Matt--here's my Baltusrol analysis:
I think it has a really strong (if not flashy) collection of par fours, a unique and quirky finish with two terrific par 5s and I never found it a long "slog". It plays much shorter than Winged Foot (West) and the playing cooridors are much mmore generous. Had WF not wisely gone on their clear cutting expedition several years ago, I think it had become so overgrown that it risked being as great as it could be. Ten years ago while I loved to compete at both courses the experience at Baltusrol was far more enjoyable and playable.
Anyway, WF did the right thing, eliminated thousands of trees that were ruining the course and I rank it higher. I do think Baltusrol is a fine exampe of excellent architecture as well.
My least favorite holes at Baltusrol (Lower) are #1 and #4.
#1 Converted par 5s as fours never seem to work that great. This is a bit of a slog up the hill.
#2 Terrific driving hole to the plateau that then opens up a view into the green. The cross bunkering simply looks good to my eye.
#3 Another good driving hole that is very difficult because you must get the ball in the fairway to have any real chance to play into that green. Pretty backdrop with the clubhouse.
#4 Least favorite hole despite all the hype. Worst, most out of character green on the property.
#5 A terrific straight away par 4 with a great green set up high on the hill. The huge oak (?) tree right behind the green is a beautiful target to aim at. This might be heresy but would the hole be better without the old tree and with a skyline type green?
#6 Another strong par 4. Interesting fairway movement, great bunkering around the green that allows/demands a run up shot to get close to a front hole location.
#7 Interesting drive angle and another long to mid iron approach. Unique wide green that is huge. You can fall asleep and just be hapy to be putting and then realize you have a 60 footer.
#8 Night short par four that plays a bit longer than the yardage. Anotehr well bunkered green that seems to my eye to "nestle" very well among the bunkers
#9 Good strong par 3--Tillie doesn't make many bad ones does he?
#10 I'll admit the next two holes aren't my favorites. Another long par 4 that [plays uphill to a somewhat hidden green--OK a little bit of a snoozer
#11 Sharp dogleg. Seems a bit out of place given the severity of the dogleg. Fairly unique green but the drive seems poorly defined
#12 Of the three Tillie par 3s my least favorite
#13 Really intersting drive over the angled creek. Many options off the tee and yet another shot into a green that seems perfectly nestled into its surrounds.
#14 Good, straightish par 4 with some interesting green movement--another good driving hole.
#15 The second shot on this par 4 reminds me of #5 a bit. Crowned and elevated green that makes it play very small. I really like #5 and #15 greens.
#16 Pretty downhill par three surrounded by sand. With the elevation change I don't mind the approach requiring one to carry the ball onto the green. Just another ho hum, terrific Tillie par 3 (I mean that as a compliment)
#17-#18 Unique and quirky finish with two really great par 5s. The sahara hazard on 17 really puts pressure on hitting the fairway when coming out of the narow chute of trees. Elevated green with the massive oak (from #5 green?) helps provide a backdrop on the uphill third shot. The final hole is reachable and the creek down the left and crossing mean you have tons of choices, options and obstacles no matter where you drive the ball.
I think part of Tillinghast's genius is a course that on paper seems one dimensional (lots of long straightish par 4s) actually has 18 very unique holes that play nothing alike. I really like the par 5 finishers and the wider playing corridors than similar "man sized" courses like WF.
I am not as well traveled as Matt but I'll stick by my choice.