There are a handful of golf courses utilized year in and year out on the PGA Tour. Some are incredibly difficult and will expose anyone who isn’t on top of their game. Others turn into a festival of birdies and eagles as soon as Thursday morning arrives.
For the purpose of this post, let’s focus on the latter.
Let’s take a look at seven of the easiest golf courses on the PGA Tour – specifically highlighting ones that are part of the annual rotation.
TPC Deere Run
John Deere Classic
Grinding out pars might go a long way in your club championship back home. At TPC Deere Run, it means getting lapped by the field and missing the cut by a handful.
Players know they’ll need to reach at least 20-under-par to have a chance at winning certain events, and the John Deere Classic is one of those instances. Case in point – from 2009-2019, the winner shot at least -18 every year. The average winning score was close to than 22-under-par.
With subtle rough and no death-defying hazards to speak of, it’s no wonder Paul Goydos – a guy who hits it about 265 yards on a good day – shot 59 in the opening round of the 2010 edition. That same year Steve Stricker was a mesmerizing 25-under-par through the first three rounds (60-66-62).
La Quinta CC
They call it dome golf.
Those who head to Palm Springs in the middle of January to take part in the CareerBuilder Challenge generally get treated to playing in perfect weather. They’re also playing tracks that aren’t too long and are in immaculate shape, and here’s the big kicker.
The Pro-Am format of this event means the pin locations are set up much easier than a typical PGA Tour event. It also means the greens are a tad bit slower.
Add everything up and you wind up with a whole bunch of red numbers.
Perhaps the easiest course of the bunch (three courses are used to host the golf tournament) is La Quinta Country Club. Here’s a par-72 track featuring four reachable par 5s that measures under 7,100 yards. To keep things in perspective, Quail Hollow Club is a par 71 and clocks in at 7,600 yards.
I’d highlight the 60 Phil Mickelson shot here in 2019 to kick off the tournament, but I’d rather shed light on the 13 birdies and five pars Adam Hadwin made en route to tallying 59 here on Saturday in 2017.
Torrey Pines (North Course)
Farmers Insurance Open
While the South Course at Torrey Pines is among the hardest golf courses on the PGA Tour, it’s sister track, the North Course is much more benign. In fact, it’s habitually rated as one of the easiest courses on the PGA Tour – even after the renovations were completed by Tom Weiskopf in 2016.
Keep in mind, this is a municipal property open to the public year-round, and Weiskopf was fully aware of his clientele before he made any changes.
“The statistic I’ve always designed against is this: There are 25 million golfers in the U.S. as defined by the National Golf Foundation. Ninety-two percent of the 25 million golfers do not break 90. Fifty percent of the 92 percent don’t break 100.…. One half of one percent, assuming they play by the rules, break 80. It’s a very hard game.”
To get a glimpse at just how easy the North Course is compared to other PGA Tour venues, know that the average score here during the 2019 Farmers Insurance Open was 69.84. Even tipped out, none of the par-5s breach 560 yards, plus there are two par-4s measuring under 340.
Players only get one crack at the North Course each year at the Farmers, and every single person knows that’s the day they need to take advantage and post a low number.
Kapalua Resort (Plantation Course)
Sentry Tournament of Champions
On paper, one might wonder why the Plantation Course at Kapalua Resort always yields such low scores. It stretches to 7,596 yards and it’s always blustery, yet guys light the place up and seem to shoot a million under par every year.
Ernie Els won here in 2003 totaling 31-under-par for the four days, while Jordan Spieth exhibited a 30-under-par performance on his way to hoisting the trophy in 2016.
What makes the Plantation Course so playable – and downright easy for the top players in the world – are the massively large fairways. The greens are also huge and have backboards and slopes all over the place to help gather balls toward the flag.
Keeping on theme with what allows players to tear up this golf course is a host of downhill tee shots. For example, #17 is a 552-yard par-4 that we see guys hitting 7 and 8 irons into. The par-5 18th is 677 yards on the card yet nearly everyone in the field can get home in two shots if they play the hole correctly.
This “winners-only” event takes place in Maui at the start of every calendar year, and don’t expect the low scores to go away anytime soon.
PGA West Nicklaus Tournament Course
So maybe the Nicklaus Tournament Course at PGA West isn’t quite as easy as La Quinta, but it’s awfully close. That’s not just hearsay or my personal opinion either, that’s based on that data.
The average score in relation to par at the Nicklaus Tournament Course at the 2019 CareerBuilder Challenge was -2.942. Of the 49 golf courses used on the tour that season, only La Quinta’s was lower (-3.282)
I mentioned the pristine weather and easy conditions players face when they arrive at this golf tournament, and the Golden Bear designed this course in a way that breeds excitement. But NT Course at PGA West being among the easiest golf courses on the PGA Tour goes back to the way the tour officials set up the layout for this particular event.
The amateurs who partake consist of celebrities and athletes who coughed up a lot of money to grab a tee time. The last thing they want to do is get embarrassed on national television getting beat up by a brutally difficult golf course.
Shriners Hospitals for Children Open
As a Las Vegas native and longtime member at TPC Summerlin, I can attest first-hand how ripe this place is for the picking. Converting the third hole into a par four makes scoring on the front nine a tad-bit harder, but the truth is, birdie opportunities lurk at every turn.
All three of the par-5s can be reached with an iron, and the par-4 15th is drivable with less than a driver for a large chunk of the field. It helps that the superintendent always ensures the fairways will be rock hard during tournament time – which is why I simply ignore the distances I see players hitting their tee shots.
Heck, I’d hit it 345 too if my ball landed on cement runway!
The Shriners Hospitals for Children Open was transformed from 90 holes to 72 in 2004, although players know they still need to keep their foot on the gas pedal if they plan on getting into contention. From 2005-2015, the winning scored landed between -19 and -25 every year.
If you shot 69-69 here in 2019, you packed your bags and went home because you didn’t even make the cut.
Detroit Golf Club
Rocket Mortgage Classic
Detroit Golf Club is an awesome track designed by Donald Ross that established way back in 1899. With that being said, it’s too easy of a club to be considered as one of the best golf courses in the world.
Players looking for a tour stop that’ll help boost their confidence ought to think about heading to Motor City for this summer event. Located just a few miles north of the Detroit River and the downtown scene, this private oasis started hosting the Rocket Mortgage Classic in 2018.
And so far it has been nothing but one big party filled with a bunch of birdies and eagles.
An unheralded pro named Nate Lashley cruised around to the tune of shooting 25-under par to win the inaugural event – two shots better than the -23 score Bryson DeChambeau posted on his way to winning at Detroit Golf Club in 2019.
In other words, when you come to a place and shot 20-under-par and don’t even sniff the trophy, it’s safe to say it gets classified as one of the easiest golf courses on the PGA Tour.
As a former Division I collegiate golfer, Michael Wynn loves writing about golf. He's also an expert in most of America's most popular sports, writing extensively for GamblingSites.com on football, basketball, and baseball.
Michael's a Las Vegas native and has been with the company since 2017.