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Mike Hendren

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Haven't been there and totally get its penal nature, but the USGA's excellent flyovers suggest ribbons of fairway in the driving zones flanked by ditches and bunkers.  Short of notching my belt and buying a vest, I can't fathom wanting to play there.

I know I'm likely wrong, but can't help but wonder:  Is it an exercise in flagellation for its members and guests (not that there's anything wrong with that!)?

Mike
Two Corinthians walk into a bar ....

Eric Smith

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Re: How can Oakmont be Great with Such Restricted Driving Zones?
« Reply #1 on: June 07, 2016, 10:58:26 AM »
Check out this video posted by Ray Floyd, Jr yesterday at Oakmont

JLahrman

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Re: How can Oakmont be Great with Such Restricted Driving Zones?
« Reply #2 on: June 07, 2016, 11:08:15 AM »
I agree Bogey. I've never played Oakmont, but something about it really appeals to me as a US Open site despite the fact that it has several elements which are generally decried here - narrow driving areas, thick rough, incredibly fast greens, etc.

Ronald Montesano

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Re: How can Oakmont be Great with Such Restricted Driving Zones?
« Reply #3 on: June 07, 2016, 11:15:30 AM »
Are the drive zones always narrow? I know the whole rigamarole about the greens being faster for daily play than the US Open. Do they completely alter the course cutting, as Merion did, when the US Open comes to town?
Maybe for 2022
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Phil McDade

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Re: How can Oakmont be Great with Such Restricted Driving Zones?
« Reply #4 on: June 07, 2016, 11:24:28 AM »
Are the drive zones always narrow? I know the whole rigamarole about the greens being faster for daily play than the US Open. Do they completely alter the course cutting, as Merion did, when the US Open comes to town?


The USGA's Mike Davis said they have done as little to Oakmont as any course that's hosted the U.S. Open in recent memory. He describes the course as pretty much unchanged from how it's prepared for its members.




Mike Hendren

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Re: How can Oakmont be Great with Such Restricted Driving Zones?
« Reply #5 on: June 07, 2016, 11:38:31 AM »
I agree Bogey. I've never played Oakmont, but something about it really appeals to me as a US Open site despite the fact that it has several elements which are generally decried here - narrow driving areas, thick rough, incredibly fast greens, etc.
+1
I'm really looking forward to the championship.

Ron, based upon the flyovers there appears to be little, if any room to widen the fairways as they are restricted by flanking bunkers and ditches. Check out the aerials Joe Bausch posted on the 17th hole thread. 

 By the way, ditches are underrated and underutilized in golf course architecture.

« Last Edit: June 07, 2016, 11:45:44 AM by Michael H »
Two Corinthians walk into a bar ....

Bill_McBride

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Re: How can Oakmont be Great with Such Restricted Driving Zones?
« Reply #6 on: June 07, 2016, 12:53:03 PM »
Haven't been there and totally get its penal nature, but the USGA's excellent flyovers suggest ribbons of fairway in the driving zones flanked by ditches and bunkers.  Short of notching my belt and buying a vest, I can't fathom wanting to play there.

I know I'm likely wrong, but can't help but wonder:  Is it an exercise in flagellation for its members and guests (not that there's anything wrong with that!)?

Mike


I played there twice in the late '80's when my game was a bit better.   I didn't find the fairways that hard to hit, most of the trouble occurred once you got near the greens.  The members love to brag about the speed of the greens, insisting they are slowed down by the USGA.  The course must have been much more difficult when the furrowed rake was in use. 

Stephen Davis

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Re: How can Oakmont be Great with Such Restricted Driving Zones?
« Reply #7 on: June 07, 2016, 01:13:21 PM »
Haven't been there and totally get its penal nature, but the USGA's excellent flyovers suggest ribbons of fairway in the driving zones flanked by ditches and bunkers.  Short of notching my belt and buying a vest, I can't fathom wanting to play there.

I know I'm likely wrong, but can't help but wonder:  Is it an exercise in flagellation for its members and guests (not that there's anything wrong with that!)?

Mike


I played there twice in the late '80's when my game was a bit better.   I didn't find the fairways that hard to hit, most of the trouble occurred once you got near the greens.  The members love to brag about the speed of the greens, insisting they are slowed down by the USGA.  The course must have been much more difficult when the furrowed rake was in use.


I agree with you Bill. I am not the most accurate driver of the ball, but I didn't find the fairways to be that narrow. You are correct that most of my extra strokes came around the greens not from missing the fairways.

Dustin Ferrell

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Re: How can Oakmont be Great with Such Restricted Driving Zones?
« Reply #8 on: June 08, 2016, 03:07:12 PM »
I was fortunate to get to play Oakmont last week and have played it a few time before and as far as fairways, greens, etc...its pretty much the way I remembered it, BUT the rough was unlike I'd ever seen it.  Deep, lush, yet the ball just falls to the bottom.  We had lost balls that literally couldn't have missed fairway by more than 12 ft.  I'm sure they'll have ample spotters out there.


I tried advancing a couple short irons out of it and quickly realized for me it was literally hack it out sideways w/ a sand/lob wedge and move on.  You'd much rather be in the greenside bunkers than the rough in my opinion.  I was able to get it up and down a couple times from bunkers, but had no idea how to control the ball out of the rough around the greens.  My caddie even thought they may take the rough down a tiny bit as it really offered no option for the dramatic recovery...also if they are able to dry it out some, i suppose the rough could thin a little...it was deep and dense.

cary lichtenstein

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Re: How can Oakmont be Great with Such Restricted Driving Zones?
« Reply #9 on: June 08, 2016, 04:11:43 PM »
Haven't been there and totally get its penal nature, but the USGA's excellent flyovers suggest ribbons of fairway in the driving zones flanked by ditches and bunkers.  Short of notching my belt and buying a vest, I can't fathom wanting to play there.

I know I'm likely wrong, but can't help but wonder:  Is it an exercise in flagellation for its members and guests (not that there's anything wrong with that!)?

Mike


Been there, it beat me up so bad that by the 11th or 12th hole, I just lost interest and went thru the motions to finish off the round and get off the course. No recoveries possible
Live Jupiter, Fl, was  4 handicap, played top 100 US, top 75 World. Great memories, no longer play, 4 back surgeries. I don't miss a lot of things about golf, life is simpler with out it. I miss my 60 degree wedge shots, don't miss nasty weather, icing, back spasms. Last course I played was Augusta

Jay Flemma

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Re: How can Oakmont be Great with Such Restricted Driving Zones?
« Reply #10 on: June 08, 2016, 04:30:44 PM »
Oakmont's greatest attribute is its terrain:  canted fairways and wildly undulating greens.  It's tough, but you never had such a good time banging your head against a wall.
Mackenzie, MacRayBanks, Maxwell, Doak, Dye, Strantz. @JayGolfUSA, GNN Radio Host of Jay's Plays www.cybergolf.com/writerscorner

Nigel Islam

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Re: How can Oakmont be Great with Such Restricted Driving Zones?
« Reply #11 on: June 08, 2016, 05:06:09 PM »
Oakmont's greatest attribute is its terrain:  canted fairways and wildly undulating greens.  It's tough, but you never had such a good time banging your head against a wall.


Exactly. And the thing nobody realizes is how beautiful the course actually is. Its fantastic and it is the poster child for fast and firm.

Joe Hancock

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Re: How can Oakmont be Great with Such Restricted Driving Zones?
« Reply #12 on: June 08, 2016, 05:29:19 PM »
Oakmont's greatest attribute is its terrain:  canted fairways and wildly undulating greens.  It's tough, but you never had such a good time banging your head against a wall.


Exactly. And the thing nobody realizes is how beautiful the course actually is. Its fantastic and it is the poster child for fast and firm.

How does this work, in light of Dustin Ferrell's post above?
" What the hell is the point of architecture and excellence in design if a "clever" set up trumps it all?" Peter Pallotta, June 21, 2016

"People aren't picking a side of the fairway off a tee because of a randomly internally contoured green ."  jeffwarne, February 24, 2017

Ian Andrew

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Re: How can Oakmont be Great with Such Restricted Driving Zones?
« Reply #13 on: June 08, 2016, 05:36:30 PM »
It's not set up that way for membership play.
I thought places like Merion were far tougher by an over the top set-up.

I found it fun because they had reasonable rough, the fescues were set much further back and the greens were fast but not unrealistic. I would describe my time there as ... fun.
We're starting to behave as if we've reached the end of human knowledge. And while that notion is undoubtedly false, the certitude it generates is paralyzing. Chuck Klosterman, But What If We're Wrong

James Brown

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Re: How can Oakmont be Great with Such Restricted Driving Zones?
« Reply #14 on: June 08, 2016, 05:54:17 PM »
I played in a Western PA Golf Association Amateur event there many years ago and played it 2 years ago in June and I would concur with the talk about how close the day to day conditions are to US Open setup.  In wet years, the rough is unbelievable.  It's very tough but fair and most of the greens will accept shots that bounce up.  I think the real reason for all the shock value stories you see about Oakmont is that there are very few places that can get their greens into the 13-14 range on a regular basis and if you never play on greens that fast, it totally shapes your views of the course when you see it as an outsider. 

Tim_Weiman

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Re: How can Oakmont be Great with Such Restricted Driving Zones?
« Reply #15 on: June 08, 2016, 06:14:03 PM »
I played in a Western PA Golf Association Amateur event there many years ago and played it 2 years ago in June and I would concur with the talk about how close the day to day conditions are to US Open setup.  In wet years, the rough is unbelievable.  It's very tough but fair and most of the greens will accept shots that bounce up.  I think the real reason for all the shock value stories you see about Oakmont is that there are very few places that can get their greens into the 13-14 range on a regular basis and if you never play on greens that fast, it totally shapes your views of the course when you see it as an outsider.


Oakmont also has one of the best in John Zimmers. John knows what he is doing.
Tim Weiman

Josh Stevens

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Re: How can Oakmont be Great with Such Restricted Driving Zones?
« Reply #16 on: June 08, 2016, 09:39:11 PM »
Do they really need to grow rough?  Given the terrain and the severe bunkering, it looks to me that the course would be far more interesting, and no less difficult if they mowed the entire property to fairway height.

I guess that's a lot of mowing, but you would have balls scooting all over the place - that would be fun

James Brown

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Re: How can Oakmont be Great with Such Restricted Driving Zones?
« Reply #17 on: June 08, 2016, 09:41:24 PM »
For the pros, they certainly do. Maybe not as much for every day.   A lot of the deepest bunkers can be carried off the tee at 290+. 

George Pazin

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Re: How can Oakmont be Great with Such Restricted Driving Zones?
« Reply #18 on: June 09, 2016, 02:59:35 PM »
If there's one common theme I've heard from those playing Oakmont over the years, it's that the first play beats you up, leaving you thinking you'd never want to play it on a regular basis.


After a few plays, though, most learn how playable it is. It is never going to suffer fools, as some seem to want. You have to work work work for every shot saved, every stroke shorn, but isn't that what the game is really about?


I recall a poster on here who shall remain nameless sending me a private message stating that when he played one of his rounds at Oakmont, he teed off behind a twosome of older women. He was a bit saddened, expecting to be slowed down. The only times he saw them later in the round, they were having a ball.


Look up how many fairways Cabrera hit in his last round if you think it's unplayable due to narrow fairways.


And don't get me wrong - I'd love to see someone do an Augusta experiment and mow everything down to a fairway cut, invite some top players, and see what happens. I suspect it would be fascinating. But I don't see that happening anytime soon...
Big drivers and hot balls are the product of golf course design that rewards the hit one far then hit one high strategy.  Shinny showed everyone how to take care of this whole technology dilemma. - Pat Brockwell, 6/24/04

Kalen Braley

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Re: How can Oakmont be Great with Such Restricted Driving Zones?
« Reply #19 on: June 09, 2016, 03:27:55 PM »
Just throwing this out there....

But doesn't Oakmont really come from the penal school of architecture?  I'm looking at these aerials and flyovers and it seems like most holes have oodles of bunkers on both sides of the fairways in the landing area...

Isn't that just a "squeeze it in or else" penal style of setup?

Just wondering....

BHoover

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Re: How can Oakmont be Great with Such Restricted Driving Zones?
« Reply #20 on: June 09, 2016, 03:30:40 PM »
Just throwing this out there....

But doesn't Oakmont really come from the penal school of architecture?  I'm looking at these aerials and flyovers and it seems like most holes have oodles of bunkers on both sides of the fairways in the landing area...

Isn't that just a "squeeze it in or else" penal style of setup?

Just wondering....

Did anyone actually think Oakmont was not meant to be penal? That's pretty much what Henry Fownes said his intent was with Oakmont, was it not?

Kalen Braley

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Re: How can Oakmont be Great with Such Restricted Driving Zones?
« Reply #21 on: June 09, 2016, 03:36:57 PM »
Just throwing this out there....

But doesn't Oakmont really come from the penal school of architecture?  I'm looking at these aerials and flyovers and it seems like most holes have oodles of bunkers on both sides of the fairways in the landing area...

Isn't that just a "squeeze it in or else" penal style of setup?

Just wondering....

Did anyone actually think Oakmont was not meant to be penal? That's pretty much what Henry Fownes said his intent was with Oakmont, was it not?

Fair enough,

And perhaps its just a disconnect in my head...but I've always associated "Penal" with less desirable architecture and not equal to greatness. Given the ways it loved in the treehouse, perhaps that's the conflict I feel sometimes.

BHoover

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Re: How can Oakmont be Great with Such Restricted Driving Zones?
« Reply #22 on: June 09, 2016, 04:16:30 PM »
Just throwing this out there....

But doesn't Oakmont really come from the penal school of architecture?  I'm looking at these aerials and flyovers and it seems like most holes have oodles of bunkers on both sides of the fairways in the landing area...

Isn't that just a "squeeze it in or else" penal style of setup?

Just wondering....

Did anyone actually think Oakmont was not meant to be penal? That's pretty much what Henry Fownes said his intent was with Oakmont, was it not?

Fair enough,

And perhaps its just a disconnect in my head...but I've always associated "Penal" with less desirable architecture and not equal to greatness. Given the ways it loved in the treehouse, perhaps that's the conflict I feel sometimes.

Does Pine Valley ring a bell?

Mac Plumart

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Re: How can Oakmont be Great with Such Restricted Driving Zones?
« Reply #23 on: June 09, 2016, 04:23:04 PM »
I don't think Oakmont is great. 


I think it is a great test of golfing ability and ideal for a major championship like the U.S. Open.  However, I firmly believe if it were a modern design by Rees Jones or Jack Nicklaus that many people on this website would trash it without a second thought.  Every square inch of it is penal and punishing, it is the anti-thesis of playable for the hack yet challenging for the scratch man.  It is 100% a challenge for the scratch man and a raking through the coals for the hack.


Since I firmly believe that a "great" course does embody the mantra, 'playable for the high handicap while, at the same time, presenting a challenge for the scratch man'...I, therefore, believe Oakmont is solely a great test of golf for the world's elite golfers.



Sportsman/Adventure loving golfer.

Phil McDade

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Re: How can Oakmont be Great with Such Restricted Driving Zones?
« Reply #24 on: June 09, 2016, 05:00:22 PM »
  Every square inch of it is penal and punishing, it is the anti-thesis of playable for the hack yet challenging for the scratch man.  It is 100% a challenge for the scratch man and a raking through the coals for the hack.




It has five par 4s under 400 yards from the championship tees, and though it's a par 4 for the Open, a par 5 under 480 yards for the members from the back tees. It's a 6220-yard course from the white tees.




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