Aug 5 (Reuters) - Oak Hill Country Club’s East Course, which will stage its third PGA Championship from Aug. 8-11, was designed on a 355-acre plot of farmland by architect Donald Ross in 1923.
Its early reputation as one of the finest layouts in the United States was cemented when it hosted the 1949 U.S. amateur, won by Charlie Coe who beat Rufus King 11 and 10.
Following Coe’s win, United States Golf Association executive director Joseph Dey, hugely impressed with the course, declared: “Where have you been for 20 years?”.
Oak Hill held its first major professional championship in 1956 when Cary Middlecoff won the second of his two U.S. Opens, edging out Ben Hogan and Julius Boros by a shot.
In 1968 Lee Trevino won his first professional title at Oak Hill, becoming the first man to card four sub-70 rounds at a U.S. Open, and Jack Nicklaus won his fifth and last PGA Championship there in 1980, romping to a seven-shot victory over Andy Bean.
The East Course staged its third U.S. Open in 1989 when Curtis Strange successfully defended the title he had won the previous year at The Country Club in Brookline, Massachusetts and in 1995 the course held its first Ryder Cup, which was won narrowly by the underdog European team.
In 2003 Oak Hill held the PGA Championship for a second time and American journeyman Shaun Micheel, ranked 169th in the world, sealed a shock victory by two shots after hitting a brilliant seven-iron approach to two inches on the final hole.
Heavily lined with maples, evergreens, elms and especially oak trees, the par-70 layout has consistently featured as one of America’s 100 Greatest Courses in Golf Digest magazine.
Since its remodelling by Tom Fazio’s design team for the 1989 U.S. Open and the 2003 PGA Championship, the course now measures 7,163 yards.
Here is a hole-by-hole look at Oak Hill’s East Course layout:
No. 1 par four, 460 yards - A tough opener with out-of-bounds to the right and oak trees lining both sides of the fairway. However an accurate drive carrying 260 yards should set up an easy short-iron approach to an inviting green.
No. 2 par four, 401 yards - A short par four, this slight dogleg right is best played with a long iron off the tee to avoid the deep bunkers on both sides of the fairway. Care is needed with the second shot into a small, fast-paced green.
No. 3 par three, 214 yards - A challenging par three and one of the course’s toughest holes, with deep-dish bunkers guarding both sides of a small green. Missing the green long and to the right will virtually guarantee a bogey.
No. 4 par five, 570 yards - A definite birdie opportunity, this dogleg right should be reachable in two by most of the field. A high, fading drive off the tee needs to clear two deep fairway bunkers on the right, as well as out-of-bounds.
No. 5 par four, 428 yards - A daunting par four, this sharp dogleg right requires the tee shot to thread a narrow shoot of trees and then avoid a creek winding into the landing area 250 yards out. A good drive will set up a mid or short-iron approach into a green protected at the front by the same creek.
No. 6 par three, 175 yards - The easiest of the par threes, this hole was aced four times in the first hour-and-a-half of the 1989 U.S. Open. A large green is protected by a deep bunker on the right and water on the left and front.
No. 7 par four, 461 yards - A tight driving hole with the fairway generally 22 yards wide and the tee box pushed back 30 yards. Allen’s Creek lurks on the right to catch errant drives and the green is one of the smallest on the course.
No. 8 par four, 428 yards - Deep fairway bunkers on the left need to be avoided on this par four. However, a good drive will set up a short-iron approach into a large green.
No. 9 par four, 452 yards - An uphill dogleg right where the tee has been pushed back 35 yards. A challenging driving hole with the left side of the fairway sloping away to the left and treacherous ‘Death Valley’ lying to the right.
No. 10 par four, 429 yards - A picturesque downhill hole with a slight dogleg left. Pinpoint accuracy off the tee is needed to set up a second shot into a smallish green, guarded by a bunker on the left and a creek on the right.
No. 11 par three, 226 yards - Traditionally one of the easiest holes, it was toughened up ahead of the 2003 PGA Championship with the tee box pushed back 30 yards. Although the green is encircled by bunkers, it offers a fairly receptive target.
No. 12 par four, 372 yards - The best play on this shortish par four is to tee off with a long iron to set up an easy approach from around 150 yards. Another tight driving hole, with trees flanking both sides of a downhill sloping fairway.
No. 13 par five, 598 yards - Allen’s Creek cuts across the fairway at the 300-yard point on this ‘Hill of Fame’ hole, taking the receptive green near impossible to reach in two. Care is needed with the second shot to avoid bunkers on the right and trees on the left.
No. 14 par four, 323 yards - Oak Hill’s shortest par four is likely to be driven by several players in the field although most will opt to hit a long iron off the tee to set up an uphill approach into a two-tiered green.
No. 15 par three, 181 yards - A challenging hole that demands an accurate mid-iron into a narrow green. Water protects the right and two bunkers guard the left. Tricky pin locations can make this a difficult putting green.
No. 16 par four, 439 yards - A deceptive par four, with a very narrow landing area to catch rolling drives on a down-sloping fairway. However a good tee shot will set up a comfortable approach into a fairly large green.
No. 17 par four, 509 yards - This dogleg right is one of the toughest holes on the course. A faded drive is required off the tee to avoid heavy rough and pine trees that guard the left side of the fairway, followed by an approach into an undulating, well-bunkered green that is difficult to hold.
No. 18 par four, 497 yards - A new tee box installed for the 2003 PGA Championship stretched this difficult finishing par four by 30 yards. Another tight driving hole, it demands a fade off the tee followed by a mid-iron approach into a wide but shallow, elevated green well protected by bunkers on the right and hills and trees on the left. (Writing by Mark Lamport-Stokes; editing by Tony Jimenez)