At Nextgengolf, our business is running college and young professional golf tournaments. As a team, one of our favorite things to do, when we're not running golf tournaments, is to go to PGA TOUR events. As The PGA TOUR would say, these guys are good! The Travelers Championship is the highlights of my summer because the course layout makes for a great viewing experience, the signature holes provide drama at the end of the course, and the time of the year always ensures it is great weather.
1) Course Layout
The Travelers Championship is hosted at TPC River Highlands in Cromwell, CT. The way the course is laid out makes it a fantastic host for a PGA Tour event because it is compact and easy to navigate but also has some spots where you can escape the crowds.
If you're looking for a quiet spot on the course to watch the different groups pass, we recommend heading over to holes 12-14 or holes 6-8. Both of the groups of holes are tucked away from the main entrance and signature holes. Personally, my strategy for half of the day is usually to find a good beer cart by one of these holes and settle in for a few hours of golf relaxation.
If you're a PGA TOUR fan who rather be close to drama and enjoy being part of the bigger crowds, the signature holes are the place for you!
2) Signature Holes
The most exciting and dramatic stretch of holes at TPC River Highlands is holes 15-18. When asked about these holes, PGA TOUR Professional Stewart Cink claimed, “four of the most exciting finishing holes in a group anywhere in the world.” Hole 15 is a challenging but short 296 yard par 4 that includes water to the left, sand to the right, and hundreds of spectators. It's fun to watch 15 because you get to see the players either drive to the green and have an eagle attempt or miss trying and be forced to hit a miracle shot to save par. From this same spot that you're able to watch 15, you can also watch players tee off from the scenic par 3 hole 16. The shot requires a healthy mid-iron shot for the players and there is no room to miss because they are shooting over water and there is no forgiveness behind the green.
Once the players get through these two nightmare holes, they are faced with Par 4 hole 17. Players are forced to hit an accurate tee shot due to the water to the right and challengingly placed bunker to the left. After watching them either miss or hit this shot, hole 17 viewers get to watch the most fun approach shot on the course. Players are required to hit over the water to the small and challenging green with the biggest group of spectators on the course watching intently. Finally, to finish up the back 9, players play the scenic and exciting hole 18 surrounded by the biggest crowd on the course.
3) Time of Year
There is no better time of year than the end of June to host The Travelers Championship. The PGA TOUR golf season is in full swing and this year the Travelers Championship will be the following weekend after the US Open. Before the intense heat of July and August confront New England, The Travelers Championship usually takes advantage of the perfect weather to enjoy a golf tournament. You will have to bring your hat and sunscreen but you probably won't have to worry about suffering through the heat and humidity that would be the case in July and August.
**Tom Thrift is a PGA TOUR fan and Business Development Manager at Nextgengolf