This week the USGA will host the 68th U.S. Open that I have not played in (but I can say my name is on the trophy four times) at the Shinnecock Hills Golf Club. This is the Number 1 tournament of the year and I can’t wait for it to start.
There are golf courses and there are U.S. Open courses, and Shinnecock Hills is one of the latter. Though there aren’t really many hills to speak of on it. But it does have wind.
Sited next to Long Island Sound, the wind will be a factor if blows, and every hole will be affected differently. If all the holes were lifted and set down with the tees on top of each other like the hub of a wheel, every hole would be a spoke reaching out in a different direction.
In the wind, expect par to be a very good score. If it is calm, low scores will abound. The prevailing direction can be seen in the photograph as a line connecting the word Range and the number 14. (Click to enlarge)
Get a close look at all the holes at the U.S. Open web site. You’ll easily see for yourself where things can go wrong.
The par 3s are considered to be the best collection at any major championship site. There are several short par 4s, but they play into the wind and the safe landing zone is not generous if a player wishes to take on the hole with one shot.
The course looks like it will be a throwback Open course. Though it’s long, 7,445 yards, the big hitters had better be straight because the fairway is very narrow when the long drives land. But then, the tee shot is the key to scoring here. A short, straight hitter has a very good chance at winning.
Shinnecock Hills is one of the oldest course in the country, built in 1890 and hosted the 1896 U.S. Open. At 4,423 yards and so little of a challenge, many players shot scores below 80. A redesign in 1931 by Dick Wilson brought the course up the level it’s at today.
For some reason, the traditional 1st and 2nd round pairing of the reigning U.S. Open, British Open, and U.S. Amateur champions will not be featured. They usually have quirky pairings, but I can’t find any references. If I do, I’ll update this post later in the week.
Enjoy it. This is the finest golf tournament on a real U.S. Open course. Who do I pick to win? Phil, of course. I’ll pick him until he gives up trying.