The Bear Trap: One of the PGA Tour’s toughest stretches ready to maul the Honda Classic field again

Holes 15, 16 and 17 on the Champion Course at PGA National have a fearsome reputation and are ready to bite.

When a section of the golf course is called 'The Bear Trap', it's pretty obvious that trouble is lurking.

That potentially round-destroying run of holes is to be found on the Champion Course at PGA National in Palm Beach Gardens. And being able to come through it relatively unscathed is crucial for those hoping to win this week's Honda Classic in Florida.

The Bear Trap is one of the most demanding three-hole stretches in golf and, craftily, is placed near the very end of the 18-hole test.

It was coined in honour of the legendary Jack Nicklaus who helped restore the par 70.

A plaque and bear statue celebrate the challenge, if celebrate is the right word. Perhaps it's better to say they act as a warning.

To judge just how tough it is, the PGA Tour released some stats this week...

The Bear Trap by the numbers

+4,136 - Combined score to par since 2007

1,604 - Balls in the water since 2007

87.8 - Percentage of players over par on The Bear Trap since 2007

11 - Quintuple bogeys or worse on The Bear Trap since 2007 

30 - Percentage of players 10-over par or worse on The Bear Trap since 2007

The three holes that form The Bear Trap

Here's the terrible trio with explanations from the PGA TOUR website

Hole 15: Par 3, 179 yards

"The back of the green was raised after 1990 for visibility. The hole usually plays into the wind and a fade aimed at the bunkers on the left will likely avoid the water on the right. The tough pin is back right."

Hole 16: Par 4, 434 yards

"This dogleg right is the toughest par 4 of all PGA National's holes. Off the tee, everything slopes toward the water on the right, but a bunker was added to catch balls that roll too far right. Those who bail out left are faced with a 220-yard second shot over water, into the wind."

Hole 17: Par 3, 175 yards

"This shortest hole on the Champion is by no means the easiest. With the wind in your face or when it's blowing left to right toward the water to the right - and a bunker long and left - the only place to put your ball is on the green. With just a 30-foot landing area there, the toughest pin is middle left."

Quotes on The Bear Trap

Jack Nicklaus - "It should all be won or lost here. It's not about length, it's about precision. It's about guts. It's all about what do you have in your chest that you can finish those holes."

Tiger Woods - "There are no bailouts. You have to commit and hit a good shot."

Mark Wilson (2007 Honda Classic winner) - "Standing on the 15th tee, even with a six-shot lead, I'm going to be nervous still."

Padraig Harrington - "There's no bail-outs. There's nowhere to go. You've got to really hit a great shot. With the grandstands and things, it's difficult, it's a difficult angle to find the wind on. I think that probably is what makes the Bear Trap so difficult, the wind direction, even on 16, you're never 100 percent sure how much you've changed direction, how much it's across or down."

Joaquin Niemann (last week's winner) - "We got the Bear Trap, there is a lot of water, it's scary."

Matt Jones (last year's winner) - "7 is a very tough par-3 but there's not the threat of the water and making a big number that quickly. You can make bogeys easily, but there's not the threat of the big number and then having to hit again from a tee when you've got the hazard right there again, like on 15 and 17 on the Bear Trap."

Thankfully for the players, wind speeds don't look too strong this week. But, rest assured, The Bear Trap will still play a pivotal part in deciding who lifts the trophy on Sunday.

READ MORE: Joaquin Niemann hoping home advantage will help at The Honda Classic

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