On Thursday June 18th, the 109th annual US Open of Golf will open play. One of the world's most important tournaments is about to get under way and I'm here to tell you all about one of the longest courses in the history of the US Open. It will play at a yardage of 7427 yards. Before we get to previewing the players and their abilities, we must look at each hole and break down just how to play each hole.
The course- Bethpage Black
Hole #- yards (par)
#1- 430 yards (4) The first is a risk-reward hole in regards to trying to hit over the trees that help produce the effect of the massive dogleg right. A longer hitter than challenge the trees and leave themselves a wedge or short iron into the green. A shorter hitter should hit a hybrid or wood off the tee and leave themselves a middle iron into the green. The green is sloped from back to front in the first 1/3. That means that shots will need enough steam to get over that ridge or you will have a difficult uphill putt that will have to be hit a ton. The green is surrounded by sand on the left and sand right. It is very narrow and also is surrounded by a difficult rough. Take advantage of this hole, it is one of the few that birdie is possible on.
#2- 395 (4) The second hole is also a hole that could be birdied with the correct strategy. This hole doglegs left and almost everyone should lay-up with less than driver to avoid the trees and the rough. The green is a mid-iron distance away, but it is perched up on a hill measuring over 30 feet in the air. Players will need more club to reach the green on this hole. The green is fast when too much club is hit and the rough in front is unforgiving when you don't hit enough club. If a player can make it onto the green in two, they should be able to make birdie. Two sand traps guard left and right in the front of the green.
#3- 232 (3) One of the longest par 3's in the world will be played. Sure it isn't 300 yards, but it's still a very difficult hole that will start to mess with the mind of the player. Players will either need a wood/hybrid or a long iron (most likely a long iron) to reach it. Short is not good on any side. Two bunkers guard the left and one guards the right. The green is flat, but it slopes at various points and is tough to save shots on it. Running it off the back of the green isn't good because you'll have a difficult chip back uphill. Par is a good score on this hole.
#4- 517 (5) The fourth is a hole that can hurt and help many players. The tee shot is uphill a little ways, but then levels out the further that you hit it. It will be attempted in two by some, but most should lay up in order to take a bad score out of the realm of possibility. The second shot isn't a gimme because it is uphill and protected by bunkers and deep rough. Don't get in the deep rough. Take enough club to get on the next hill. From there you have a wedge to the green that is a little uphill once again. Don't leave it short or you will have a tough up-and-down from the bunkers or the rough. If you hit too much club, then you have a difficult pitch from the short grass in the back of the green. Be careful because you could easily make a 4 or a 7 on this hole. Take trouble out of play and make a 5.
#5- 478 (4) The fifth is a long and difficult hole that plays longer than the yardage would indicate. Deep rough and bunkers force most to lay-up on the tee shot. The shot into the green will be uphill and with a mid to long iron depending upon the tee shot. If in the bunker or rough, layup and try to hit a wedge in. If you don't, you will be in even more trouble. It's a small green to slopes back to front. Pr is a good score once again.
#6- 408 (4) The sixth is a hole that should see very few bogeys. The tee shot needs to be in the middle of the fairway and in between the two bunkers guarding the narrow strip. If a player can get to that spot or a little behind, then they are in great shape. The approach is going to be downhill and played with a mid iron. A par or birdie is a must on this hole. Don't bogey, or you'll in trouble.
#7- 525 (4) The seventh is the longest-playing par 4 is US Open history. The tee shot is crucial because you need to avoid the deep rough and the bunkers. The tee shot will need to be layed up beside the bunkers or hit over the bunkers to have success. If hit over the bunkers and in the fairway, a player will have a long iron in and could make a birdie. For the guy laying up, the hole might be a three-shot par 4. The approach shot will likely be a wedge for many of the short-hitters (on the third shot). The green is guarded by a bunker left and a bunker right. Par is a great score because trouble is everywhere on this hole.
#8- 230 (3) The eighth is huge risk-reward hole and will be the most fun of the par 3's. The shot is downhill and can be contested if the player is willing to risk putting his ball in the water which guards the front of the green. The water and green are separated by about 5 yards of fringe. Bunkers are in play on the back left and the very back. Players should not end up there because they will need to hit with less club. So don't expect to see many players in a bunker on 8. Par is a decent score. Just don't make a bogey.
#9- 460 (4) The ninth is a dogleg left that can be challenged aggressively. An aggressive line would be across the left-hand bunker on that protects the fairway. The shorter hitter will lay up short of it and will have a downhill lie on the second shot because of the way the fairway slopes. The upper fairway is flat. The longer players have a chance at birdie and then the shorter ones may have a huge problem making par.
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