US Open Course Preview And Playoff Format Changes

US Open Course preview is Sponsored by the TriState PGA.  Check out the for local events and information.

The US Open 2018 site, Shinnecock Hills Golf Club is one of the founding Club members of the USGA and is one of our Country’s great Golf Institutions.  Founded in 1891, Willie Davis designed the first 12 holes and the remaining 6 holes were finished and ready by 1895.   It has seen many revisions including a major overhaul that was completed in 2016.  This will be the first major tournament to take place on the course since the upgrades were done.


Shinnecock was built as a Links style course in the fashion of similar courses over in the British Isles.  With the rolling hills and long grasses, not to mention the wind that blows as the course sits East of Long Island in New York in Southhampton, there is more than just a resemblance to those courses across the pond.

Shinnecock has hosted the US Open in 1896, along with 1986(100 year anniversary),1995,2004, 2018 and 2026 as we look ahead.

The course has been lengthened with the upgrade as they have added 10 new tee boxes.  The previous 4 championships were played at just over 6900 yards.  This years tournament will be 7443 yards which is a significant increase.

In previous years, the wind was a factor but because of the trees and brush it was not as big as a factor as it could have been. So, Shinnecock took a page out of the Oakmont play book and eliminated trees and brush. Because of that, they are expecting the wind to be a much bigger factor.

The Fairways will in fact be a little wider averaging about 41 yards in width.  Though that is down from the avg 65 that they were set at not long ago.  Mike Davis the CEO stated that upgrades with the addition and expansion of some bunkers,will allow the Professionals to play the angles as it was originally intended and it will in fact bring the bunkers back into play.  Davis also stated that they have trimmed the areas around the green to allow for run off.  In prior years events, the rough was higher around the greens and because of that, the ball would get caught up there.   Davis stated that this is closer to the original set up.

That was then followed up by comments on the changes with the greens.

“And I think that brings me to the next part is another change that we saw and I would argue probably the most impactful change, although no one’s going to want to talk about it because everyone’s talking about added distance or narrower fairways. I really think the biggest difference for the U.S. Open is going to be how the club did a masterful job of taking the greens back to their original size from the 1930s.

If you look at some of those — in fact we have got it up on the screen, there’s a picture of the 6th green. What that does is it, the golf course instead of just small ovals that just happened over the years because of agronomics with mowing with tri-plexes and so on, this allows Shinnecock to be much more strategic, we get better hole locations and frankly it just, it makes for a better golf experience.

So I think it’s on and around the greens that maybe — and it’s subtle, but it’s really going to be the biggest difference I think for this U.S. Open.”



For sure the course changes will make a difference… especially if weather is involved.  But there will also be a slight format change worth mentioning just in case of a photo finish.


Format Change:

This year if by chance there is a tie at the end of the 72 holes, instead of an 18 hole playoff the next day, it will turn into a 2 hole playoff (weather permitting) on Sunday after the finish.   The reasons given is after the USGA consulted players, fans, and the other stakeholders involved, they determined everyone wants to see a winner on Sunday… not Monday.

The 2018 United States Open Championship is scheduled for June 14–17 at Shinnecock Hills Golf Club in Shinnecock Hills, New York, which is nearly 100 miles east of Long Island.




Author: Jhavelka