Southern Hills--Tulsa, OK
-Rankings as of 4/30/2015.....30th best U.S. Classic Course (Golfweek), 29th best U.S. Course (Golf Digest), 64th best course in the world and 35th best course in the U.S. (Golf Magazine)
Southern Hills is a wonderful country club located just outside of Tulsa, Oklahoma. Frankly, the club has it all; wonderful and elegant clubhouse, fitness facility, tennis courts, pool, 18 holes of world class golf, and a nine hole course. If I lived in Tulsa, I'd kill to be a member of Southern Hills.
Concerning the golf course itself, it is a 1936 Perry Maxwell design. Mr. Maxwell is one of the greatest golf course architects of all-time. His gems include, Southern Hills, Prairie Dunes, and a collaboration with Alister Mackenzie at Crystal Downs, as well as some serious work being down at Augusta National. Concerning that final course listed, there are many aspects of Southern Hills that will remind you of Augusta National. Some of the shared golf course attributes are: bunker shapes, rolling terrain, and the rolls in the greens. In fact, I've heard the stereotypical rolls within the greens on Maxwell courses called the "Maxwell Rolls.' Makes sense to me, as they are very important to the architectural interest of his courses.
As of the time I played Southern Hills, I had played all the aforementioned courses associated with Mr. Maxwell. However, despite sharing some design aspects with all those courses, Southern Hills has its own vibe and charm. As mentioned, the terrain is rolling, but it is also fairly tree-lined. This definitely gave the course a parkland feel, which I hadn't experienced as dramatically on a Maxwell course before.
The use of angles and angles hazards are important to the design of the course. But the pitch of the fairways may have been the most important aspect of the design. Slight sidehill lies, dramatic downhill lies, and the like, are very common at Southern Hills and must be accounted for in order to put up a solid score.
Furthermore, the closer and closer you get to the green, the more precise you must be here. Wayward approach shots will be punished severely!
In all, Southern Hills is an excellent design, a great walk, and a fun golf course.