TPC Scottsdale Ready for Major Upgrade

Now that the 2014 Waste Management Phoenix Open has been completed, with Kevin Stadler nailing down his first-ever PGA Tour title, plans are all set for a major remodel of the tournament site, the TPC Scottsdale Stadium course in Arizona.

Tom Weiskopf has been hired to redesign the 27-year old course, with the $15 million project ($9 million of which will be devoted to on-course changes) focusing on adding interest to the relatively flat greens, as well as improving strategy and landscaping.

Other elements include upgrades to the irrigation system, turf and cart paths. Weiskopf, whose plans will be implemented by the construction company, Landscapes Unlimited, says almost all the greens will get minor re-contouring, and three greens will be moved. The bunkers and sand will be replaced, and the clubhouse renovated.

Fortunately, fans won't see many changes to the 15th, 16th and 17th holes when the work is completed prior to the 2015 Phoenix Open. The par-3 16th is, of course, the rowdiest hole in golf with its surrounding grandstands packed with vocal and well-fueled spectators.

"TPC Scottsdale was part of former PGA Tour commissioner Deane Beman's vision for a chain of Tournament Players' Clubs," explained Chris Roderick, Weiskopf's manager. "The site was a retention basin for the city, and totally flat. It was very stark, and there was a shortage of cash for landscaping at the time, so it isn't as visually attractive as it might have been."

The project has been in the works for several years but was held up by the differing roles of the city of Scottsdale - which owns it, the PGA Tour's TPC division - which leases and operates it, and the Tour's competition committee - which sets it up for the annual Phoenix Open.

"You do end up with a lot of different ideas from each," added Roderick. "But around two years ago, the plans came to fruition, and the city approved the funding, so we were able to start the design phase a year ago, with a view to starting work straight after the 2014 tournament."

Because of the par-71 course's relatively small footprint, only 70 yards of length will be added. The biggest part of the remodel is adding new contours to the putting surfaces. "The greens in general will be more rolling and challenging," noted Roderick.

A number of open drains are to be turned into culverts. "For the resort golfer, the course will be both more playable and much prettier," Roderick said.

The Stadium course is part of a 36-hole facility; the other layout is called Champions. Weiskopf and his then architect-partner, Jay Morris, were the original architects of the Stadium course, which debuted in 1987.

Weiskopf is happy with how Stadium has held up over the years. In addition to the 16th, he crafted one of his signature short and driveable par-4s, the 17th. "It's more than just making it reachable," he told Golfweek's Matt Ginella. "It has to be a challenge off the tee and from the spot where players will lay-up."

The 71-year-old, who racked up 16 PGA Tour victories - including the 1973 British Open - before becoming a golf architect responsible for 66 courses worldwide, is also proud of how TPC Scottsdale annually boasts the biggest crowds in the game.

"I would've liked to play in front of 500,000 fans," he told Ginella.