Luxury Golf Courses: Who says that the Oakmont Country Club is a tough course? Well, when guys like Tiger Woods and Jim Furyk finish second in the U.S. Open tournament at six over par, it is a strong indicator that this golf course is a fairly challenging 18-hole play. Even the winner of the 2007 U.S. Open, Angel Cabrera, came in at five over par; and only 13 rounds at or below par were recorded for the entire four-day event. Golf Digest ranks Oakmont #5 in its most recent America's Top 100 Courses to-play list. Additionally, the same publication rated it as the fifth toughest course to play in America.
Numerous golf luminaries have won at Oakmont. Bobby Jones was the 1925 Amateur Champion; Tommy Armour won the 1927 U.S. Open; San Snead snared the 1951 PGA tournament; Ben Hogan (1953) and Jack Nicklaus (1962) won U.S. Opens on this course.
There are no surprises as Oakmont's fabled degree of difficulty begins at the very first hole. Hole #1 is a par-4 that is 482 yards long with a green that slopes away from players. Many pundits consider it the most difficult hole in golf. Hole #2 is a substantially shorter par-4 at 340 yards. However, the ditch to the left and a bunker to the right combined with a very narrow fairway makes getting to the green a daunting endeavor. Cruise ships have wider beams than the fairway that leads to the green.
Since its opening in 1903, it is likely that this Henry Fownes-designed course has prompted golfers to toss, throw, step on, or snap their woods, irons, and putters over the course's deep bunkers, slick, sloping greens, and tight fairways. Many golfers who have experienced Oakmont view Johnny Miller's 63 score at the final round of the 1973 U.S. Open incredulously. Miller must have been possessed, because there is no other way to explain how a mere mortal, albeit a PGA-tour professional, achieved such a low score.
When designing the 7,218-yard course in 1903, Henry Fownes set out to make it as difficult as possible. Mercifully, it is the only course that Mr. Fownes ever designed. In the 1990s, the course was renovated to recapture its original 1903 layout. Today's Oakmont has no trees or water traps. Its famous "church pew" rows in the bunkers between the third and fourth hole have made many golfers pause and request a little divine intervention to get through the day.
Oakmont Country Club has hosted more major golf tournaments than any course in the U.S. Eight U.S. Opens, five U.S. Amateurs three PGAs, one U.S. Women's Open, and many more. Located in the suburbs of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, the Oakmont Country Club is a national historic landmark.