One of golf’s classic tests of precision golf will once again host the U.S. Open, for a sixth time since 1929. The rich history at Winged Foot’s West course includes a playoff win by Bobby Jones (by 23 shots); an unbelievable collapse by Phil Mickelson in ’06 and the devastatingly tough 1974 U.S. Open, dubbed the Massacre at Winged Foot for bringing players to their knees. In that ’74 championship, Jack Nicklaus putted off the first green, the cut-line was 14-over-par and the winner, Hale Irwin, took the title with a seven-over-par mark—leading to the famous quote from the late Sandy Tatum: “We’re not trying to embarrass the best players in the world; we’re trying to identify them.”
Why is this A.W. Tillinghast design so hard? At first glance, the tree-lined layout might not intimidate. But try hitting approaches from thick rough to some of golf’s most notorious putting surfaces, and even the best players in the world will struggle. Which is why Winged Foot (West) is a favorite U.S. Open venue of many. Take a master class in what makes the top-ranked Westchester County, N.Y., course so interesting by watching our exclusive drone video with hole-by-hole commentary from our Senior Architecture Editor Ron Whitten. You might be happy you’ll be watching the U.S. Open rather than playing this 7,477-yard par-70 brute.