This week the PGA Tour heads to Detroit Golf Club for the Rocket Mortgage Classic. It doesn’t sound familiar for a reason as it is a new event on Tour and the first in the state of Michigan since the 2009 Buick Open. The first thing this means we will toss out Course History in the model and will concentrate much more on form coming into this event. The other piece of the puzzle is figuring out how the course will play and what stats we should concentrate on and what types of players can succeed here. Let’s take a look at the course.
The Detroit Golf Club is a 36-hole property with the North and South courses, both designed by Donald Ross, being the center of attention this week. The grounds crew/team has meshed the two together and added some new tee boxes to lengthen the course and it will play as a 7,340 yard Par 72 for the event. The challenge off the tee comes with some tight driving holes combined with strategic bunkering in landing zones. This gives golfers options whether they want to be aggressive and fly the bunkers or lay back with a 3-wood or driving iron and ensure a fairway but have a longer approach shot. The other challenge off the tee which will probably force a lot of “less than driver” strategies is the rough. In a video via the Course Reports on YouTube, Jake Mendoza(head superintendent) talks about growing the rough out from it’s regular 2.5” height up to 3 - 3.5” to start the event with no plans on cutting throughout the weekend. That is longer than tour average and could create some tough lies if golfers are missing the fairway.
Once finding the fairway, golfers will be looking at approach shots with a ton of varying distances with four Par 4’s under 400 yards, four over 450 yards, and two right in the middle. Then add in those using driver vs. those laying back with woods or irons. Because of this, I will be looking at overall Stokes Gained: Approach and Proximity numbers and also adding Rough Proximity to my model with a driving accuracy around 55% projected.
The greens at Detroit Golf Club are slightly smaller than Tour average and are a combination of Poa Annua mixed with around 15-20% Bentgrass. While they are on the smaller side, many of the greens are uniquely undulated and the crew is also cutting them to achieve speeds of 12-12.5 on the stimpmeter. All in all, they are going to be running very fast. With the combination of tough fairways to hit and smaller green complexes with undulation, I would expect the average GIR to be lower than average which will put emphasis on Scrambling and Strokes Gained: Around the Green.
To see an excellent hole by hole flyover of the course, check out the video below:
*Stats from my sheet and Fantasy National*
Strokes Gained: Approach
Fairways Gained/Strokes Gained: Off the Tee
Strokes Gained: Around the Green
Par 4 Scoring