The Forecaddie: A few early impressions of Shinnecock

SOUTHAMPTON, NY - OCTOBER 04: EDITORS NOTE: Polarising filter used on the camera in this image; The clubhouse at sunset at Shinnecock Hills Golf Club the host venue for the 2018 US Open Championship on October 4, 2017 in Southampton, New York. (Photo by David Cannon/Getty Images) David Cannon/Getty Images

The Forecaddie: A few early impressions of Shinnecock

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The Forecaddie: A few early impressions of Shinnecock

The Forecaddie braved the 73-degree temperatures and light breezes to stroll around Shinnecock Hills and came away with a few thoughts.

  • Shortage of turf is not an issue, as it was at the 2004 U.S. Open. If you were worried about the place baking out and turning into another freak show, it won’t happen. The cool, wet spring has plenty of grass on fairways, greens and most noticeably, in the intermediate rough between fairway and natives. Superintendent Jon Jennings and his team have the place dialed in.
  • It will dry out in time. The forecast and world-famous drainage here means the course can bake out and speed up in a matter of days. There is only a 10-percent chance of significant rains over the next 10 days. Look for things to speed up as the week goes by, but if they played this weekend, scoring would be very good thanks to the receptiveness.
  • Marshals will have a stressful week. Golf balls will be hard to find even when players are almost right on top looking down. So to the all-important volunteers, the players will need you as sharp as ever when they stray into the dark-green fescues and bluestems.
  • Adjustments are still being made to rough lines. The Man Out Front was intrigued by one in particular outside the media center, where the tall stuff just off the first fairway was taken back a few paces.
  • The design has never looked better. Not that Shinnecock Hills ever looked like a run-down muni, but the combination of enlarged greens, removal of shrubbery, refreshed bunkering, better irrigation design and more sandy areas in the natives gives the place a scale more grand than ever.
  • The members got in one last round Saturday. That’s right, the folks giving up their course for a week and then some were getting to play right up to Saturday morning. TMOF was caught off guard by the site of shorts-wearing folks and their caddies out searching for balls. But the last part was perfectly understandable given just how penal things get when you stray offline. Gwk

 

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