of the fairway. Measuring 531 yards from the tee, the perfect line for players is to keep their ball down the right-hand side to leave them a clear shot into the green. The tee shot needs to be plum centre, otherwise you may find a watery grave in the ditch either side of the fairway. Any tee shot that is sent slightly left will more than likely need a second shot that has to be shaped around the trees to clear the ditch in front of the green. Otherwise the sensible shot will be play to chip out and play short of the trouble. Out of bounds lurks to the left of the green, too, so there is so much to consider on this one. You will see tons of birdies here and plenty of eagles too, but you will also likely see some scorecard wreckers as well. It all really depends on the tee shot, as that is the toughest shot on the hole.
Hole 13: A really strong par-4 where the drive is all important. Players must keep their ball down the right side to give themselves a clearer view of the green on this dogleg hole that sweeps from right to left. Anything left of the tee will either be in the bunker or blocked out to the green by the trees, leaving a chip shot out to the right and short of the green. You will take par here all day.
Hole 14: The last par-3 on the course and arguably the most difficult for club selection with the tee shot playing all uphill to the green. I've also found here that you can hardly feel any of the wind at the bottom of the hill, which makes it even tougher to gauge distance control. Any ball that comes up short will potentially run off the front of the green halfway down the hill or leave a difficult bunker shot. Any shot that goes long will face a delicate chip shot with the green running viciously from back to front.
14th hole at Wentworth, the 180 yard uphill par 3. Sure to be a great atmosphere on this one all week pic.twitter.com/N6akELEDIR— Danny Evans (@DannyevansDanny) September 7, 2021
Hole 15: Probably the toughest hole on the golf course measuring 489 yards with a ditch that runs all down the right-hand side of the fairway. Players will be hitting down the left-hand side of the fairway here to open up the green, but any wider than that and Wentworth residents' gardens will be in danger. A small entrance into the green slopes from right to left, so there is never an easy putt left here for the players even when they do find the green. Players will bite your hand off if they play this hole in level par for the week.
Hole 16: A shortish par-4 that doglegs from right to left where players will be needing to avoid the four bunkers that line the fairway. They will then be looking at being aggressive with only a short iron into a green that is surrounded by bunkers, but anything that goes long will be an almost certain bogey.
Hole 17: The start of a consecutive par-5 finish to the house. This one measures 610 yards with the tee shot playing downhill to a fairway that slopes hard from left to right. Players will be looking to hug their ball tight down the left-hand side to hold the fairway, but if you go too far left here then you will be reloading from the tee. If you bail out right, you will be blocked out by the trees and in the rough. The second shot is blind here so commitment to your line is crucial with a hanging lie where you need to move the ball from right to left to have any chance of hitting the green. With OB all the way down the left and trees flanking the right, there is a real premium on good course management here. Yes, it's a scoring chance as it's a par-5, but you will still see lots of bogeys and worse here during the week.
Hole 18: The famous par-5 18th hole that has always brought drama to the PGA over the years. Players will be looking at shaping their tee shots from left to right around the corner, but a shot that stays straight will find one of the two bunkers which will then almost certainly be a lay up. Players that find the fairway will be faced with a small target to aim into with two big trees short right of the green, or they can take the green on but will need to clear the lake that guards the front of the green and the entire left side. It's a great finishing hole, and I think you'll see anything from a three to an eight (or worse!) here during the week.
Have you ever played Wentworth West Course? What do you consider to be the best hole at Wentworth? Who do you think will win the BMW PGA? Share your thoughts and comments over on the GolfMagic social media channels.