The American Express

La Quinta, Calif.


Course Rankings

Oakland Hills Country Club (South)

Bloomfield Hills, Mich. / 7,445 Yards / Par 72 / Points: 64.6253

Laurence Lambrecht

May 03, 2021

21. Oakland Hills Country Club (South)

Donald Ross (1917)

Donald Ross felt his 1918 design was out-of-date for the 1951 U.S. Open and was prepared to remodel it. Sadly, he died in 1948, so Robert Trent Jones got the job. His rebunkering was overshadowed by ankle-deep rough, and after Ben Hogan closed with a 67, one of only two rounds under par 70 all week, to win his second consecutive Open, he complained that Jones had created a Frankenstein. Sixty plus years later, Oakland Hills is even longer, but its bite wasn’t severe when it hosted the 2016 U.S. Amateur. In 2019, the South course closed as Gil Hanse and his team significantly renovated the course with the intention of removing the Jones influences and restoring its Ross feel. The course re-opened in Spring 2021.

100 Greatest History: Ranked since 1966. Highest ranking: No. 8, 2003-04. Previous ranking: No. 20

Panelist comments:
“The stretch from the seventh hole through the 11th hole is one of the best in American golf. The mounding and various land forms on this five-hole stretch is truly amazing.”

“Oakland Hills is grand in every dimension. The entire grounds is huge and just oozes championship golf from every inch of the property. Massive landforms, great architecture and superb settings are can be seen in every direction.”

“The undulating Donald Ross greens are at the heart of Oakland Hills’ design. A misplayed shot to the wrong area of the green will be devastating. A missed green, and it can be almost impossible to get up and down from the wrong spot.”

“The land movement in spots is absolutely outstanding, especially for a course that was built more than 100 years ago. Nos. 10 and 11 are two of the best back-to-back par 4s I’ve ever played. The way they’ve utilized the natural contouring of the land ... incredible.”

Watch Golf Digest’s latest “Every Hole At” course videos below:

L.C. Lambrecht/Oakland Hills

L.C. Lambrecht/Oakland Hills

L.C. Lambrecht/Oakland Hills

L.C. Lambrecht/Oakland Hills

L.C. Lambrecht/Oakland Hills