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.
Here is a look at No. 7.
Phil Mickelson said this week that Shinnecock’s 7th is a great par-3 until the USGA gets a hold of it and while he certainly has reason to be bitter–putting off the green Saturday of the 2004 U.S. Open due to faulty setup** and hole location and intentionally having to play to a greenside bunker in Sunday’s final round–the hole is mostly a victim of modern green speeds.
P.J. Boatwright on the 188-yard par-3 prior to the 1986 U.S. Open:
Our written instructions on the preparation of the course say, for this hole, “No changes required.” It is a terrific par-3 hole to a putting green perched on a plateau framed by handsome bunkering work. We think it will ask for a four- or five iron from most players. The green is considerably sloped from right to left; it will be a challenge.
The same yardage will be used this year, though the club of choice figures to be more like 7 and 8-irons instead of 4’s and 5’s. The USGA’s description:
This classic representation of the Redan hole at North Berwick in Scotland features a green that slopes from front right to back left, requiring precise distance control. The prevailing wind is typically against the player and slightly from the right. The back-left bunker will likely catch quite a few tee shots. Players who miss the green long will face a recovery shot back up the slope, and they must be wary of a ball not hit crisply enough rolling back toward them.
Architecturally, the hole is a fun, bizarre little par-3 but other than to one hole location really, shares little in common with the reason people love the original Redan’s playing characteristics.
Here is the video flyover, via the USGA: