RENO, Nev. -- The Barracuda Championship, set for June 30-July 3, is one of the more unique tournaments on the PGA Tour. The players compete using Stableford scoring, where they accumulate points for birdies and eagles and lose points for bogeys or worse. Every player is aiming to reach a total high enough to beat the field.
It's only appropriate that the tournament is held on a unique course in the foothills of the Sierra Nevada mountains set up so the pros can go low. Montreux Golf & Country Club, a Jack Nicklaus-designed course, is Reno's premier private club development, but did you know that a high-end casino like Atlantis Resort & Casino can make tee times for groups? For those who want to stay longer than just a round, the neighborhood, located about 20 minutes from the downtown and the Reno Airport, is stocked with beautiful custom-built homes, manors and cottages. The latest building phase will be handled by developer Parc Foret.
During the early years of the development, a new stretch of holes, starting at the gorgeous pine-tree-lined fifth, were built on newly acquired land. The sixth through eighth holes are called the "Bear Trap," although they're not nearly as difficult as the stretch of holes with the same nickname on the Champion Course at PGA National in south Florida played during the Honda Classic. The club's old 10-12 holes, including a daunting par 3 over a gorge, have become valuable practice holes.
Many greens were built diagonally behind hazards (a pond, a bunker), so players must be precise with their approaches. That isn't easy at high elevations ranging from 5,000 to 6,000 feet, which makes club selection a guessing game.
The round's climax comes at no. 17 with a tee shot that drops more than 100 feet to the fairway. Players will lay up short of a creek, setting up a short iron. The par-5 finishing hole can be reached in two by much of the field even at 616 yards long. An eagle could provide the points necessary to secure a coveted PGA Tour win.