January 4, 2017

Oakmont Country Club

Oakmont, Pa. / 7,254 yards, Par 71 / Points: 68.6791
Stephen Szurlej

5. Oakmont Country Club

Henry Fownes (1903)/William C. Fownes Jr. & Emil Loeffler (R. 1920, 1926)/Robert Trent Jones (R. 1964)/Arnold Palmer & Ed Seay (R. 1978)/Arthur Hills (R. 1988, 1996)/Tom Fazio (R. 2001, 2005)

Once tens of thousands of trees (mostly planted in the 1960s) were removed, Oakmont's original penal design was re-established, with the game's nastiest, most notorious bunkers (founder-architect H.C. Fownes staked out bunkers whenever and wherever he saw a player hit an offline shot), deep drainage ditches and ankle-deep rough. Oakmont also has the game's swiftest putting surfaces, which were showcased during the U.S. Open in 2016, despite early rains that slowed them down a bit. The U.S.G.A. has already awarded the 2025 U.S. Open to Oakmont again, reinforcing its title as it the Host of the Most U.S. Opens ever.

100 Greatest History: Ranked since 1966. Highest ranking: No. 4, 2003-04, 2011-12. Previous ranking: 6


Panelist comments:
“Oakmont Country Club is the ultimate examination of golf. There are two things that do not get discussed enough about Oakmont: the narrowness of the fairways and the amount of internal fairway slope. The greens receive a lot of notoriety, but it's more about the speed than overall complexity of the complexes. Requires you to be extremely precise and quite long off the tee.”

“All the trees are completely gone from the interior of the course and opened up tremendous vistas...not to mention allowing the bunkers to stand on their own difficulty so that trees no longer block the approaches. And even more perimeter trees have been removed to create even more vistas, which looks fabulous.”

“With the lack of the trees now, you can see the entire course from each vantage point, which adds to the drama out there. The monster of a course is no longer hidden away by enormous Oak trees, you can't escape it from anywhere on property.”

“How about this for design variety? The first 6 holes: A long, downhill par-4, a short uphill par-4, a medium uphill par-4, a gettable par-5, a short par-4 and a short par-3. All six holes vary in fairway width, green size, hazard presence, and preferred approach angle. It is simply tough to beat.”

“The sloped fairways, the strategic bunkers and ditches, the diabolic speedy greens, the intimidating shots everywhere you turn—all tie together to bring together a collective continuity from beginning to end.”


Rick Stewart/Getty Images
Getty Images

Hole No. 2

Getty Images

Hole No. 3

Getty Images

Hole No. 18 / Photo by Fred Vuich/Getty Images

Getty Images

Hole. No. 4