PGA National was built in 1981 and has five different courses (Champion, Fazio, The Squire, Palmer and The Estate). The Tour plays the Champion course each year. Generally, I've heard good things about the Fazio course.
The Champion course is a Jack Nicklaus design. Many people think it's a driver's course or a bomber's course, but it's a Nicklaus design and true to most of Nicklaus' designs...it's an approach shot course.
I used to come to PGA National for practice rounds, but between lousy parking and the lack of pros there for the Tuesday practice round, it wasn't the most eventful practice round to go to. This is because the pros were coming from LA the previous week and many of them live in the Jupiter/Palm Beach area and would rather practice at their home club on Tuesday than play there.
The general consensus is that the players do not hate PGA National, but they are not in love with it either. It's a difficult track and if the weather is not cooperating, it can create a miserable experience. But, it's in tip-top shape, it's close to where so many players live and it will usually do crowds of 50,000+.
While 16, 17 and 18 get all of the accolades for being The Bear Trap, none of those holes are 'Critical Holes' at PGA National. The final critical hole on the course is the par-3, 16th hole.
Part of the reason for the 15th being a Critical Hole is the water. But the other part is that the green is fairly flat and tends to have a high make percentage putting wise. It's not uncommon for a player to find the back bunker, hit the bunker shot to 8-feet and make the putt for par. The only issue is that the back bunker can provide some awful lies from time to time. But this is a classic hole where Tour players would be smart to play for the middle of the green and either drain a long putt for birdie or 2-putt and come away with par.
Having said that, the 6th hole is one of the holes with some of the highest deviations of scores on Tour. It doesn't get talked about much because it's on the front nine, but it's something to pay attention to.
It's the toughest driving hole on the course, 3rd toughest approach and the 3rd toughest green to putt on. If that pin is in the back right location...'fuhgetaboutit.'
Projected Winning Score: -10
Justin Thomas +500
Brooks Koepka +1,200
Gary Woodland +1,800
Cameron Smith +2,500
Billy Horschel +3,300
3JACK'S DARK HORSE PICKS
Luke List +4,000
Emiliano Grillo +4,000
Alex Noren +4,000
Byeong Hun An +5,000
Chesson Hadley +15,000