2018 U.S. Open Course Preview: Shinnecock Hills

Hole 9 'Ben Nevis’ Credit: USGA

The 2018 U.S. Open kicked off on Monday at Shinnecock Hills, with three days of prep, practice and promotions, all leading up to first-round tee times on Thursday morning at 6:45 am.

Shinnecock is a links-style course located in Southampton, New York. It was designed by prominent architect William Flynn, who’s had his hand in designing some of America’s most iconic golf courses, including Merion, Cherry Hills, and The Country Club.

Shinnecock, which holds the distinction of being the only host of a U.S. Open in three centuries (1896, 1986, 1995, 2004), will host its fifth national golf championship.

To get familiarized with this award-winning golf course on Long Island, here’s a hole-by-hole look.

Note: The hole names are mostly a tribute to Native American tribes of Long Island (Peconic, Montauk, Tuckahoe, Sebonac, Shinnecock), and Scottish links (e.g. Redan, Ben Nevis).



Hole 1 ‘Westward Ho’ Credit: USGA

PAR 4 | 399 YARDS
The opening hole is a fairly manageable one, with players teeing off from an elevated tee near the iconic clubhouse. On tee shots, the fairway shrinks from 47 yards wide at 275 yards, to 30 yards wide at the 300-yard mark. Under certain wind conditions, players might attempt to hit driver close to or onto the putting surface. It’s a birdie opportunity but par is expected. A bogey here would be a tough to take.
2004: RANK: 15 | SCORING AVG: 4.169


Hole 2 ‘Plateau’ Credit: USGA

PAR 3 | 252 YARDS
This hole played at 226 in 2004, and has been lengthened by 26 yards for the 2018 edition. The idea was to restore architect William Flynn’s original intention to play this hole with a longer iron shot. Players will generally hit a 4- or 5-iron, depending on the wind and the pin location. The green’s entrance is open, but has a slight false front.
2004: RANK: 10 | SCORING AVG: 3.262


Hole 3 ‘Peconic’ Credit: USGA

PAR 4 | 500 YARDS
A newly-constructed tee box added 22 yards to the hole and the fairway was also narrowed on the left to make the angle of the dogleg stronger. The fairway, though, is still relatively wide at 34 yards at the 300-yard mark.
2004: RANK: 11 | SCORING AVG: 4.257


Hole 4 ‘Pump House’ Credit: USGA

PAR 4 | 475 YARDS
This hole has been lengthened by 40 yards with a narrower fairway measuring 32.5 yards at 300 yards out, which will bring the fairway bunkers into play. The green is slightly elevated. A par here is good.
2004: RANK: 5 | SCORING AVG: 4.325


Hole 5 ‘Montauk’ Credit: USGA

PAR 5 | 589 YARDS
Lengthened by 52 yards, but with today’s equipment, and some helpful wind, players will still have an opportunity to get home in two. The green is slightly elevated and because of undulations, the green plays much smaller than dimensions. Still, it’s one of the best opportunities for birdie.
2004: RANK: 18 | SCORING AVG: 4.682


Hole 6 ‘Pond’ Credit: USGA

PAR 4 | 491 YARDS
A blind tee shot which requires only a 240-yard carry to avoid the bunker on the right side of this dogleg-right. The approach shot is to a green that flows towards the fairway. A par here will be good.
2004: RANK: 3 | SCORING AVG: 4.391


Hole 7 ‘Redan’ Credit: USGA

PAR 3 | 189 YARDS
Designed after the Redan hole at North Berwick in Scotland, the hole features a green that slopes from front right to back left, requiring pinpoint control. There is a back-left bunker that will most likely come into play. An extremely tough par three.
2004: RANK: 2 | SCORING AVG: 3.413


Hole 8 ‘Lowlands’ Credit: USGA

PAR 4 | 439 YARDS
Lengthened by 41 yards since the 2004 U.S. Open, the tee shot is to a hittable fairway. A tee shot to the left will leave a better angle for approach shots, but bunkers lurk. The green is fairly generic and should offer long hitters a decent chance for birdie.
2004: RANK: 13 | SCORING AVG: 4.199


Hole 9 ‘Ben Nevis’ Credit: USGA

PAR 4 | 485 YARDS
Tee shots will need to reach past the downhill slope, or a downhill, uneven approach will be required to a mostly blind green. Long approaches will be left with a downhill chip or putt.
2004: RANK: 8 | SCORING AVG: 4.300



Hole 10 ‘Eastward Ho’ Credit: USGA

PAR 4 | 415 YARDS
The player will have to decide to play it safe (220 yards to a level plateau), or drive it beyond the hill, leaving a shorter approach but with severe undulations. The green has a closely mown area behind it with bunkers coming into play on approaches short and right.
2004: RANK: 1 | SCORING AVG: 4.447


Hole 11 ‘Hill Head’ Credit: USGA

PAR 3 | 159 YARDS
A short, but challenging, par 3, which features a tiny green that slopes from the back (left) to front (right). A middle bunker on the right lurks, and will come into play. Shots long and left will leave a difficult second shot down the slope.
2004: RANK: 4 | SCORING AVG: 3.332


Hole 12 ‘Tuckahoe’ Credit: USGA

PAR 4 | 469 YARDS
A narrow fairway measuring only about 30 yards wide throughout the drive zone will have many players opting for a fairway metal. The approach is to a decent-sized green that features some undulations. Still, this is probably the easiest par 4 on the course, and offers a good chance for birdie for long and accurate shooters.
2004: RANK: 16 | SCORING AVG: 4.163


Hole 13 ‘Road Side’ Credit: USGA

PAR 4 | 374 YARDS
Despite the narrowest fairway, this will offer another birdie opportunity for the best players. Again, most players will opt for a fairway metal here to avoid a super-tight fairway at 300 yards that measures just 16 yards. A well-hit metal will leave most players with a 9-iron or pitching wedge to the green. A bunker on the front right will swallow short approaches.
2004: RANK: 14 | SCORING AVG: 4.192


Hole 14 ‘Thom’s Elbow’ Credit: USGA

PAR 4 | 519 YARDS
This hole has been stretched by 77 yards, restoring it to “a long par 4” it was intended to be. Elevated tee boxes have players teeing off to a fairway which drop offs massively, and flows from right to left with a staggering of bunkers lurking. The approach is from the left of the fairway. The approach plays to a slight uphill green that is Shinnecock’s most receptive with its punchbowl like effect – with only a runoff in the back.
2004: RANK: T6 | SCORING AVG: 4.312


Hole 15 ‘Sebonac’ Credit: USGA

PAR 4 | 409 YARDS
Another hole which features a huge drop in elevation from tee to fairway will have many players using driver to avoid the ridge that runs across the fairway. This will leave a short-iron approach into a green with several accessible hole locations. Bunkers guard the front of the green.
2004: RANK: 9 | SCORING AVG: 4.278


Hole 16 ‘Shinnecock’ Credit: USGA

PAR 5 | 616 YARDS
Lengthened by 74 yards, and now stretching to over 600 yards, this hole is apt to play like a par 5 was once intended to be played: three shots to the green. The winding fairway will require players to choose proper landing spots and next-shot angles. Those who go for it in two, using a fairway metal, will be tested by a tight, well-guarded putting surface.
2004: RANK: 17 | SCORING AVG: 4.839

HOLE 17 – ‘EDEN’

Hole 17 ‘Eden’ Credit: USGA

PAR 3 | 175 YARDS
Not a lot of change to this hole from 2004, because not a lot was needed. The tee shot will need to be laser-like into a crosswind while staring at large bunkers on the left. Those who bail to the right will likely find a bunker.
2004: RANK: 12 | SCORING AVG: 3.208

HOLE 18 – ‘HOME’

Hole 18 ‘Home’ Credit: USGA

PAR 4 | 458 YARDS
The finale at Shinnecock features a new tee box which adds 35 yards and creates more of a blind tee shot. The preferred tee shot is to the right side of the fairway for a better angle on the approach. The green is mostly blind, and has a decent amount of pitch from back to front.
2004: RANK: T6 | SCORING AVG: 4.312

Credit: PGA of America, USGA, Getty Images


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