Bad Little Nine: Toughest 9 holes in golf offer a $1,000 reward if you break par

Most golf fans know billionaire GoDaddy founder, Bob Parsons launched high-end Parsons Xtreme Golf (PXG) a couple of years ago. Fewer, however, know Parsons also bought Scottsdale National golf course, and he’s done something very interesting with it.

Parsons added a second 18-hole course last year, along with something called The Bad Little Nine. The former Marine worked with Jackson Kahn Design to create the course. Here’s how the idea for the course’s distinct theme came about:

“They [the designers] said to me, `You know Mr. Parsons, if we’re going to do this, you’ve got to have a theme for the course that gives people a reason to play it. We can’t think of a better theme than making it incredibly difficult…They were dead right. This was all their idea.”

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And it’s really, really tough. The nine par-three holes average just 108 yards in length. But the collection of three-shotters is so difficult, Parsons has an open offer to anyone who plays the course with its Friday pin setup: break par, and he’ll give you $1,000.

Nobody has. That’s right, Tour pros, such as PXG staffer James Hahn, have played the course, and can’t break par.

The greens are small, fast, ridiculously undulating and feature shaved banks with impossible bunkers. Matuszewski writes Pat Perez, a winner on Tour this year, once took 15 shots just to get out of a bunker. And the holes are appropriately named—Boot Camp, Waterboard, Gitmo, Shotgun and Ambush.

(Photo source/TPC Scottsdale)

One of the truly brilliant things about the course is that the pin setup dictates everything. There are massive collection areas that can funnel the ball to particular positions. If the holes are cut in these locations, well, you’ll see your good shots get much better.

However, on Fridays, the course is set up for quite the opposite effect. It’s on Fridays, specifically, that Parsons $1,000 offer stands. The hole locations are, in short, impossible.

Oh, and you can play the Bad Little Nine in the dark, thanks to tee box and green lighting systems and carts that emit light.

Maybe you don’t love the idea of spending several thousand dollars for a set of PXG irons. However, it’s tough not to like Parsons’ innovative approach to the par-3 course. And maybe the future of golf looks a lot like Top Golf and Bad Little Nines, rather than 5-hour rounds at 18-hole courses, but that’s OK. Because, hey, it’s a game after all, and it should be, you know, fun.

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