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2023 Tour Championship PGA Course Preview – East Lake Golf Club

2023 Tour Championship

East Lake Golf Club

PGA Tour player Viktor Hovland reacts after missing a putt on the eighteenth hole during the final round of the FedEx St. Jude Championship at TPC Southwind in Memphis, Tenn., on Sunday, August 13, 2023.

Hello, DFS Army! Josh Thomas aka DFSUpNorth, coming at you with a deep dive into the Tour Championship at East Lake Golf Club. It’s the final event of the FedEx Cup playoffs with only the top 30 teeing it up, and there is staggered scoring dependent on where you are in the FedEx Cup standings. I’ll cover all that and more below!

The Course:

Located in Atlanta, Georgia, East Lake Golf Club is synonymous with history, tradition, and excellence in the world of golf. Founded in 1904, it’s the home course of the great Bobby Jones, one of the most iconic figures in golf. East Lake has been the permanent home of the Tour Championship since 2005, playing a pivotal role in determining the FedEx Cup Champion.

Designed by the famous Tom Bendelow and later revamped by the renowned Donald Ross, East Lake is a par-70 layout that stretches 7,346 yards. It’s a course that combines classic design elements with modern challenges, providing a fitting stage for the grand finale of the PGA Tour season.

Donald Ross’s Design at East Lake Golf Club

Donald Ross was brought in to redesign East Lake Golf Club in 1913, transforming it into a layout that would stand the test of time. He incorporated his signature design philosophies, and his work at East Lake is considered one of the best examples of classic American golf course architecture.

Key Features of Ross’s Design at East Lake:

  • Strategic Bunkering: Ross’s artful placement of bunkers at East Lake challenges golfers to think their way around the course. They’re not just hazards; they’re strategic elements that shape shots and decisions.
  • Undulating Greens: Ross’s greens at East Lake are famously contoured. Their subtle slopes and tiers require precision in approach shots and a deft touch with the putter.
  • Risk-Reward Philosophy: Ross believed in presenting golfers with choices, and East Lake’s design embodies this principle. Players can take risks to gain advantages or choose safer paths with potentially less reward.
  • Natural Beauty: Ross worked with the natural topography, letting the land dictate the course’s flow. His design complements East Lake’s existing landscape, enhancing its inherent beauty.

Donald Ross’s Overall Course Theories

Donald Ross designed over 400 golf courses, and his theories on golf course architecture have left an indelible mark on the game.

1. Playability for All Levels: Ross believed that a well-designed course should be enjoyable for golfers of all skill levels. While challenging for the expert, it should still be conquerable by the novice. His courses often feature multiple tees and wide fairways, allowing for different angles and approaches.

2. Strategy Over Length: Unlike some modern designers who emphasize distance, Ross’s designs reward strategy and thoughtfulness. His courses challenge the mind as much as they do the swing.

3. Integration with Nature: Ross’s designs work in harmony with the natural landscape. Rather than imposing his will on the land, he let the land guide his hand, creating courses that feel like a natural part of their surroundings.

4. Emphasis on the Short Game: Ross’s greens are legendary for their complexity and subtlety. They demand accuracy and a nuanced short game, making his courses a test of finesse rather than brute strength.


PGA Course Preview DFS


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Bobby Jones and East Lake Golf Club

Early Years: Bobby Jones’s relationship with East Lake began in his childhood. Born in 1902 in Atlanta, Georgia, Jones joined East Lake Golf Club as a member at just six years old. It became his home course, a place where he would learn, play, and eventually master the game of golf.

The Making of a Legend: Under the guidance of Stewart Maiden, the head professional at East Lake, Jones developed his game. He practiced tirelessly on the fairways and greens of East Lake, honing his skills and forging his character. By the age of 14, he was competing in national championships.

An Amateur Phenomenon: Throughout his career, Jones remained an amateur golfer, embodying the spirit of the game in its purest form. East Lake was the crucible where he shaped his legendary game, and it’s where he perfected his swing, his strategic thinking, and his renowned sportsmanship.

The Grand Slam: In 1930, Jones achieved the unprecedented feat of winning the Grand Slam, capturing the U.S. Open, U.S. Amateur, The Open Championship, and The Amateur Championship in a single year. This monumental achievement is inseparable from his roots at East Lake, where he forged his game and his mentality.

A Lasting Legacy: Bobby Jones’s legacy at East Lake is alive and well. The clubhouse features memorabilia from his career, and the course itself stands as a living monument to his influence on the game. Jones’s spirit is felt throughout East Lake, from the first tee to the 18th green.

Founding of Augusta National: After retiring from competitive golf, Jones’s connection to East Lake remained strong, and his experiences there played a part in his vision for Augusta National Golf Club. Together with Clifford Roberts, he designed Augusta National, and it became the host of The Masters, another significant chapter in his story.

Bobby Jones and East Lake Golf Club share a history that’s rich and profound. From a young boy learning the game to a legendary figure that shaped it, Jones’s story is inseparable from the course he called home. East Lake is where he grew, triumphed, and left an everlasting imprint on golf.

East Lake’s role as the permanent host of the Tour Championship, the final event of the PGA Tour season, is a fitting tribute to a man who epitomized the spirit of competition and the love of the game. When you watch the world’s best competing at East Lake, you’re witnessing a continuation of a story that began over a century ago with a young boy named Bobby Jones.

Tournament Set-up: 

East Lake Golf Club

Par: 35-35—70
Yardage: 7,346

Average Green Size: 5,619 sq. ft.
Acres of Fairway: 24
Acres of Rough: 90
Number of Sand Bunkers: 74
Number of Water Hazards: 5
Number of Holes Water is in Play: 6

Greens: MiniVerde ultradwarf bermuda
Collars: Tifway 419 bermuda .325”
Approaches: Tifway 419 bermuda .325”
Tees: Tifway Bermuda / Meyer and Zorro zoysiagrass .375”
Fairways: Meyer zoysiagrass .400”
Rough: Tifway 419 bermudagrass 2.5”

Links to DFS Army Tools

Characteristics of East Lake Golf Club

  • Strategic Layout: Emphasizing placement and accuracy, East Lake’s design offers risk-reward opportunities.
  • Demanding Tee Shots: Tight fairways and penal rough require precision off the tee.
  • Approach Play: Emphasizing mid to long irons, the contoured greens demand exacting approach shots.
  • Water Hazards: Several holes feature water, adding a visual and strategic element.
  • Quick Greens: Often running fast, the greens present a significant putting challenge.

Notable Championships

  • 1950 U.S. Women’s Amateur: Won by Beverly Hanson.
  • 1963 Ryder Cup: A historic match played at East Lake.
  • 2001 U.S. Amateur Championship: Bubba Dickerson claimed victory here.
  • Tour Championship: The annual finale of the PGA Tour season since 2005, with winners including Tiger Woods, Rory McIlroy, and Jordan Spieth.

Insight into Previous Tour Championships

East Lake has been the stage for thrilling conclusions to the PGA Tour season, with the 2018 event standing out. Tiger Woods’ victory was one of the most emotional and memorable moments in recent golf history. The course tends to favor well-rounded players who can navigate its strategic demands.



Golfers with 🔥🔥🔥 East Lake History

Xander Schauffele: 32.04 SGT 

Rory McIlroy: 27.05 SGT
Jon Rahm: 13.05 SGT
Max Homa: 6.62 SGT
Scottie Scheffler; 6.51 SGT

Golfers coming in 🔥🔥🔥

Rory McIlroy: 43.84 SGT 

Brian Harman: 33.84 SGT
Viktor Hovland: 31.84 SGT
Max Homa: 29.84 SGT
Lucas Glover: 29.09 SGT

Starting Position:

The staggered starting position makes a big difference when it comes to lineup construction this week and how much the finishing position points matter here.

Here is where everyone will start this week based on their final FedEx Cup point standings:

-10: Scheffler
-8: Hovland
-7: McIlroy
-6: Rahm
-5: Glover
-4: Homa, Cantlay, Harman, Clark, Fitzpatrick
-3: Fleetwood, Henley, Bradley, Fowler, Schauffele
-2: T. Kim, Im, Finau, Conners, S. Kim
-1: Moore, Taylor, Schenk, Morikawa, Day
E: Burns, Grillo, Hatton, Spieth, Straka

With Scheffler being 10 strokes clear of Burns, Grillo, et. al, it can make a major difference in your lineup construction, and so will the adjusted salaries! If you want to get access to my cheat sheet that shows how I plan to attack it, you’ll have to become a DFS Army VIP which you can do below!


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With only 30 players in the field, and no cut the weather advantage typically won’t be very big with all players teeing off within an hour or two of each other. Right now though it looks REALLY HOT. We’re still aways out so that could change, be sure to check in in our VIP Discord for weather updates! Here’s the closest Windfinder station if you want to keep an eye on it yourself!

Final Thoughts:

The winning player profile at East Lake for the Tour Championship is a complex blend of strategic intelligence, technical skill, mental fortitude, and physical readiness. It’s not just about having one strong aspect; it’s about being a complete player, excelling in every facet of the game.

It’s about navigating a challenging course with poise and precision, adapting to the conditions, and rising to the occasion when the pressure is at its peak. That’s what it takes to hoist that trophy at East Lake. It’s a true test of a champion, and that’s why it’s one of the most exciting and respected events on the PGA Tour

Stay locked in to DFSArmy.com as we continue to break down the player field, key statistics, and all the elements that can lead you to DFS success. It’s shaping up to be another exciting week at the Tour Championship, and I’m thrilled to be guiding you through it. I will break it all down for our VIPs with my weekly PGA Cheatsheets! Until next time, DFS Army, keep driving for show and putting for dough!


Featured Image:

PGA Tour player Viktor Hovland reacts after missing a putt on the eighteenth hole during the final round of the FedEx St. Jude Championship at TPC Southwind in Memphis, Tenn., on Sunday, August 13, 2023.