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.