East Lake plays to over 7,300 yards at a par-70 with an index of 76.2 and a slope of 144.
It was originally designed by Donald Ross and then re-designed by Rees Jones. The area around East Lake was one of the most dangerous areas in the country and was once given the nickname lil’ Nam (as in Little Vietnam).
When I lived in Atlanta, a neighbor of mine told the story of getting onto East Lake with his boss back in the 80’s and while they were playing a man jumped the fence…robbed them at gun point and then hopped the fence again and disappeared.
Anyway, the neighborhood has completely changed and embraced the event. However, I’m not the biggest fan of the actual course. From talking to players, they seem to like it but I tend to think that they are just happy to be there because it means they are in the Tour Championship and they are exempt from almost every event and are exempt from every major next season.
Jokingly, I wonder if part of the prize for making it to the Tour Championship was to not have to play in Pro-Ams for the next season if that would put extra pressure on players during the season.
Anyway, this is a Red Zone course and a bomber’s course. Wide open and very long. The par-3’s are brutal. They did the smart thing by changing up the nine’s so that the 18th hole is no longer a par-3 (and a worthless par-3 to boot).
But, it’s also a course that stresses short game around the green. Typical of Donald Ross designs.
Projected Winning Score: -12
Rory McIlroy +900
Justin Rose +900
Justin Thomas +1,200
3JACK’S DARK HORSE PICKS
Hideki Matsuyama +2,000
Tommy Fleetwood +2,500
Kevin Na +7,000