Learn about the course for the Valspar Championship and what types of golfers are likely to succeed on it for PGA DFS.
Before jumping into the details of this week’s PGA Tour Event, I wanted to mention a timeline for all PGA DFS items that you can expect each and every week from Frank and myself:
- Monday: Course/Event Preview
- Tuesday: Cash article, GPP article, Cheat Sheet, PGA DFS Stream
- Wednesday: Chat room (8pm EST) to answer questions
Without further ado, let’s jump into this week’s event:
Event: Valspar Championship
Dates: Thursday April 29th through Sunday May 2nd
Course: Innisbrook (Copperhead)
Field: 156 players
Cut: 65 and ties
Past Winners: Casey (2019), Casey (2018), Hadwin (2017), Schwartzel (2016), Spieth (2015)
- Thursday/Friday: 2-6pm EST (Golf Channel) plus PGA Tour Live
- Saturday/Sunday: 1-3 pm EST (Golf Channel), 3pm-6pm EST (NBC) plus PGA Tour Live
- The Copperhead course at Innisbrook is a par 71 measuring in at over 7,300 yards.
- The course features:
- 4 Par 5s (544, 594, 559 and 579 yards):
- Holes 1 (544) and 11 (559) will be reachable by the entire field. The other two par 5s will only be reachable by the longer hitters in the field.
- The 4 par 5s are the only holes that historically have an under par scoring average on this course.
- 5 Par 3s (172, 218, 187, 218, 189)
- Par 3 scoring will be very important this week as these are not easy par 3s
- 9 Par 4s:
- <400 yards: 2
- 400-450 yards: 7
- 451+ yards: 0
- You will see less than driver off the tee on a lot of the par 4s as there are doglegs, tight landing areas and precision/accuracy is needed off the tee.
- 4 Par 5s (544, 594, 559 and 579 yards):
- Off the Tee:
- This is one of the few events each year where accuracy/precision off the tee are more important than distance. As such, almost any type of player has a chance to contend this week whether short or long off the tee.
- The way the course is designed, there a lot of doglegs, angles and narrowing of landing areas that force players to hit their tee balls in the same spot regardless of how long they are off the tee. As such, the distance advantage is muted this week which means that it is really difficult to gain strokes off the tee. The shorter hitters tend to be more accurate so they will keep the ball in play still while the longer hitters will club down to hit either 3 wood or a long iron on a lot of the par 4s.
- Approach Shots:
- This will be the most important stat of the week. In particular, you will see a large number of approach shots from 150+ yards. All 5 par 3s are 172+ yards and a lot of par 4s setup for layups off the tee leaving players 150-175 yards into the greens.
- This time of year in Florida we typically see a fair amount of wind which places a larger emphasis on iron game as players who hit their irons more solid are able to better control their ball in the wind.
- The greens this week are small Bermuda greens that will run about 12-12.5 on the stimpmeter (slightly above PGA Tour average). These greens do have a little bit of Poa in them which means they can be difficult to putt on in the afternoon.
- Around the Green:
- With the greens being smaller and players facing a lot of shots beyond 150 yards into the greens, we will see a larger percentage of greens missed. As such, there will be some importance to being able to get up and down around the green. One item to note is that greenside bunker play is slightly more important this week than most based upon historical metrics.
What type of player typically succeeds here?
- I see one clear path to victory at this course:
- Keep it in play off the tee (whether with driver for a short hitter or 3 wood for a longer hitter) and be above average from 150+ yards with irons. Player must be able to be patient and navigate around the course making a lot of pars and picking a couple birdies off when the opportunity presents itself. An above average short game may help a player win this week but it won’t be the main reason. This is a ballstriker’s paradise.
What areas of a player’s game will be tested the most this week?
- Largest emphasis:
- Strokes Gained Approach (largest emphasis 150+ yards)
- Par 3 Scoring
- Par 5 Scoring
- Strokes Gained Around the Green
- Smaller emphasis:
- Strokes Gained Putting (preference to Bermuda)
- Strokes Gained Off the Tee
Check back in on Tuesday for the Cash article, GPP article, Cheat Sheet and DFS Stream.