Oakmont, PA, USA
I had the opportunity to play here in September 2017. It is hard to put into words how demanding this golf course is from the 1st tee to the 18th green. Oakmont has the reputation as being the hardest course in America, if not the world. Many US Open venues save the dramatic and often questionable setup of a US Open for the week prior, week of and the week after the event. Not Oakmont. Here they make it a year-round affair. Measuring 7,254 yards, it is by no means the longest of the US Open courses, in fact far from it, however the deep rough, diabolical green complexes and penalizing bunkering keep the heart rate elevated most of the day. Approaches not hit within inches of the intended landing zone can result in putts of 30-40 feet with multiple, severe breaks. I do know if I ever have the opportunity to play Oakmont again, it will likely be a scorecard disappointment in comparison to my first visit. One of my playing partners on that day was a former PGA Tour player and friend also enjoying his first round at the famed layout. On the first tee the head professional and assistant professional gave us an over/under of 75 for a minimal wager. I admit two lucky breaks on errant shots over the first 5 holes both led to birdies, however, from the 6th tee onward I played the best round of my life. A solitary bogey on the final hole resulted in a (-4) 66 to the US Open par of 70, members playing the course as a par 71. My playing partner also beat the betting number of 75, shooting a US Open (-1) 69. Playing this course once is a memory I will cherish and hope to enjoy again some day!
Top Image Photo Credit: © Gary Lisbon | https://www.golfphotos.com.au/ | IG: @garylisbongolf