The 2015 Waste Management Phoenix Open returns to TPC Scottsdale in Scottsdale, Arizona, Jan. 29 – Feb. 1. ASGCA Past President Jay Morrish designed the course, which was constructed in 1986. He recalls his efforts – and others – and how he might have done things differently.
“I was a partner with Tom Weiskopf at the time the PGA Tour awarded us the contract to design the TPC Course in Scottsdale. I spent many hours with the Tour staff determining how the spectator mounding and traffic flow should occur on the contour plan. The property had about a 1% or 2% fall from one end to the other, so drainage also became a great issue.
“At the time, the last four holes created a great strategy: the 15th was a par 5 with water, which could be reached in two by a good player, the 16th was as solid par 3, the 17th was a reachable, frightening par 4 with water, which I knew would frequently determine the winner, and it has, and the 18th was a hole that demanded that you just try to hang on and make par. The new golf equipment and ball have destroyed the strategy of these holes! Number 15 is now reachable with a medium iron and number 18 is a drive and short iron.
“At that time, the Tour always assigned a regional touring pro to work with the architect. In this case it was Howard Twitty. This was indeed a great choice. Howard is bright, discerning and full of good ideas. He, Tom and I designed the strategy hole by hole, which I relayed to the plan. It is sad that when pundits, TV networks and TV hosts refer to the golf course, Howard is never mentioned. Nothing was ever shaped and finished without Howard’s input. Of course, the tour staff gave us some marching orders that we all had to follow – so it was a team effort from beginning to end.
“I personally had a different view of the gallery mounds than the tour. The golf course feels like an empty athletic stadium for 51 weeks of the year. We created all of those huge mounds that had to be shaped, irrigated, grassed and maintained forever. My thought was and still is that you could put up and take down a lot of grandstands for a lot less money than maintaining the huge mounds.”