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Golf Course Trades Runs my Winged Foot Preview

Something a little different. As part of my prep for the U.S. Open, I got the rare and wonderful chance to play Winged Foot under tournament conditions. It was all I could handle an then some. Thank you Golf Course Trades for running the piece. Have fun everyone.

From the article:

“When it comes to playing the West in a tournament of any kind, Christmas can turn into Halloween with one swing. And if you lose concentration or even if you get a bad bounce into a shaggy hillside or roll 45 feet away down the wrong tier of the oceanic green, it brings double or triple squarely into play. Suddenly all the historical references cease to be abstract and start to become downright haunting, because you could be next: “This is where Jack Nicklaus putted off the green and 20 yards back down the fairway,” and “Here’s where Phil smacked the tree and blew the Open.”

Like a horror movie highlight reel, each shot – from first tee to 18th green – each shot is a catastrophe in waiting, the entire golf course an unexploded mine of triple bogeys. It’s still “tough, but fair” but “tough-but-fair” set up for a much better golfer than me. The West Course will host its sixth U.S. Open in 2020; only Oakmont and Baltusrol have hosted the tournament more times.

“It’s too difficult to keep the speeds at 12-13 all the time,” Rabideau said firmly. “11.5-12 is just fine for member play, a little faster for club championships and the Anderson, and faster still for the Open.”

13 on a stimp is deadly, and the juicy, 3-1/2 inch primary rough more formidable still. There would be no muscling a 5-wood out of the rough to the green today. More like a 7-iron, even a wedge for a really deep lie. And if that’s not enough, the West plays to a little over 6,700 yards. Five of the par-4s would be over 440 yards, almost all to elevated pedestal greens. We mere mortals play it as a par 72. The pros and the national event contestants play to a par-70: nine becomes a 525 yard par-4 (uphill!, and 16 becomes a 490 yard par-4 (uphill, with a ludicrously narrow green).”