What can we expect from Erin Hills?

Shinnecock Hills

USGA CEO Mike Davis gives us an insight into the US Open's newest host course at Erin Hills.

“Erin Hills is an absolute American original, a heartland course carved from the rolling terrain and sculpted by glaciers. For anybody that likes golf course architecture, they would salivate at seeing this property in its raw form.

“I’ve seen some people describing it as an inland links or links-like course. It is none of these. Yes, there is fescue out there. Yes, it’s windy. Yes, there aren’t a lot of trees. But that’s where it stops. I think we prefer, and the architects prefer, to call it a heartland course.

Minimalistic is exactly what they did. They just laid the course. I wouldn’t suggest they didn’t move some earth because they did.

They laid this course right on this beautiful land and what you’ve got out there are a lot of fairways that have movement to them.

Titleist ad

So you don’t have a lot of at lies and, even for the world’s best players, if you put them on a sloping lie, it’s a harder shot than a flat lie. The fairways themselves are bouncy. They’re predominantly fescue.

There’s some ryegrass and some other grasses in there, but the subsoil is a gritty, well-draining soil, so the combination of the grasses and the subsoil really do make this a bouncy course.

Because of that, and because of the wind out here, the fairways will most certainly be wider than most US Opens.

If you were to pace off the widths and compare it to say a Winged Foot or Pebble Beach or Oakmont, I dare say they’re 50 percent wider and in some cases they’re easily double the width. But we think that works architecturally and that’s really the way the three architects designed it to be, and we’re excited.

There are a lot of semi-blind shots, at least shots where you don’t quite see where you’re hitting to. It does take some homework on the part of the players. It takes some imagination.

Numbers Game

  • 3 – The US Open will be the third USGA national championship to be held at Erin Hills in just it’s 12th season, after the 2008 USGA Women’s Amateur Public Links and the 2011 US Amateur Championship
  • 15,000 – Number of grandstands seats that will enable fans to enjoy the action alongside 300 tents and a ‘fan central’
  • 3 – Three of the last five US Open champions have hailed from the United States, with Englishman Justin Rose (2013) and Germany’s Martin Kaymer (2014) breaking the run
  • 150 – The number of people from Wisconsin who entered US Open qualifying
  • 5,200 – The number of volunteers helping out with the championship

More on Erin Hills...

Previous article
Next article
Top