Oakmont Country Club
Oakmont in November 2009
|Location||Plum, Pennsylvania, U.S.|
|Elevation||1,000 feet (305 m)|
|Fairways||Bentgrass, Poa annua|
|Designed by||Henry Fownes|
|Par||71 (70 for U.S. Open|
|Length||7,254 yards (6,633 m)|
|Course record||63 – Johnny Miller|
(1973 U.S. Open)
Oakmont Country Club
|Nearest city||Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania|
|Architect||Fownes, Henry C.;|
|Architectural style||Tudor Revival|
|NRHP reference #||84003090|
|Added to NRHP||August 17, 1984|
|Designated NHL||June 30, 1987|
Oakmont Country Club is a country club in the eastern United States, located in Plum and Oakmont, suburbs of Pittsburgh in western Pennsylvania. Established 116 years ago in 1903, its golf course is regarded as the "oldest top-ranked golf course in the United States." It was designated a National Historic Landmark in 1987. The Pennsylvania Turnpike separates seven holes (2–8) from the rest of the course.
- 1 Oakmont's course
- 2 Rankings
- 3 Oakmont scorecard
- 4 Major championships
- 5 Quotes from notable golfers
- 6 Stimpmeter
- 7 See also
- 8 References
- 9 External links
The course, the only design by Henry Fownes, opened 116 years ago 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 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. Greens are planted with Poa annua, and par for members is 71.
The course is also noted for its slope. In particular, on holes 1, 3, 10, and 12, the greens pitch away from the fairway.
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 by 40 yards (91 by 37 m) 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.
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. 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, while GolfLink.com ranks it at #3 overall.
|Green||77.5 / 147||482||340||426||609||382||194||479||288||477||3677||462||379||667||183||358||500||231||313||484||3577||7254|
|U.S. Open||-- / --||482||340||426||609||382||194||479||288||477||3677||462||379||667||183||358||500||231||313||484||3577||7254|
|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|
Oakmont has hosted the U.S. Open nine times, more than any other course, most recently in 2016, and is scheduled for its tenth in 2025. It has also hosted three PGA Championships, five U.S. Amateurs, three NCAA Division I Men's Golf Championships, and two U.S. Women's Opens. In total championships hosted (21), it also far outranks any other course.
|2016||U.S. Open (9)||Dustin Johnson||276 (–4)||1,800,000|
|2010||U.S. Women's Open (2)||Paula Creamer||281 (–3)||585,000|
|2007||U.S. Open (8)||Ángel Cabrera||285 (+5)||1,260,000|
|2003||U.S. Amateur (5)||Nick Flanagan||37th Hole||n/a|
|1994||U.S. Open (7)||Ernie Els||279 (–5), Playoff||320,000|
|1992||U.S. Women's Open||Patty Sheehan||280 (–4), Playoff||130,000|
|1983||U.S. Open (6)||Larry Nelson||280 (–4)||72,000|
|1978||PGA Championship (3)||John Mahaffey||276 (–8), Playoff||50,000|
|1973||U.S. Open (5)||Johnny Miller||279 (–5)||35,000|
|1969||U.S. Amateur (4)||Steve Melnyk||286||n/a|
|1962||U.S. Open (4)||Jack Nicklaus||283 (–1), Playoff||17,500|
|1953||U.S. Open (3)||Ben Hogan||283 (–5)||5,000|
|1951||PGA Championship (2)||Sam Snead||7 & 6||3,500|
|1938||U.S. Amateur (3)||Willie Turnesa||8 & 7||n/a|
|1935||U.S. Open (2)||Sam Parks, Jr.||299 (+11)||1,000|
|1927||U.S. Open||Tommy Armour||301 (+13), Playoff||500|
|1925||U.S. Amateur (2)||Bobby Jones||8 & 7||n/a|
|1922||PGA Championship||Gene Sarazen||4 & 3||500|
|1919||U.S. Amateur||Davidson Herron||5 & 4||n/a|
Photo galleries of the U.S. Opens at Oakmont from the USGA's official site can be seen here 
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). 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 ($11,539 in 2018 dollars).
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 ($91,371 in 2018 dollars) with a winner's share of $1,000 ($18,274 in 2018 dollars).
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); the field recorded 20 rounds under par. The purse was $14,900 and the champion earned $5,000 ($139,530 and $46,822 in 2018 dollars).
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, the 33-year-old Arnold Palmer, in a Sunday playoff round in Palmer's "backyard".
Both competitors had completed the 72 holes with a 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 ($675,871 and $144,948 in 2018 dollars).
Following an overnight rainstorm, Miller entered the final round in 12th place at three-over, six strokes behind the four co-leaders. 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 ($1.24 million and $197,537 in 2018 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
|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||4||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|
|10||462||4||Driver, 5-iron to 25 feet, 2 putts||4||par||–4|
|11||371||4||Driver, wedge to 14 feet||3||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 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 ($1.27 million and $181,119 in 2018 dollars).
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 279 (–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). 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 ($2.96 million and $540,925 in 2018 dollars).
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. 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. 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 ($8.46 million and $1.52 million in 2018 dollars).
Oakmont is scheduled to host its tenth U.S. Open in 2025, as announced by the USGA in June 2016.
Quotes from notable golfers
- 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."
- 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."
- Phil Mickelson: "It's really a neat, special place."
- Johnny Miller: "It's probably the best course in the world . . . This is the greatest course I've ever played."
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."
- Arnold Palmer: "You can hit 72 greens [in regulation] in the Open at Oakmont and not come close to winning."
- Rocco Mediate said of the greens that they are "almost impossible"
- Sam Snead once quipped that he tried to mark his ball on one of Oakmont's greens but the coin slid off.
- Lee Trevino claimed every time he two-putted at Oakmont he knew he was passing somebody on the leader board.
- Johnny Miller said that Oakmont's are the greatest set of greens for testing a player's ability to putt.
- USGA Sr. Director Mike Davis: "[Oakmont's greens are the] scariest in golf."
The stimpmeter, a device for measuring the speed of greens, was developed by Edward Stimpson (1904–1985), an accomplished amateur player from Massachusetts, shortly after attending the 1935 U.S. Open at Oakmont.
- List of National Historic Landmarks in Pennsylvania
- National Register of Historic Places listings in Allegheny County, Pennsylvania
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- USOpen.com - 2006 - history - past champs - 1973
- Elling, Steve (June 12, 2007). "Miller's magical 63 in '73 a round to remember". CBS Sports. Retrieved June 2, 2012.
- USOpen.com - Oakmont 1994
- USOpen.com - scoring
- 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.
- Parascenzo, Marino (Summer 2007). "The Course Loved 'Round the World". Pittsburgh Quarterly. Retrieved 2010-06-10.
- Dulac, Gerry (2007-06-10). "Oakmont Country Club: Awakening of The Beast". Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. Retrieved 2007-06-17.
- Dvorchak, Robert (June 13, 2007). "Reading the greens". Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. p. E-6.
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- Official website
- USGA's series on "America's Toughest Course Part I"
- U.S. Open video of all eight tournaments at Oakmont
- U.S. Open.com – 2007 U.S. Open Fact Sheet
- 2007 U.S. Open – course statistics – all rounds
- Oakmont Guide at GolfClubAtlas.com
- GCSAA.org – superintendents' fact sheet – 2007 U.S. Open
- Description of Oakmont's clubhouse