The BWD Major Tournament Hole of the Day: June 18, 2016. The 8th at Oakmont CC, Home of the U.S. Open Championship

Tournament: U.S. Open Championship – Oakmont Country Club, Oakmont, PA
Hole: 8th – Par 3, 288 Yards
Architect(s): Henry Fownes – 1903
Architectural Summary:

The longest par 3 in U.S. Open history, the 8th hole measures 288 yards on the scorecard, but, depending upon weather conditions, the USGA may elect to have it play over 300 yards during at least one round of the tournament. Henry Fownes’ original intent was for the hole to be played with a driver or 3-wood and that intent has been restored to a large degree. The strategic hole features a large downhill approach which a competitor can use in an attempt to run the ball up to the green. Club selection and shot shape from the tee will vary with longer players able to “chase” a long iron onto the green, while other players will look to carry a 3-wood as far as possible. The “Sahara” bunker guards the left of the hole, spanning some 100 yards long. The green is further protected by four bunkers to the right and a 175-yard-long ditch which follows the left side of the hole before turning to hug the rear side of the green. The green itself is fairly large and features minimal undulation when compared to its counterparts. Due to the sheer size of the green, three-putts are a possibility if competitors do not position themselves relatively close to the pin.

Statistical Analysis:

During the 2007 U.S. Open Championship, the 8th hole played to a scoring average of 3.45. The hole was the 5th most difficult hole for competitors as the par 3 yielded just 18 birdies in 2007 compared to 180 bogeys. Additionally, only 26.7% of the field reached the green in regulation.

Fun Facts:

  • The 8th green was moved several yards left in order to allow room for the Pennsylvania Turnpike in the 1940s. Oakmont is known for its undulating, fast greens, which are all in their original locations except for the 8th.
  • Edward Stimpson developed the stimpmeter, a device for measuring the speed of greens shortly after he attended the 1935 U.S. Open at Oakmont.
  • Oakmont was originally an “open”course with very few trees. In the 1950s and 1960s, trees were added to the layout. Trees began to be removed in order to take the design back to its original incarnation following the 1994 U.S. Open.