Oakmont Country Club--Oakmont, PA
-Rankings as of 7/11/2014---5th best U.S Course (Golf Digest); 6th best Classic U.S. Course (Golfweek); 6th best U.S. Course and 8th best course in the World (Golf Magazine)
Oakmont has built a reputation on being one of the most difficult golf courses in the world. The Father and Son duo (The Fownes) that built and ran the club for many years set that mantra in motion during its initial construction. Rumor has it that they would watch players playing golf at Oakmont and put in new bunkers anywhere they would see players driving their tee shots. And, without question, there are bunkers all over the landing areas on every tee shot.
Furthermore, it is rumored that the USGA had to slow down the greens at Oakmont to host the US Open. Yep, you read that right. The day to day green speeds at Oakmont are too fast for the US Open.
Adding these two things together would certainly lend itself to making for a difficult golf course. And that is exactly what Oakmont is; one of the most difficult golf courses you will ever play.
However, there are no water hazards at Oakmont. You will find plenty of deep and nasty bunkers and lots of thick rough, but you will find your ball and be able to advance it. So, in that regards Oakmont isn't overly penal. It is just brutally difficult to put up a low score. And this makes that fact that Johnny Miller shot a 63 here in the final round of a US Open all the more impressive.
Aside from the ball busting tee to green challenges, the greens at Oakmont might be the biggest obstacle to posting a low score. They are sloped, they are undulating, and they are FAST!!!
But, Oakmont prides itself on this brutality. In fact, in the club history written by Marino Parascenzo that WC Fownes believed that "A shot poorly played should be a shot irrevocably lost." And Oakmont's bunkers, ditches and rough see to that.
And if anyone complained about this style of design and philosophy of golf, Mr. Fownes would reply, "Let the clumsy, the spineless, and the alibi artist, stand aside!" And this type of culture has undoubtedly paved the way for Oakmont's illustrious championship history.
Oakmont is a take no prisoners, penal golf course that prides itself on people putting up big numbers when they play golf there.