Shinnecock Hills---Southampton, NY
Rankings as of 5/26/2011—
-4th best course in the US, 6th best course in the world (Golf Magazine)
-3rd best course in the US (Golf Digest)
-3rd best Classic US golf course (Golfweek)
Shinnecock Hills Golf Club is one of the original USGA member clubs and it has a long and storied history. Not the
least of which includes the greatest shot in Corey Pavin’s life and more Phil Mickelson US Open woes. Wrapping
up all this, and a lot more, I was beyond thrilled to actually have a chance to tee it up at such a great course.
Right from the start, the course was not a let down. The first hole is one of the very best in the world, so right off
the bat you are into the round. Another thing that grabbed my attention right away was the quality of the turf.
When playing on Long Island, I am always amazed at how good the ground is for the game of golf. However, the
maintenance at Shinnecock took this amazement to another level. The quality of the turf was so high, I felt like I
needed to repair my ball marks, not only on the green, but also on the fairway. The place was immaculate.
Usually when people talk about how well maintained a course is it is because there isn’t enough actual quality golf
course architectural substance to talk about. That is not the case at all at Shinnecock. The course itself is
completely amazing and it is more than worthy of all the high praise and accolades it receives.
It is only a par 70, so there are only two par 5’s to contend with.
And that is fine, as some of the par 4’s could play as par 5’s.
And the par 3’s should be in the argument for best set of par 3’s on the planet.
The Redan (#7) is excellent.
And the 150 yard 11th hole is in the discussion for greatest par 3 in the world. It plays uphill to a severe green
with dramatic fronting bunkers. Trees have been removed from the landscape behind the green to give it an
infinity feel, which makes the golfer feel that going long off the back of the green would be like falling off the face
of the earth. And you know what, that isn’t too far from the truth. One of the guys in our group asked what was
behind the green. To which our caddy replied, “A double bogey.”
Shinnecock is one of the very best tests of golf that I have ever seen. It is a brutal test of golfing acumen, but it is
not a tricked up course. Rather it is a fair test of golf. I’d call it very similar to Muirfield in that respect. Both are
stern and fair tests of golf and both, deservedly, are perpetual hosts for major golfing championships.
If you ever get the chance to play Shinnecock, drop whatever you are doing and make the trip. It is a round you
will never forget. It is one of the world’s true golfing gems.