Construction began last month on the temporary stadium that will surround the par-3 16th hole at TPC Scottsdale during the Waste Management Phoenix Open in February.
The operative word, temporary, brings to mind this question: Why wouldn’t TPC Scottsdale build a permanent stadium there, thus allowing public golfers the opportunity to walk through the tunnel between the 15th green and 16th tee and into the stadium? Better yet, include a bar and grill and allow the customers to voice their displeasure at poor tee shots, as they raucously do during the tournament.
Well, there are good reasons not to do it.
“A couple things make it really, really challenging,” Brad Williams, general manager at TPC Scottsdale, said. “One is shade, the angle of the sun, this time of year especially. The 16th plays west to east. When we have that structure up, a good portion of 16 is in the shade throughout the day. We’d have a hard time growing grass if the stadium was there year round.”
One year recently, part of the cart path had been submerged in water and was frozen over for about a week, Williams said. Though the temperature was in the 60s during the day, the area received no sun and the ice was slow to melt.
“Number two, if it became permanent, there’d be a whole new list of code requirements,” Williams said. “They’d probably include restrooms and elevators.”
There you have it. And once the temporary stadium is disassembled and returned to storage, the 16th is rendered a ho-hum par 3.
“It’s pretty funny when guests play in the summer time when nothing is going on,” Williams said. “They say, ‘That’s it? That’s 16? Really?’”