Oakmont Country Club
Oakmont is consistently ranked as one of the top courses in the U.S. and the World by Golf Magazine's panel of experts.
How tough is Oakmont? Johnny Miller called it the "most difficult test of golf in America." Gene Sarazen said it has, "all the charm of a sock to the head." And both those guys won majors there. Club founder Henry Fownes issued this warning: "Let the clumsy, the spineless, the alibi artist stand aside." What is it about the course that backs up that kind of talk?
Its main defense is a medley of slick, wildly contoured greens, which are bolstered by thick, tangled rough, ditches along the fairways and, not least, some 200 bunkers. "A shot poorly played," Fownes growled, "should be a shot irrevocably lost."
When Oakmont opened in 1903 there was nary a tree on the course; Fownes designed the layout to resemble the wide open links of Britain. And so it remained until the run-up to the 1962 U.S. Open at Oakmont, when Herbert Warren Wind (the writer who gave Augusta's "Amen Corner" its name) characterized the course as an "ugly old brute" in The New Yorker. The club promptly planted thousands of trees to "beautify" the holes, which were later removed in an attempt to revive the original design.