An aerial view of the 11th green at TPC Southwind. Ben Jared
The PGA Tour playoffs begin this week, with the 70 golfers who qualified off the regular-season points list competing in the FedEx St Jude Championship. As the top-ranked players head to TPC Southwind just outside of Memphis, a few words of warning for them: First, be prepared for triple-digit heat. Second, be prepared to be overwhelmed by barbecue options. Third, be prepared to lose a lot of golf balls.
Indeed, the Ron Prichard design holds a distinction that might surprise a fair amount of golf fans. Since 2003, tour pros have hit more balls into the water at TPC Southwind than any other golf course played on the PGA Tour.
According to the tour, in the past two decades players have dunked 6,166 balls into the water hazards at Southwind.
OK, so maybe it’s not that surprising considering water comes into play on 10 holes. Still, that 6,166 number outpaces by more than 1,000 balls the course that’s No. 2 on the list — and far more commonly known for its water hazards — the Stadium Course at TPC Sawgrass. The home of the Players Championship, according to the tour, registered 5,089 water balls.
Coming in third at 5,022 is Memorial Tournament host Muirfield Village with 5,022. Fourth is the Golf Club of Houston, site of the Houston Open from 2006 to 2020, with 4,020. And fifth was TPC Scottdale, where the WM Phoenix Open is played, with 3,806.
Perhaps there should be an asterisk attached to this bit of trivia. A handful of courses on the PGA Tour have more recently topped the annual list of most water balls, but they haven’t been playing host to their events for 20 years. With 27 water hazards on the course, TPC Twin Cities, site of the 3M Open, had 317 balls find the water in 2021, tops on tour that year, and 303 in 2022.