It’s a tradition here pre-U.S. Open: counting down the holes until Shinnecock Hills hosts a fourth modern-era U.S. Open over its magnificent William Flynn design.
Besides some excellent flyovers filmed in fall 2017 by the USGA, for added giggles I’m going to share–when helpful–the 1986 comments of P.J. Boatwright and the 1995 comments of David Eger. Both were the Senior Director of Rules prior to the U.S. Open at Shinnecock. Their comments appeared in the tournament programs.
For the 1986 U.S. Open, Boatwright said of the opening hole:
A pleasant starting hole that offers a sweeping view of the course from an elevated tee. You’ll see most players get off the tee with four-woods and one-irons since it’s a tight drive zone–one we narrowed from 46 yards to 28 yards. The green has been enlarged at the back left to provide a testing hole location behind the bunker at the left of the green.
Eger in 1995:
This is a great starter, as the elevated tee provides players with a sweeping view of the course. It’s a slight dogleg right and the prevailing wind quarters from left to right. Many players will use a fairway wood off the tee as the fairway is only about 30 yards off the tee.
The 2018 U.S. Open website description suggests a much different possibility than 1986 and 1995. It’s those foam rollers keeping them limber. And the roll of course!
This manageable opening hole plays from an elevated tee near the clubhouse. Players who hit driver will find that the fairway narrows dramatically as it nears the two fairway bunkers on the right side of the drive zone – from 47 yards wide at 275 yards, to 30 yards wide at the 300-yard mark. Under certain wind conditions, players might attempt to hit driver close to or onto the putting surface. It’s a birdie opportunity, but a player could make a quick bogey here as well.
Take a look for yourself: