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Trump to open pricey new public golf course in NYC

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Trump Golf Links at Ferry Point — New York City’s first new course in 52 years — started booking tee times on Wednesday, and Donald Trump already has big plans for the venue.

Book a tee time here.

The $269 million collaboration between Trump and course designer Jack Nicklaus is the most expensive public golf facility ever built in the United States, according to Bloomberg Business.

TrumpFerryPoint

Some holes on the course have views of the Manhattan skyline.

The course sits on the east side of the Bronx-Whitestone Bridge that connects New York City’s Bronx and Queens Boroughs. It was expected to open in 2001, but was pushed back due to cost, landscape, environmental and legal issues.

Trump took over the project in 2011, and Ferry Point is now scheduled to open on April 1, 2015.

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The links-style course sits on a 222-acre former landfill, with dunes that reach heights of 55 feet

As expected, greens fees are not cheap.

One round of golf ranges from $141 for New York City residents on weekdays, up to $215 on weekends for non-residents, with discounts for juniors and seniors.

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Ferry Point is reportedly slated to host the The Barclays in 2017, an event that has held the first round of the PGA Tour’s FedEx Cup Playoffs since 2007, and hopes to land a U.S. Open at the venue one day, as well.

Trump is no stranger to hosting professional tournaments at his 18 golf destinations across the world.

  • Trump National Doral has hosted the WGC-Cadillac Championship for the past two years.
  • Trump National Golf Club Los Angeles is set to host the PGA Grand Slam of Golf in October.
  • Trump National in Bedminster (New Jersey) is scheduled to host the 2017 U.S. Women’s Open.
  • Trump National in Bedminster is scheduled to host the 2022 PGA Championship.

Other notable courses in Trump’s stable include Trump International Golf Links in Scotland, Trump International Golf Club Doonbeg in Ireland, Trump Turnberry in Scotland, Trump International Golf Club Puerto Rico and Trump National Golf Club in Washington D.C.

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Andrew Tursky is the Editor-in-Chief of GolfWRX. He played on the Hawaii Pacific University Men's Golf team while earning a Masters degree in Communications. He also played college golf at Rutgers University, where he graduated with a Bachelor of Arts in Journalism.

43 Comments

43 Comments

  1. Jim

    Mar 27, 2015 at 10:29 am

    Why are some so concerned about garbage and riff raff on their course (snobs)? I think it is much more important to grow the game, such a wonderful game should not be for the rich and arrogant only. If you feel that way join a country club and shoot your 90 plus scores and have your caddy tell you how great you are, for a big tip.

    I just don’t get it.

  2. MyBluC4

    Mar 26, 2015 at 4:23 pm

    Many years past due, many millions over budget. Taypayer money. No real taxpayer benefit.
    Stunning looking track and is probably a terrific golf experience that, because of price will be the domain of those willing and able to pay the fare. Too bad.
    Love the game and the fact that there are courses in NYC to play, but this one is too rich for my blood. I think the city counsel caved just to get the course done after many years of legal bickering.
    Not a good example of city governance or collective responsibility. Still wish I could play it.

  3. Robbie

    Mar 25, 2015 at 1:35 pm

    The cost keeps the garbage players off the course. Period. The reason garbage players don’t clog bethpage black as much is because the course is so tough and unplayable for bad players.

  4. Philip

    Mar 18, 2015 at 12:16 pm

    Before I started reading the comments I was thinking – this looks like a landfill site – and voila, it is. I’ve seen the same happen north of Toronto, Canada. Closed the landfill and the next year a golf course was on it, two years after condos going in. The thing about landfills is that underneath this course is garbage (toxic too most likely). I used to live on a land fill without knowing (thousands of homes) and they had detectors for years until I guess the poisonous gas levels dropped enough and they pulled up the sensors and slapped on another thousand or so homes on the remaining vacant land. You would see some pretty interesting animals around the community. Imagine paying those prices to play on top of garbage – I just hope no one if unfortunate to fall into a sink hole, which I can see as a real risk.

  5. Brooklyngolfer

    Mar 18, 2015 at 11:35 am

    This is a disgrace! I think all NYC golfers have been waiting for this course to open. Now that it is, it’s not worth it. $215 for a weekend tee time! So for some reason Trump/NYC think it’s worth more than 3 times the amount than it is to play Bethpage Black?
    I think everyone should boycott this course until there are some HEAVY reductions for NYC locals….Oh, also, they conveniently placed the entrance just after the toll as well, so add $12 to your $215 round for that too. Trump and NYC officials should be ashamed of themselves!

    • BxTeacher

      Mar 20, 2015 at 8:37 am

      I was really looking forward to the opening of this course as I work about 5 minutes drive away. Unfortunately, since Trump got his fat meatpaws involved in the project the prices skyrocketed and now it’s a damn fortune to play. Originally, I read the fees were supposed to be $115-125 for the highest cost tee times (weekend, non-res). It’s a real shame that something that could have been really decent for the area has turned into a really shitty hand out to some rich, petrified wood-looking douche.

    • mike

      Mar 20, 2015 at 4:02 pm

      You (NYC golfer) makeup less than 1% of the population. The 99% don’t care about the cost of the greens fee since they will never play golf anyway. I hate Trump but there is no doubt this project is great for the city and the surrounding area.

  6. Homer

    Mar 17, 2015 at 7:50 pm

    What will The Donald sue NYC for during this venture? Miami was an airport, LA was an earthquake, will it maybe be a change in the skyline in NYC? Nothing like suing a municipality to help finance a golf course. Stayed tuned because you know it’s coming.

  7. Rich

    Mar 17, 2015 at 6:09 pm

    Despite the price, the golf course looks amazing! I can understand why people might be a bit pissed off though. If NYC residents were promised a golf course that was reasonably priced, that’s not exactly the case.

  8. LI Golfer

    Mar 17, 2015 at 4:37 pm

    This course will quickly become the domain of the Asian golfer from Northern Queens. And the average round will be quite long. The gentlemen will play from only the Blue Tees and will not hit a fairway wood or a hybrid on a par 3 despite the length. There is considerable wagering and the putting will not include gimmees. That and drunk businessmen. And wait until NY Golf Shuttle gets into someone’s pocket for the best tee times, you wont be able to get on at all on the weekends unless you drop 500 bucks……..Might get them out of Bethpage’s pocket.

    PONY UP NY Golf Shuttle will secure your tee time and provide round-trip transport (assuming a Manhattan pickup) $500 per person (includes greens fee and round-trip transport from Manhattan) hassle-free, stress-free and well rested for some punishment sure to come.

    • nyc

      Mar 18, 2015 at 5:19 am

      So your basic complaints are Asian golfers and cost? I live/play near NYC and Asian golfers are no slower/faster than anyone else. It may seem like they play slow but that’s because they stick out to people like you (grumpy old white man who hate anyone different or new playing golf). As for the cost? It’s NYC!!! It’s Donal Trump!!! Did you see the pics? Did you read the building cost? What do you expect? If you’re looking for no asians and cheap golf, NYC is definitely not the right place for you.

      • LI Golfer

        Mar 19, 2015 at 10:17 am

        No complaints about Asian golfers local to that area, just an observation and prediction.

        As far as cost, I dont care, I dont have to play it and dont pay taxes in NYC. I personally think that an NYC golf facility, paid for with City money on City owned land should be made available to NYC residents at a reasonable cost. If you looked at the demographic of NYC, how many would realistically be able to afford 169.00 for a round of weekend golf???? And what about locally in the Bronx. I just dont think Trump and Municipal golf facility go together, unless he is buried somewhere on it. Oh but its sooo nice and its Donald Trump………..Then let Trump buy the land, at market value and he can charge what ever he wants and pay taxes on his “investment”

        How the f#@k could it cost $269 million to build a golf course on an empty field? Frankly, they should have put up some condos on this space to generate more income for NYC. And he should have had to fix the soccer fields and bathrooms on the west side of the bridge.

        • mike

          Mar 20, 2015 at 3:31 pm

          You don’t pay taxes in NYC… So why do you care? Since you mentioned the demographics of NYC. 99.9% of NYC residents are non regular golfers, so I don’t think they really care what the cost of the greens fee will be. All they care about is if the project will be good for the city. The course itself will definitely be profitable, the property values around the course will rise, and the course will bring major events to NYC. Don’t get me wrong, I hate Trump. But it’s not like he stole some exclusive piece of property from nyc, it was a toxic landfill with absolutely no value with a project that was going no where.

  9. Scud

    Mar 17, 2015 at 1:00 pm

    Lido Beach Golf Club still has the best finishing 3 holes in NY 😉

  10. The90sAreHere

    Mar 17, 2015 at 2:49 am

    $269 Million dollar collaboration and yet they could not be bothered to spend even 1% ($2.69 Million) or less on a decent website?

    The levels of sadness this website exuberates would make even the happiest of felines bellow in agony.

    And no, this comment was not made by a spam bot 🙂

  11. Jordan

    Mar 16, 2015 at 5:03 pm

    Unfortunately, when NYC handed over the keys to Trump, that was the sign that this course was not going to be for the same crowd that plays on the other NYC public courses. There was hope when it was rumored that greens fees would be roughly double those of the others, but peak time fees are nearly triple. I play at the other courses as a single mostly, so I have gotten paired up with a good sample of the public-golf-playing demographic in the area. They, and I, are not the types to shell out that kind of cash on a regular basis. Once in a while, sure, it will be fun to play. But the 6+ hour rounds are not going anywhere at the other courses.

  12. Brad

    Mar 16, 2015 at 12:07 pm

    I didn’t see a SINGLE tree…. LOL

    • ken

      Mar 16, 2015 at 12:17 pm

      And you won’t…It’s a capped landfill….And despite the outrageous and exclusive price to play, one has to travel through a pretty dicey neighborhood to get to the course.
      Trump, who as a non nonsense business person, I admire, has this idea in his head at quote: “golf is an aspirational game”..What Trump means is only those who have achieved a certain level of financial success should be playing golf…Hence the reason why almost every golf property he owns or his company operates is either a private members only club or in the case of daily fees, the prices are out of reach for most golfers.
      I object to that.

      • JOEL GOODMAN

        Mar 16, 2015 at 8:26 pm

        I LOVE IT.. KEEPS THE RIFF RAFF AND THE ONCE A YEAR HACKERS OUT AND THE GAME GOES BETTER WITHOUT THEIR CLOGGING UP THE COURSE.

    • JOEL GOODMAN

      Mar 16, 2015 at 8:25 pm

      DO YOU KNOW WHAT A LINKS COURSE IS? DO YOU HAVE ANY GOLF COURSE ARCHITECTURAL KNOWLEDGE? OBVIOUSLY NOT.

      • Joe Golfer

        Mar 17, 2015 at 12:50 am

        Did you notice that the original post by Brad ended with the “LOL”.
        In other words, his post was meant as a joke, because, yes, he does know what a links course is.

      • Realisitic

        Mar 17, 2015 at 10:27 am

        do you know what a caps lock key is?

  13. mlamb

    Mar 16, 2015 at 11:48 am

    there are already plenty of cheap golf courses in the NY area. if anything, this will help regulate the outrageous (6+ hours) pace of play at most all public courses near the city.

    • ken

      Mar 16, 2015 at 12:27 pm

      Actually ,you’re wrong. Every three or so years, Golf Digest rates access to public golf by price, pace of play, value, quality of facilities and other criteria. The ratings are divided by location using the top 3330 or so Metropolitan Statistical Areas ( MSA’s)…..In every survey, The NYC/Long Island MSA is rated LAST in access to public golf…The Bergen/Passaic/Hudson Counties MSA is right down there with NYC….The fact is that there are far more golfers than the public facilities can handle.
      As for your theory that exclusionary pricing will reduce crowded conditions at Ferry Pt…..Have fun trying to get a tee time at Bethpage, the most expensive state park golf in the NYS System….The courses, especially Black, are always packed….
      I think the Ferry pt course will get some play initially, but the novelty will wear of as will the patience of New Yorkers trying to find a round of golf for a reasonable fee. Quite frankly, any rack rate over $50 or $60 for public golf doesn’t cut it.
      And with golf participation in steady decline, the golf industry is flailing

      • mlamb

        Mar 16, 2015 at 1:58 pm

        ken – i live in ny and i can tell you firsthand that every nearby course is absolutely packed during the season. most these places are absolute dogtracks that charge $60+. the reason bethpage is so crowded is because it offers a very generous discount to those with an ny license.

        it’s honestly so bad that i had to join a private club

      • JOEL GOODMAN

        Mar 16, 2015 at 8:30 pm

        LOOKS LIKE THESE COMMENTATORS HAVE NEVER STEPPED FOOT IN FLORIDA. COME PLAY ANY OF OUR BETTER PUBLIC ACCESS COURSE IN SEASON AND BE PREPARED TO START AT $100 A ROUND. tHE BEST RESORT COURSES ARE IN THE $300-500 PER ROUND RANGE AND THE TEE TIMES ARE FULL DECEMBER THROUGH APRIL.. IN THE SUMMER THE RATES ARE ABOUT HALF.

        • PT

          Mar 16, 2015 at 10:43 pm

          You have completely missed the point and lack of knowledge is arrogant. A $115 round is completely different from a $215 round. Also, this is not a resort it but rather an 18 hole golf course in the Bronx. Killer views yes but this was never meant to be a $300 novelty resort course. Let me fill you in – the whole purpose was to develop a course for residents of NYC to have a convenient and reasonable place to play. Original budget was only like $30 million and is now coming in close to $250 million. Oh yea, not to mention it has all been funded by NYC taxpayer dollars. So you can see why the average joe promised reasonably priced rounds would be a little pissed, he paid for the course. Budget is blown by 10 times so they need to make it up somewhere, luckily for Trump he doesn’t have to start paying rent back to the city for 2 years and can reap it in during the honeymoon period. At a $100, like ANY BETTER PUBLIC ACCESS COURSE, I would probably play it a few times a month. But at $215 plus NY tax plus $35 for a f$%cking cart for a course the public paid for you are out of your mind to think thats ok, and I’m a republican!

        • Realisitic

          Mar 17, 2015 at 10:28 am

          But golf in Florida is flat, boring, and you have to be in Florida to do it

          No thanks

        • gdb99

          Mar 17, 2015 at 6:27 pm

          I was in Florida to play golf the last week in February, in the Tampa area.
          I played some the better public courses, like Dunedin Country Club, where the PGA Headquarters used to be, and never paid over $50.

          I have enjoyed playing Bethpage a number of times, since I live in CT. I would like to play this course but, listening to these stories of who paid for the course, it’s original intent for an affordable place to play, I’m not so sure now.

          And Joel, your caps lock is on.

  14. HBL

    Mar 16, 2015 at 11:42 am

    According to Trump, in a Golf Digest interview, golf should be aspirational; in other words, played by very rich people. Since I don’t have an eight figure portfolio I don’t think I can (should or will) play this course, or any other of his other courses. I am looking forward to my fall trip to Bandon Dunes however.

    • Bogus

      Mar 16, 2015 at 12:47 pm

      Lol Trump is an obnoxious insecure corporate fiend. Most of the field in his events then don’t deserve to play golf lol, I would say the majority came from families that wouldn’t be considered overly wealthy, some came from literally nothing. Trump sucks at golf, so do most of his business buddies. Golf should be played by everyone and anyone who loves the game, just like any other sport. We don’t need corporate rats like Trump telling us how to organize our hobbies.

  15. TK

    Mar 16, 2015 at 11:41 am

    Guys,
    It does look like a challenge but I would like to thank Mr Trump for putting his time and $$$ into this track that, without him, would still be in a state of disarray.

    For all those who complained about 7000+ yards, why don’t you try playing from the teebox that suits your game? I am sure that there are tees from 6500 / 5900/5200 yds for everyone to enjoy…I personally enjoy a tough track. I am a fairly long hitter, play to a 7 hdcp and enjoy a tough (but fair) challenge. I am sure there’s something for everyone out there.

    Finally, if it’s too hard to play, why would you go play Bethpage instead? Isn’t the Black (and from what I’ve heard – the Red) some of the toughest tracks around?

    I look forward to coming to NJ for my best friend’s 50th. Our 4some plans on playing Bethpage Black, Trump @ Fairy Point, Liberty National and Bayonne (I have friends in high places that can get us on these wonderful courses)…

    Cheers, TK

    • PT

      Mar 16, 2015 at 2:07 pm

      Trump didn’t have to dump loads of money into this. He leases the course from the city. Only had to put out $10 million in equity to build the clubhouse. Also, he has 2 or 3 years of rent abatement. Pretty sweet deal.

      • IJP

        Mar 16, 2015 at 9:54 pm

        dont forget the free water. irrigation is everything.

  16. adolfo

    Mar 16, 2015 at 10:58 am

    and then the powers at be wonder why its so damn difficult to play golf……..how about you lower the prices and shorten the courses a little bit. I mean most of us cant last on a 7000 yd course for that amount of money. (sorry for the rant)

    • ken

      Mar 16, 2015 at 12:29 pm

      Leave your ego in the car….Play from forward tees. Simple.
      Please do not be one of these dopes who slow down play because in spite of their 20+ handicap “paid to see the whole course”….

    • Steve

      Mar 16, 2015 at 12:45 pm

      And they make other tee boxes for people that can’t last on 7,000 yard courses…

  17. PT

    Mar 16, 2015 at 10:36 am

    I thought the goal of NYC was to keep this place affordable when they originally set out to build it. It will get play for the novelty but can’t see many people making regular trips to this place. I will play it once but then gladly keep playing Bethpage where I can basically play the Black 3 times for those green fees.

  18. yaisaidit

    Mar 16, 2015 at 12:25 am

    i get the ‘privilege’ to drive by this beauty on my way to paying tolls each morning for work. looks awesome from what i can tell but it’ll be too difficult for the avg. joe. i never get bored with bethpage!

  19. Guantanemo

    Mar 15, 2015 at 11:47 pm

    I’ve seen the course from the sky multiple times as I flew to and from JFK. I’d always wondered what it was, because it looked awesome. Hope to go play there someday.

  20. slider

    Mar 15, 2015 at 9:37 pm

    if trump keeps crying I am sure he will get a us open soon

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Courses

Branson, Missouri Continues to Evolve as a Golf Destination

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If you think you know Branson, Mo., it’s time to think again. While the live music venues that put the bucolic Ozark Mountains town on the map continue to thrive, its reputation as a top notch golf destination has grown … and continues to evolve.

Heck, golfers who’ve visited just a few years ago will find the scene almost unrecognizable. Sure, the awe-inspiring Top of the Rock — designed by legendary Jack Nicklaus and holding the honor of being the first-ever par-3 course to be included in a professional PGA championship — is as striking as ever, but its sister course, Buffalo Ridge, has undergone a metamorphosis.

No. 15 at Buffalo Ridge

Designed by renowned architect Tom Fazio and originally opened in 1999, Buffalo Ridge has done the unthinkable – make its list of previous accolades pale in comparison to what now graces the land. In conjunction with owner and visionary conservationist Johnny Morris, Fazio has exposed massive limestone formations, enhanced approaches and added water features to make every hole more memorable than the last.

Jack Nicklaus and Tom Fazio masterpieces not enough? Gary Player has stamped his signature in the Ozarks with the recently opened Mountain Top Course. This 13-hole, walking-only short course is unlike anything you’ve ever played.

Strap your bag to a trolley and let your imagination dictate your round. There are stakes in the ground with yardage markers nearby, but they’re merely suggestions. Play it long or play it short. Play it from different angles. The only mandate is to enjoy the course, nature and camaraderie.

No. 10 at Mountain Top

The Mountain Top greens are huge and as smooth as putting on a pool table. Nearly as quick, too. And the bunkers are as pristine as the white sands of an isolated Caribbean beach. Capping off your experience, the finishing hole plays back to the clubhouse and the green boasts multiple hole locations that enhance golfers’ chances at carding an ace. Hard to imagine a better way the end an already unforgettable round.

It shouldn’t take you much longer than two hours to get around Mountain Top Course. If it does, you were likely admiring the stunning panoramas. One notable addition to those views is Tiger Woods’ (TGR Design) first public access design — Payne’s Valley (named to honor Missouri golfing legend Payne Stewart) — which is full speed ahead on construction and scheduled to open in 2019. As a treat, the 19th hole was designed by Morris. Named “The Rock,” it’s a short par-3 that promises to be amazing.

Payne’s Valley will be both family-friendly and challenging. It has wide fairways and ample landing areas along with creative angles and approaches that shotmakers love and expect from a championship course.

If two years is too long to wait for new golf, then Morris and his Big Cedar Lodge have you covered with the yet-to-be-named ridge-top course by the industry’s hottest design team of Bill Coore and Ben Crenshaw. With all the heavy lifting complete, the Ozarks is scheduled to be unveiled in 2018.

The Ozark Mountains form the backdrop on No. 5 at Buffalo Ridge.

Once opened, this par-71 (36-35) track will play “firm and fast” and offer multiple avenues into each green. Both Coore and Crenshaw bristle at the notion that there’s only one way to approach the playing surface. Bring it in high or run it along the ground. Considering the exposed nature of the course and propensity for high winds, the latter may be your best option.

There’s more. Tiger won’t be finished with Branson when he wraps up Payne’s Valley. He’s also designing a family-friendly par-3 course on the grounds of Big Cedar Lodge. There isn’t a date attached to this project, so stay tuned.

These new tracks join the likes of Thousand Hills, Branson Hills and Pointe Royale Golf Village to make Branson a powerful player on the golf destination scene. Combine that with world-class fishing and camping, as well as countless museums, restaurants and points of interest and this bustling Ozarks town is a must-visit spot in Middle America.

Learn more or plan your trip at explorebranson.com.

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Ari’s Course Reviews: Oakmont Country Club

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Editor’s Note: Ari Techner is a well-traveled, golf-course connoisseur who’s setting out to review the best golf courses in the world. The views and opinions expressed in these reviews are his own. 

Oakmont Country Club. The name alone strikes fear into the heart of any mortal golfer. Oakmont has a reputation for difficulty unmatched in the golf world; it’s fear forged in the public’s eye while watching best players in the world struggle during the U.S. Open every 10-plus years or so. There is a notion that Oakmont could hold a U.S. Open just about any day of the year. This is not a course that needs to be tweaked from its daily setup to test the best in the world.

All that said, a close look at the course reveals that there is so much more to Oakmont than just difficulty. Since around 1950, MANY courses have been built with the dilebrate intention of holding a U.S. Open. Most, if not all, of these courses are filled with water hazards, extremely long holes and very little variety. Oakmont is the exact opposite of that, and this is what is at the core of its greatness.

A view from the ninth fairway

Oakmont Country Club first opened in 1903 and was designed by Henry Fownes, who built it because he felt the other courses around Pittsburgh were not difficult enough. The course was constantly tweaked in the early years by Fownes and his son William. Both Fownes were accomplished players with William winning the U.S. Amateur in 1910 and serving as the playing captain of the first U.S. Walker Cup team in 1922.

Trees, or no trees?

The 18th tee

The course was extremely influential in the development of early golf courses in America. It was equally influential in future years by setting trends that have changed the way many other courses have evolved. When Oakmont opened, it was built in an open field and had no trees on the course, adding to the links-like flavor that Fownes wanted from his visits overseas. In the 1950s (after all the Fownes had left the club) Oakmont added thousands of non-native trees to line the corridors of the holes, a look that was a heavy trend of the time. This work was mostly done by Robert Trent Jones, who also modified the bunkers to fit more of his style of the time.

The course continued to evolve over the years with the bunkers being restored by Tom Fazio… but the trees remained. In preparation for the 2008 U.S. Open, Oakmont cut down thousands of trees, returning the course to its open, windswept origins. This was very controversial among the members, and much of the work was done in the middle of the night in the off-season so as not to cause a big stir. After 2008, thousands more trees have been cut down, opening all of the amazing long views across the property. You can see almost every hole on the property from just about every spot on the course. Oakmont was the first course to embrace this massive tree removal and it has turned into a trend with hundreds of classic courses removing their non-native trees and going back to their more open original layouts.

Oakmont is the only course that Fownes designed and I believe that contributes greatly to its uniqueness. Fownes’ version of difficulty did not include artificial water hazards, out of bounds or excessive bunkering fronting greens, and it did not rely simply on longer-than-average holes to challenge the golfer. Instead, it has an amazingly varied mix of holes that challenge the golfer in a variety of ways both mentally and physically. Overall, the course requires you to be a straight driver of the ball, a good iron player and to have a deft short game and putting touch. You also need to be able to think your way around the course while you execute the shots you choose at a high level.

A good variety

Oakmont has its share of length with long par 4s, such as hole Nos. 1, 10, 15 and 18, the monster par-5 12th and long par 3s such as Nos. 8 and 16.  What sets the course apart to me, however, are the short holes and the holes that require strategic decision-making off the tee. These include short par 4s such Nos. 2, 11 and 17 and mid-length par 4s including Nos. 5 and 14.  These holes can be just as difficult as the long ones, and they require a completely different skill set.  The short par-3 13th and short par-5 9th (plays as a par 4 for the U.S. Open) round out what is an amazing set of shorter holes.

A view of the ninth fairway from across the Pennsylvania Turnpike

The course uses the natural movement of the site very well and has a tight, extremely walkable routing despite being bisected by the Pennsylvania Turnpike at the bottom of the hill in the middle of the property. I particularly love the fallaway greens at 1, 10, 12, and to a lesser degree 3 and 15 where the front of the green is higher than the back. This is a unique look that you do not see in the USA very often. Without the little backboard that a back-to-front sloping green provides, you must hit the ball solid or execute a well played run-up shot to hold the green. The short par 4s tempt the long hitter just enough to make them think about hitting driver, but wayward shots are punished enough to make most think twice. The 17th, at a little under 300 yards, could be the hardest hole on the course, and yet it is definitely drivable for the right player who hits a great drive. The small and extremely narrow green requires a short shot be hit the perfect distance if you decide to lay up to the right down the fairway. Hit it even a little short and you end up in the aptly named “Big Mouth” bunker which is extremely deep. Hit it a hair long or with not enough spin to hold the green and you end up rolling over the green into one of a few smaller bunkers. Carry the bunkers on the left side off the tee into the sliver of fairway up by the green and you have a short, open shot from a much better angle into the fatter part of the green. Such risk/reward and great use of angles is paramount to Oakmont’s genius.

Green complexes are…complex

The green on the 18th hole

Oakmont also sports one of the best sets of greens anywhere in the world.  They are all heavily contoured and very challenging, yet playable. You can certainly make putts out there if you are putting well, but get on the wrong side of the hole and you are left with an extremely difficult, but rarely impossible 2 putt. They are also very unique due to Fownes only designing one course, as they do not look like any other classic course; they have a feel all their own. They are mostly open in front, coming from the correct angle, and they have many squarish edges. They also cut the tight fringe far back into the fairway, which aids in run-up shots; it also gives a great look where the green and the fairway blend together seamlessly.

The bunkering is also very unique and very special… and they are true hazards. Find yourself in a fairway bunker off the tee, and you are likely wedging out without much of any chance of reaching the greens. The green-side bunkers are fearsome, very deep and difficult. The construction of the bunkers is unique too — most of them have very steep and tall faces that were built up in the line of play. Oakmont is also home to one of the most famous bunkers in golf; the “Church Pews” bunkers — a large, long rectangular bunker between the fairways of holes 3 and 4 with strips of grass in the middle like the pews in a church. There is also a smaller “Church Pews” bunker left of the fairway off the tee on hole 15. Hit it into one of these two bunkers and good luck finding a decent lie.

Ari’s last word

All-in-all, along with being one of the hardest courses in the world, Oakmont is also one of the best courses in the world. It is hard enough to challenge even the best players in the world day-in and day-out, but it can easily be played by a 15-handicap without losing a ball. It is extremely unique and varied and requires you to use every club in your bag along with your brain to be successful. Add that to a club that has as much history as any other in the county, and Oakmont is one of golf’s incredibly special places.

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Coming Up: A Big Golf Adventure

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My name is Jacob Sjöman, and I’m a 35-year-old golf photographer who also enjoys the game we all love. I will be sharing some experiences here on a big golf trip that we are doing. With me I’ve got my friend Johan. I will introduce him properly later, but he is quite a funny character. According to Johan, he is the best golf photo assistant in the world, and we will see about that since this is probably his biggest test yet doing this trip. Previously on our trips, Johan almost got us killed in Dubai with a lack of driving skills. He also missed a recent evening photo shoot in Bulgaria while having a few beers too many… and that’s not all.

Anyway, the last couple of days I’ve been packing my bags over and over. I came home from the Canary Islands this Sunday and I’ve been constantly checking and rechecking that we’ve got all the required equipment, batteries, and that the cameras are 100 percent functional and good to go for this golf trip. I’m still not sure, but in a couple of minutes I will be sitting in a taxi to the airport and there will be no turning back.

Where are we going then? We are going to visit some of the very best golf courses in New Zealand and Australia. There will be breathtaking golf on cliffsides, jaw-dropping scenic courses, and some hidden gems. And probably a big amount of lost balls with a lot of material produced in the end.

I couldn’t be more excited for a golf journey like this one. Flying around the globe to these special golf courses I’ve only dreamed about visiting before gives me a big kick and I feel almost feel like a Indiana Jones. The only thing we’ve got in common, though, is that we don’t like snakes. Australia seems to be one of the worst destinations to visit in that purpose, but all the upsides are massive in this.

First, we will take off from a cold Stockholm (it’s raining heavily outside at the moment) and then we will do our first stop at Doha in Quatar. Then after two more hours, we are finally heading off to Auckland on the north island of New Zealand, a mega-flight of 16 hours. I believe that could very well be one of the longest flights available for a ordinary airplane. I need to check that.

Flights for me usually mean work, editing photos from different golf courses I’ve visited, writing some texts, editing some films, and planning for the future. Last time, though, I finally managed to sleep a little, which is a welcome progress for a guy that was deadly scared of flying until 2008.

Now, I am perfectly fine with flying. A few rocky flights over the Atlantic Sea to Detroit helped me a lot, and my motto is now, “If those flights got me down on the ground safely, it takes a lot of failures to bring down a plane.”

Anyway, I hope you will join me on this golf trip. Stay tuned!

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19th Hole

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