Oakmont Country Club

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Oakmont Country Club
OakmontCountryClub.jpg
Oakmont in November 2009
Club information
Location Plum / Oakmont, Pennsylvania, U.S.
Established 1903
Type Private
Total holes 18
Website oakmont-countryclub
Designed by Henry Fownes
Par 71 (70 for men's majors)
Length 7,255 yards (6,634 m)
Course rating 77.5
Slope rating 147[1]
Course record 63 Johnny Miller
(1973 U.S. Open)
Oakmont Country Club
Oakmont Country Club is located in Pennsylvania
Oakmont Country Club
Nearest city Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
Coordinates 40°31′32.73″N 79°49′36.35″W / 40.5257583°N 79.8267639°W / 40.5257583; -79.8267639Coordinates: 40°31′32.73″N 79°49′36.35″W / 40.5257583°N 79.8267639°W / 40.5257583; -79.8267639
Built 1903
Architect Fownes, Henry C.;
Stotz, Edward
Architectural style Tudor Revival
Governing body Private
NRHP Reference # 84003090[2]
Significant dates
Added to NRHP August 17, 1984
Designated NHL June 30, 1987[4]
Designated PHLF 1985[3]

Oakmont Country Club is a country club and the "oldest top-ranked golf course in the U.S.",[4] near Pittsburgh's northeast suburbs of Plum and Oakmont, Pennsylvania. The Pennsylvania Turnpike separates the eastern seven holes (2–8) from the rest of the course.

Oakmont's course[edit]

The course, the only design by Henry Fownes, opened in 1903. With a crew of 150 men and a little under two dozen mule teams, Henry Fownes spent a year building Oakmont on old farmland, which was ideal for a links-style course. It straddles the Allegheny River Valley and uniquely has virtually no water hazards, and, since 2007, almost no trees. With a USGA course rating of 77.5[1] and some two hundred bunkers it is generally regarded in the golf community as one of the most difficult in the United States. It features large, extremely fast, and undulating greens. All are original but the 8th, which was moved several yards to the left to make way for the Pennsylvania Turnpike in the late 1940s. Originally a links course, trees were added in the 1950s-1960s. Most were removed beginning after the 1994 U.S. Open, with between 5,000 and 8,000 eliminated during a 2007 renovation alone.[5] Greens are planted with Poa annua.[6] Par for members is 71.

The course is also noted for its slope. Most noted on holes 1, 3, 10 and 12, Oakmont's greens pitch away from the fairway.[7]

One of Oakmont's most famous hazards is the Church Pews bunker that comes into play on the 3rd and 4th holes. It measures approximately 100 yards by 40 yards and features twelve grass covered traversing ridges that resemble church pews.

For many years Oakmont's bunkers were groomed with a rake with wider than normal tines, creating deep furrows. The rakes were last used in U.S. Open competition in 1962 and eliminated from the club in 1964.[8]

Rankings[edit]

The course has been consistently ranked as one of the five best by Golf Digest 100 Greatest Golf Courses in America. In 2007 Oakmont was placed in 5th by the magazine.[9] It is one of only a few courses ranked every year in the top ten of the publication's history. The top 50 toughest courses ranks Oakmont also at number 5,[10] while GolfLink.com ranks it at #3 overall.[11]

Oakmont scorecard[edit]

Oakmont Country Club
Tee Rating/Slope 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 Out 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 In Total
Green 77.5 / 147 482 340 428 609 382 194 479 288 477 3679 462 379 667 183 358 499 231 313 484 3576 7255
U.S. Open -- / -- 482 341 428 609 382 194 479 288 477 3680 435 379 667 183 358 500 231 313 484 3550 7230
Par U.S. Open 4 4 4 5 4 3 4 3 4 35 4 4 5 3 4 4 3 4 4 35 70
Blue 74.0 / 134 441 325 390 512 349 168 370 225 462 3242 440 328 562 153 340 434 211 296 430 3194 6436
White 72.4 / 130 423 317 378 504 347 152 357 209 459 3146 436 307 550 139 332 428 189 276 420 3077 6223
Red 75.6 / 136 418 309 339 467 275 143 274 185 431 2841 431 271 466 129 327 421 135 259 412 2851 5629
Par Men's 4 4 4 5 4 3 4 3 5 36 4 4 5 3 4 4 3 4 4 35 71
Handicap Men's 3 7 1 13 11 17 9 5 15 4 10 2 16 18 8 12 14 6
Par Women's 5 4 4 5 4 3 4 3 5 37 5 4 5 3 4 5 3 4 5 38 75
Handicap Women's 7 13 5 1 11 17 9 15 3 4 10 2 16 12 6 18 14 8


A hole-by-hole course map from GOLF magazine (June 2007) can be viewed here [1] Flyovers of the holes can be seen here [2]

Major championships held at Oakmont[edit]

Oakmont has hosted the U.S. Open eight times, more than any other course. [3], and will host the tournament again in 2016. It has also played host to three PGA Championships, five U.S. Amateurs, three NCAA Division I Men's Golf Championships and the U.S. Women's Open twice. In total championships hosted (21) it also far outranks any other course.

Year Major Winner Winner's
share ($)
2016 U.S. Open
2010 U.S. Women's Open (2) Paula Creamer 585,000
2007 U.S. Open (8) Ángel Cabrera 1,260,000
2003 U.S. Amateur (5) Nick Flanagan n/a
1994 U.S. Open Ernie Els 320,000
1992 U.S. Women's Open Patty Sheehan 130,000
1983 U.S. Open Larry Nelson 72,000
1978 PGA Championship (3) John Mahaffey 50,000
1973 U.S. Open Johnny Miller 35,000
1969 U.S. Amateur Steve Melnyk n/a
1962 U.S. Open Jack Nicklaus 17,500
1953 U.S. Open Ben Hogan 5,000
1951 PGA Championship Sam Snead 3,500
1938 U.S. Amateur Willie Turnesa n/a
1935 U.S. Open Sam Parks, Jr. 1,000
1927 U.S. Open Tommy Armour 500
1925 U.S. Amateur Bobby Jones n/a
1922 PGA Championship Gene Sarazen 500
1919 U.S. Amateur S. Davidson Herron n/a

U.S. Opens[edit]

Photo galleries of the U.S. Opens at Oakmont from the USGA's official site can be seen here [4]

1927[edit]

The first U.S. Open at Oakmont was won by Tommy Armour, who defeated Harry Cooper in an 18-hole Friday playoff. Their 72-hole score was 301 (+13); the par-72 course played to 6,929 yards (6,336 m) in 1927 (the first and ninth holes were both par 5).[5] The average score for the field was 78.6 (+ 6.6) and the field recorded just 2 rounds under par. The total purse of prize money was $800 ($10,861 in 2014 dollars).[6]

1935[edit]

Won by Sam Parks, Jr. at 11 strokes over par. The par 72 course played to 6,981 yards (6,383 m) in 1935 and the average score for the field was 80.55 (+ 8.55) and the field recorded 3 rounds under par. The total purse of prize money was $5,000 ($86,007 in 2014 dollars).

1953[edit]

Ben Hogan won the second of his three straight majors in 1953 at Oakmont by six strokes, coming in at five under par.

Scheduling conflicts made it impossible to win all four majors that year, as the late rounds of the PGA Championship, then a match play event, and the mandatory 36-hole qualifier directly preceding the British Open overlapped in early July. Hogan won The Masters by five strokes and the British Open at Carnoustie by four strokes. The par 72 Oakmont course played at 6,916 yards (6,324 m) in 1953 and the average score for the field was 77.12 (+ 5.12) and the field recorded 20 rounds under par. The purse was $14,900 and the champion earned $5,000 ($131,339 and $44,073 in 2014 dollars).

1962[edit]

At the 1962 U.S. Open, an up-and-coming 22-year-old named Jack Nicklaus defeated the world's top player at the time, Arnold Palmer, in a Sunday playoff round in Palmer's "backyard".

Both competitors had completed the 72 holes with at 283 (–1). It was the first professional victory for Nicklaus, and the first of his 18 professional majors. Palmer won the next major, the 1962 British Open, and his fourth Masters in 1964, but never another U.S. Open. In 1962 par was reduced by a stroke to 71 (the first hole became a par-4) and the course length was slightly reduced to 6,893 yards (6,303 m); the average score for the field was 75.86 (+ 4.86) and the field recorded 19 rounds under par. The purse was $81,600 and the champion earned $17,500 ($636,193 and $136,438 in 2014 dollars).

1973[edit]

Johnny Miller shot a final round 63 (–8) to set a record low score at a U.S. Open, and finished at 279 (–5) to win by one stroke in 1973.

Following an overnight rainstorm, Miller entered the final round in 12th place at three-over, six strokes behind the four co-leaders.[12] Miller had carded a disappointing five-over 76 on Saturday, and his tee time on Sunday was about an hour ahead of the final pairing, which included Arnold Palmer.

Miller birdied the first four holes and hit all 18 greens in regulation, and used only 29 putts. Miller and four others were the only ones to break par during the final round in 1973. The par 71 course played at 6,921 yards (6,329 m) and the average score for the field was 75.45 (+ 4.45) and the field recorded 40 rounds under par. The purse was $219,400 and the champion earned $35,000 ($1.17 million and $185,941 in 2014 dollars).

Miller's low score (9 birdies with 1 bogey) led the USGA to set up the course at the following year's championship, now known as The Massacre at Winged Foot, in an extremely challenging manner; Hale Irwin's winning score in 1974 was seven strokes over par.

Johnny Miller's 63[edit]

club selection and results - June 17, 1973[13]

Hole Yards Par Club selections Score Result To par
1 469 4 Driver, 3-iron to 5 feet 3 birdie –1
2 343 4 Driver, 9-iron to 1 foot 3 birdie –2
3 425 4 Driver, 5-iron to 25 feet 3 birdie –3
4 549 5 Driver, 3-wood, bunker shot to 6 inches 4 birdie –4
5 379 4 Driver, 6-iron to 25 feet, 2 putts 3 par –4
6 195 3 3-iron to 25 feet, 2 putts 3 par –4
7 395 4 Driver, 9-iron to 6 feet, 2 putts 4 par –4
8 244 3 4-wood to 30 feet, 3 putts 4 bogey –3
9 480 5 Driver, 2-iron to 40 feet, 2 putts 4 birdie –4
Out 3,479 36 32 –4
10 462 4 Driver, 5-iron to 25 feet, 2 putts 3 par –4
11 371 4 Driver, wedge to 14 feet 4 birdie –5
12 603 5 Driver, 7-iron, 4-iron to 15 feet 4 birdie –6
13 185 3 4-iron to 5 feet 2 birdie –7
14 360 4 Driver, wedge to 12 feet, 2 putts 4 par –7
15 453 4 Driver, 4-iron to 10 feet 3 birdie –8
16 230 3 2-iron to 45 feet, 2 putts 3 par –8
17 322 4 1-iron, wedge to 10 feet, 2 putts 4 par –8
18 456 4 Driver, 5-iron to 20 feet, 2 putts 4 par –8
In 3,442 35 31 –4
Total 6,921 71 63 –8

1983[edit]

In 1983, Larry Nelson was at 148 (+6) after the first two rounds. He then established the 36-hole record at the U.S. Open when he finished 65-67 to finish at 280 (–4), one stroke ahead of runner-up and defending champion Tom Watson. Nelson's two-round total of 132 (–10) broke the 51-year-old record by four shots, established by Gene Sarazen in 1932. Nelson's record, although not receiving level acclaim to Miller's 63 finish, stood until 2011 when it was broken by Rory McIlroy. The par 71 course played at 6,972 yards (6,375 m) in 1983 and the average score for the field was 76.13 (+ 5.13) and the field recorded 27 rounds under par. The purse was $506,184 and the champion earned $72,000 ($1.2 million and $170,486 in 2014 dollars).

1994[edit]

In 1994, a 24-year-old Ernie Els outlasted Loren Roberts and Colin Montgomerie in another Monday playoff round to capture the U.S. Open, his first major and first victory in the U.S. It was the first three-way playoff at the U.S. Open since 1963.

The three in the playoff completed the four rounds at 270 (–5), but all were well over par early in the playoff round, played in oppressive heat and humidity, as temperatures approached 100 °F (38 °C).[14] Montgomerie shot a 42 on the front nine, ending at 78 (+7) and was eliminated, but Els and Roberts were tied at 3-over 74, with Roberts missing a short putt on the 18th hole to win outright, so they kept playing as a sudden-death playoff. On the second extra hole, Roberts bogeyed and Els made a par to win the championship. The par 71 course played at 6,946 yards (6,351 m) in 1994 and the average score for the field was 74.25 (+ 3.25); the field recorded 62 rounds under par. The purse was $1.75 million and the champion earned $320,000 ($2.78 million and $509,169 in 2014 dollars).

2007[edit]

Ángel Cabrera of Argentina shot 285 (+5) in 2007, one stroke ahead of runners-up Tiger Woods and Jim Furyk.

A course renovation had deepened the bunkers and removed over 4,000 trees that had been planted mostly in the 1960s, returning the course to its original links style appearance.[15] The course was lengthened to 7,230 yards (6,611 m) and par was reduced by a stroke to 70, as the uphill 9th hole became a par-4. The par-3 8th hole played at 300 yards (274 m) in Round 4, the par-5 12th hole at over 660 yards (604 m), and the par-4 15th at 500 yards (457 m). The average score for the field in 2007 was 75.72 (+ 5.72), with every hole averaging an over-par score.[16] The field recorded just 8 rounds under par, only two per round. Cabrera had two of these sub-par rounds, shooting a 69 (-1) on Thursday and Sunday.

The weather was much more agreeable than in 1994: the high temperatures were 75–80 °F (24–27 °C) for the first three rounds and 90 °F (32 °C) for the final round, and there were no weather delays in any of the rounds. The total purse was $7.0 million and the champion earned $1.26 million ($7.96 million and $1.43 million in 2014 dollars).

Quotes from notable golfers[edit]

  • USGA Sr. Director of Rules and Competitions Mike Davis: "There's a reason [the U.S. Open is] coming back to Oakmont. This really is the gold standard for championship golf. It doesn't get any better than Oakmont."[17]
  • Lee Trevino: “There's only one course in the country where you could step out right now — right now — and play the U.S. Open, and that's Oakmont.”[18]
  • Phil Mickelson: "It's really a neat, special place."[19]
  • Johnny Miller: "It's probably the best course in the world . . . This is the greatest course I've ever played."[19]

On Oakmont's greens:

  • Tiger Woods:"That golf course is going to be one of the toughest tests that we've ever played in a U.S. Open, especially if it's dry, it will be unreal because those greens are so severe."[7]
  • Arnold Palmer: "You can hit 72 greens [in regulation] in the Open at Oakmont and not come close to winning."[19]
  • Rocco Mediate said of the greens that they are "almost impossible"
  • Sam Snead once commented that he tried to mark his ball on one of Oakmont's greens but the coin slid off.[7]
  • Lee Trevino claimed every time he two-putted at Oakmont he knew he was passing somebody on the leader board.[7]
  • Johnny Miller said that Oakmont's are the greatest set of greens for testing a player's ability to putt.[7]
  • USGA Sr. Director Mike Davis: "[Oakmont's greens are the] scariest in golf."[7]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b "Course Rating and Slope Database™: Oakmont Country Club". USGA. Retrieved June 2, 2012. 
  2. ^ "National Register Information System". National Register of Historic Places. National Park Service. 2008-04-15. 
  3. ^ Historic Landmark Plaques 1968-2009. Pittsburgh, PA: Pittsburgh History & Landmarks Foundation. 2010. Retrieved 2011-07-28. 
  4. ^ a b "Oakmont Country Club". National Historic Landmark summary listing. National Park Service. Retrieved 2008-07-02. 
  5. ^ Pittsburgh Post-Gazette Oakmont clears trees to revive Scottish-links look for U.S. Open 2007-2-11. Retrieved 2010-7-8
  6. ^ Dvorchak, Robert (2007-06-13). "Oakmont-inspired Stimpmeter allows USGA to accurately measure speed, consistency of putting surfaces". Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. Retrieved 2008-11-07. 
  7. ^ a b c d e f "Oakmont: Rock & roll (& roll & roll & roll) nightmare". Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. 2007-06-10. Retrieved 2007-06-10. 
  8. ^ Dulac, Gerry (2007-06-15). "U.S. Open Notebook: Oakmont eyes tougher bunkers in '07". Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. Retrieved 2007-06-17. 
  9. ^ "America's 100 Greatest Courses". Golf Digest. May 2007. Archived from the original on 2007-06-07. Retrieved 2007-06-10. 
  10. ^ "America's 50 Toughest Golf Courses". Golf Digest. March 2007. Retrieved 2007-06-10. [dead link]
  11. ^ "Top 100 United States Golf Courses". Golf Link. 2007. Retrieved 2007-06-10. 
  12. ^ USOpen.com - 2006 - history - past champs - 1973
  13. ^ Elling, Steve (June 12, 2007). "Miller's magical 63 in '73 a round to remember". CBS Sports. Retrieved June 2, 2012. 
  14. ^ USOpen.com - Oakmont 1994
  15. ^ Golf.com
  16. ^ USOpen.com - scoring
  17. ^ Dvorchak, Robert (2007-06-10). "U.S. Open: At Oakmont, golf is played the way it was meant to be". Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. Retrieved 2007-06-17. 
  18. ^ Parascenzo, Marino (Summer 2007). "The Course Loved 'Round the World". Pittsburgh Quarterly. Retrieved 2010-06-10. 
  19. ^ a b c Dulac, Gerry (2007-06-10). "Oakmont Country Club: Awakening of The Beast". Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. Retrieved 2007-06-17. 

Further reading[edit]

  • Ward-Thomas, P., Wind, H.W., Price, C., Thomson, P. (2002). World Atlas of Golf. London: Hamlyn. ISBN 0-600-60720-8. 

External links[edit]