The 18-hole Oakmont, located in Oakmont, Pennsylvania, constantly ranks as one of the best golf courses in the United States and the World by panel of experts from Golf Magazine. Featuring about 7,230 yards of golf from the longest tees for a par of 71, it has a course rating of 76.8 and a slope rating of 144.
Nestled in the gently rolling hills, Oakmont has hosted the US Open eight times, most recently in 2007. It also lays claim as the first golf club in the US to be designated as a National History Landmark. It is also very famous for its thick rough and extremely fast greens. Oakmont also takes pride of the turf-laden bunker between the 3rd and 4th fairways, popularly known as church pews.
Henry Fownes designed the championship golf course, the only one course he designed. While there have been some major changes over the century, the greens on this golf course remain as they were initially designed. Opened in 1903, it is widely considered as the most difficult golf course to play in the country.
Golf champion, Gene Sarazen, said Oakmont has “all the charm of a sock to the head.” Another legendary golfer, Johnny Miller, called it as the “most difficult test of golf in America.” Henry Fownes, the Club founder, even issued a warning: “Let the clumsy, the spineless, the alibi artist stand aside.”
What is it about Oakmont that supports such kind of talk? Well, its panoramic 456-yard 18th hole has been widely known as the best par-4 in golf. And the par-4, 482-yard opening hole was voted once as the most difficult in PGA Tour. It is a true golfer’s playground, with 200-plus bunkers, Scottish-style links without the water hazards, and super fast greens.
Another major defense is a medley of slick, and wildly contoured greens, reinforced by thick, tangled rough and ditches along the fairways. Par for members is 71, though this was reduced to a par 70 for the 2007 US Open players.