Road Trip: Oakmont CC

I arrived home after a five hour drive from Pittsburgh yesterday having played Oakmont, without doubt one of the best in the world.

Some quick thoughts:

  • The club is quite friendly. We arrived for dinner Wednesday and just wandered into the clubhouse. Took about 10 minutes for someone to ask if we were meeting someone. Once we provided a name they asked if we wanted to look around the clubhouse while we waited. The golf library was quite good, and included a very early edition of Tom Doak’s Confidential Guide to Golf Courses. The photos of the various US Opens and US Amateurs was spectacular.
  • The greens are fascinating, and lived up to their billing. That said, they putted about 11, which the caddie said was the case for most of the year, especially when it was either too wet or too hot. There were still places where I ran putts by in the order of 15 feet, which isn’t something I do with any regularity.
  • There was a lot more elevation in the course than I expected, and I love the panoramic vistas you get without the trees. It is hard to envision the course with a forest now, especially since you can often see four or fives holes at any time. However, the course was wet (it rained substantially the night before we played), so it did not play firm and fast. Given a wind that blew at up to 35 mph, we played the member’s tees, which are about 6,500 yards. For what it is worth, I shot 83, which was pretty good given the conditions. The fairways are tight, but fair and the course was actually less difficult than I expected. I’d argue that Canada’s The National, is more difficult. I think the member I played with would agree.
  • The best holes — 1, 2, 3, 9, 10, 12, 18 — are remarkable and remarkably lay-of-the-land. Fairways tumbled along the angles of the property, making for some interesting approaches.
  • The long 4s — especially 18 — played awfully long in the wind. It was hard to imagine Angel Cabrera hitting driver wedge into 18. For me it was drive, 3-wood and a pitch into the wind.
  • Among the best 10 in the world? Yes. I’ve now played or seen all of them, and the most comparable one to Oakmont for me was Shinnecock, also a great US Open venue.

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Jeff Lancaster

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12 CommentsLeave a comment

  • As I stated elsewhere, I found Oakmont to be less difficult than everyone makes it out to be and believe The National plays more difficult.

    That doesn’t change the fact that it is one of the best in the world.

    Great course.

  • The National is tougher?
    Try stepping back about another 800 yards.

    BTW, 83 is a great score, even from that yardage.

  • I agree with Dick, Robert. 83 is a great, great score. You must have kept the ball in the fairways and on the greens for the most part, ’cause when you start to stray at Oakmont there’s a lot of trouble – as you know.

    For whatever it’s worth, Oakmont is definitely in my personal world top-10 (if not higher). Fantastic place, and a textbook on golf course architecture in so many ways.

  • Frankly 83 was lousy considering how I drove the ball. But my irons let me down and the holes into the wind (like 8, where I hit driver to the front of the green, but remember it is a par-3) were tough as nails and bogey was a good score. One messy hole (4).

    Not sure why it matters how I play — other than to say the greens weren’t that fast. I’m sure without an inch of rain the night before they would have been faster.

    Interestingly, the slope on the blue tees is only 134. I played a course in Erie the day before that sloped much higher, shot a better score, but didn’t think it was nearly as hard as Oakmont.

  • What was the Course Rating? The combination of Course Rating and Slope Rating determines a course’s difficulty, however Course Rating is the core measurement of difficulty.

  • The National harder? Not even close. Try Oakmont when it is firm and fast (as is usual) and it will make you wish you were in Woodbridge. I am former National member and I have the utmost respect for the course but its not in Oakmont’s league.

  • You have some tough readers, Robert.

    “Frankly 83 was lousy considering how I drove the ball.”

    This is part of the magic of Oakmont, and a common theme among the best courses: they always leave you feeling like you should have scored better. Figuring out why you didn’t often unlocks at least part of the mystery of the course.

    Glad to see you had fun, though that was never in doubt.

  • RT, told you that you would enjoy the course. For the record, I don’t feel the least bit guilty that I played the course around 10 days earlier in sunny 80 degree weather while you played in, well, crappy weather.

    Personally, found Oakmont both harder and fairer than the National.

  • […] Its always great to host friends with great insight and knowledge about the golf course that I’ve grown up playing. Robert and John are well traveled golfers and were fun to host. I am looking forward to Robert and John showing us the ropes in Canada & having them back to OCC when the weather allows for some more scoring!! I encourage you to read Robert’s remarks about his first time at Oakmont on his blog Going for the Green on –¬† […]

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