Shinnecock Hills gets longer, more strategic for 2018 U.S. Open

USGA

Shinnecock Hills gets longer, more strategic for 2018 U.S. Open

PGA Tour

Shinnecock Hills gets longer, more strategic for 2018 U.S. Open

SOUTHAMPTON, N.Y – When the world’s best players tee it up here for the 2018 U.S. Open June 14-18, they’ll confront a golf course that is substantially different than the one they last faced in 2004.

The course has been stretched, sculpted, and restored to more of its original character as designed by architect William S. Flynn, whose plan for the course from the 1931 rerouting into the present configuration now hangs prominently in the clubhouse. Fairways have also been reshaped on the edge and in some cases, narrowed.

Jeff Hall, managing director, rules and open championships for the U.S. Golf Association, said that a decision to narrow the fairways marginally came upon reflection about the experience of the 2017 U.S. Open at Erin Hills, where uncommonly mild winds made the wide fairways readily accessible to players, diminishing the importance of skilled driving as a crucial element of championship golf.

“We want to make sure accurate driving is still part of the test, especially if the wind lies down,” said Hall.

An early look at the course hosted by the U.S. Golf Association on a spectacular fall day revealed considerable modifications to the course.

  • The par-70 layout has been lengthened by 446 yards, to 7,445. There are 17 new back tees, with the longest extensions (76 yards each) coming at the par-4 14th hole (now 519 yards) and the par-5 16th (616 yards)
  • A recent push to narrow the fairways marginally has seen the grounds staff convert seven of the layout’s 50 acres of shortgrass to rough. The idea is to create more strategic twist and turn to the fairways consistent with Flynn’s plan and to bring more fairway bunkers closer to the line of play. Fairway widths are still on the relatively generous side for U.S. Open, 28-34 yards in the championship landing areas. But their delineation pays close attention to the lay of the land and the role of airway bunkers.
  • No greens have been recontoured, despite the controversy of the final round of the 2004 U.S. Open, when an unanticipated dry wind from the northwest whipped across the site and turned the playing surfaces rock hard, with play suspended on the par-3 seventh hole as players were putting off the green into bunkers. On the most severely contoured par 3s, including the seventh and 11th, the surrounding run off areas have been extended and a modest collar of rough has been introduced around greenside bunkers to limit the likelihood of putts careening into bunkers.

 

 

 

Latest

More Golfweek
Home