How Would You Rate the USGA's Effort to Introduce New Courses to the US Open Rotation?

 JohnnyCashForever ·  
JohnnyCashForeverJohnnyCashForever In a big country, dreams stay with youPAMembers  432WRX Points: 358Posts: 432 Greens
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Since 2000, the USGA has (or will have) played the US Open on 5 courses for the 1st time:

  • 2002 Bethpage Black (revisited in 2009)
  • 2008 Torrey Pines South (designated as a venue again in 2021)
  • 2015 Chambers Bay
  • 2017 Erin Hills
  • 2023 Los Angeles CC North

IMO, the USGA is batting at least 0.500, with successes in 2002 and 2008. I would say the verdict is mixed for 2015 and 2017.

Was it worth it to do this exercise to find one unqualified gem, Bethpage Black, at the expense of having to experience the debacle at Chambers Bay? Put another way, were any of these US Opens better for having played at these venues instead of at a more traditional venue like Oakmont or Pebble Beach?

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  • imakaveliimakaveli Moli Moli Moli Moli Tommy Tommy Tommy Tommy... Members  13152WRX Points: 1,014Handicap: 3.8Posts: 13,152 Titanium Tees
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    After having introduced Chambers Bay and Erin Hills they have officially ditched the "historical club" tradition, so now they can basically do whatever they want.

    I would have preferred something similar to the Open Rota, just use the very best and richest in tradition.

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  • Old Tom MorrisOld Tom Morris Members  138WRX Points: 152Handicap: 14Posts: 138 Fairways
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    There are so many great courses that can host the US Open. No need find new places like Chambers Bay and Erin Hills that wind up being a disaster. The Oakmont, Winged Foot, Pinehurst, Olympic Club, Southern Hills, Pebble Beach, Oakland Hills, etc. have proven success from a championship perspective as well as a logistical perspective.

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  • jvincentjvincent Members  1397WRX Points: 719Posts: 1,397 Platinum Tees
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    With the exception of LACC all of the newly added courses are accessible to the public, which is a good move IMHO.

    If the USGA went with a rota that included a public course every other year that would be a good move. Pinehurst #2, Bethpage, Pebble, Torrey don't need any justification to be part of the rota. Add a couple more to that list and then they can swap in the traditional private clubs as needed.

    Erin Hills and Chambers Bay got bad raps because of the setup. Had they been handled differently people probably would have had different views.

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  • davep043davep043 Members  4875WRX Points: 2,104Handicap: 6.3Posts: 4,875 Titanium Tees
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    I like the choice to occasionally use a relative newcomer as a US Open venue. Along with the positives of exposing new courses comes the potential for less-than-ideal situations, as we saw at Chambers Bay and, to a lesser extent, at Erin Hills. I like the choice to hold the US Open at courses that we can all play (if we have enough spending money that is). For me, I'm willing to accept the potential for problems associated with new venues, and at the same time I love seeing the older classics. And we've all seen that a combination of course set-up choices and unpredictable weather can cause problems on both old classics and newer venues. A mix is good.

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  • billyspanbillyspan Members  28WRX Points: 25Posts: 28 Bunkers
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    Batting .500 is a good call.

    Bethpage - definitely worthy. A gem.

    LACC - this will be an eye opener. One of my favorites.

    Chambers Bay - honestly, a fantastic course, but the fescue greens never worked. Deserves another US Open or PGA. It is that good.

    Torrey Pines - Love the course, just don't think it is US Open worthy. An almost in my book. Should have remained a tour stop only. It is no Bethpage.

    Erin Hills - only one of those mentioned that I have not played. Poor man's Shinnecock? The low scoring leaders in the US Open didn't help.

    I'm really looking forward to the revamped (in some cases major work) Oakland Hills, Inverness and Oak Hill layouts. Too much history at these venues to ignore.

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  • billyspanbillyspan Members  28WRX Points: 25Posts: 28 Bunkers
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    It will be interesting to see if the US Open returns to Oak Hill, Bethpage, Southern Hills, Baltusrol or Congressional any time soon. While some of these venues have been "shared" in the past, things just seem a little more territorial now between the PGA and US Open.

    I would count on Inverness getting an open. Seems as though fantastic Winged Foot and The Country Club are on 20 year-ish rotations. They probably don't want it returning more often!

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  • 15th Club15th Club Members  2226WRX Points: 541Posts: 2,226 Platinum Tees
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    Billy the work at OHCC is partly aimed at a USGA bid.

    But it was also restorative. The last two seasons have seen some brutal Poa. The green contours were world class but the substrate and the quality of the grass roots was basically end-stage.

    Gil Hanse (remember this is Plan B from Gil after Plan A was voted down) has some other ideas, including more tree removal, more width, and more active involvement with fairway bunkers.

    But Gil can’t create any more land to extend #2, or #15. And when you start thinking of “The Monster” in terms of 21st century golf ball distance, holes 1, 4, 5, 6, 7(Hanse has some ideas), 11, and 12 all need more length that just doesn’t exist on the property.

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  • 3jacker3jacker Members  1185WRX Points: 837Posts: 1,185 Platinum Tees
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    Chambers Bay was a riot. Never seen anything like it, so I'm glad they did it. Greg Norman commentary really put the icing on the cake. I honestly did have fun watching that.

    Erin Hills seemed like a good site. Setup was lacking. USGA is a joke when it comes to the US Open IMO.

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  • tideridertiderider Members  2912WRX Points: 1,942Handicap: 5ishPosts: 2,912 Titanium Tees
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    mixed, though generally positive ... chambers bay was a cf, but not necessarily because of the course ... nature (greens) and the usga (crowd logistics) combined to make that tournament ... regardless of erin hills, it's noble to try to make a public course a US Open site ... the usga may have to get a bit lucky to have a "memorable" US Open tournament there, but i'm ok with the attempt ... if the wind blows, it could be a fun tournament for me to watch ... and i am very excited about the opportunity to see lacc, even though i'll never play it ... i won't play shinnecock, but i still like seeing the pros play it ...

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  • ryansloneryanslone Members  7WRX Points: 21Handicap: 0.2Posts: 7 Bunkers
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    I agree with trying to work in some public golf courses, always neat to go and play where the pros have played. Would like to see a return to Southern Hills or Oakland Hills but do enjoy seeing a new course get introduced into the mix.

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  • elwhippyelwhippy Members  3417WRX Points: 343Posts: 3,417 Titanium Tees
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    Money will be the decider if the USGA follows the R&A. I don't like the idea of a major being played on a muni (Old Course aside). Chambers and Erin were faux links and bland. LACC will be interesting as it looked borderline unplayable for the Walker Cup. LA in June could be a scorcher.

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  • MattyO1984MattyO1984 Members  5924WRX Points: 1,395Handicap: 3Posts: 5,924 Titanium Tees
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    I definitely think that they should be applauded for the effort that they have made to do it. The easy thing for them to do would have been to do nothing, just do what they always did and rest on their laurels. I would be quite happy if the R&A were to try and do something similar over here. Whilst you would never see an Open at Royal Dornoch, the likes of Kingsbarns and Trump Aberdeen would be more than capable of holding major tournaments but I just cannot see the R&A ever even seriously considering them.

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  • caniac6caniac6 Members  3344WRX Points: 990Handicap: 4Posts: 3,344 Titanium Tees
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    Pinehurst was a new US Open course in 99, and that worked out pretty well. I would love to see some new courses, as long as they are the kind of courses the USGA doesn't have to mess with too much. Recently the Tour played Riviera, and Honda, and those courses tested the field without much rough, or tricked up greens. As long as the USGA can find those kinds of courses, I'm all in favor of new courses.

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  • Cincy_KenCincy_Ken Members  206WRX Points: 130Handicap: 10Posts: 206 Fairways
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    To me it doesn't seem like they "share" courses. Bethpage was in the USGA rotation; now it's in the PGA rotation.


    Personally I'd like to see more of a true rota; Pebble, Oakmont, Pinehurst, Shinnecock, and throw in a different course every fifth year or so whether it's trying to find something new like Chambers or Erin or returning to traditional US Open courses that aren't regular rotation courses like Merion, Winged Foot etc.

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  • billyspanbillyspan Members  28WRX Points: 25Posts: 28 Bunkers
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    I agree with you, Ken. Hence the quotation marks. :) I think now the US Open and PGA have become a little more territorial than in the past locking in venues for long-term contracts.

    Post WWII Oakmont, Olympia Fields, Southern Hills, Congressional, Pebble Beach, Oakland Hills, Oak Hill, Atlanta Athletic Club, Riviera, Inverness, Winged Foot, Medinah, Hazeltine, Bellerive, Baltusrol and Bethpage (I may have missed a course or two) have hosted both the PGA and US Open. Granted in 74 years, there isn't a ton of overlap, but interesting never the less. The PGA picking up the US Open leftovers? sarcasm. Some of these clubs probably do not want the USGA back!

    The USGA as of late doesn't return to a former US Open site that then hosts a PGA. The last one is Winged Foot ('84 US Open, '97 PGA, '06 US Open, '20 US Open). Perhaps it will be a LONG while until we see the US Open back at Oak Hill, Olympic, Congressional, Baltusrol, Southern Hills, Bethapage, Hazeltine, etc. Any of you WRXers missing these venues as a US Open track? I will miss Olympic and Southern Hills.

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  • PeteWPeteW Rookie Members  295WRX Points: 71Handicap: 8.3Posts: 295 Greens
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    Has #7 at Oakland Hills always had two greens, or is it apart of Gil’s redesign?

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  • mosesgolfmosesgolf Members  7023WRX Points: 312Posts: 7,023 Titanium Tees
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    Erin Hills and Chambers Bay were disasters imo albeit the winners were awesome. I'm really looking forward to the LACC US OPEN however.

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  • cdnglfcdnglf Members  3628WRX Points: 1,055Posts: 3,628 Titanium Tees
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    Chambers was a “disaster” because the USGA f’d it up, as they often do with their insecure “toughest test in golf” nonsense.


    The PGA Championship at Chambers would be great.

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  • 3whacker3whacker Members  490WRX Points: 184Posts: 490 Greens
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    due to when the US Open falls on the calendar, some states will never see the Open come to their state. The USGA wants bent grass and they prefer Par at 70 or 71. They dont want 4 Par fives on the card that the pros will eat up turning the ave score to 68...Then we get into the politics of hosting the US Open and thats a discussion onto itself, so in reality there are very few courses that are considered in the US Open rotation. The other issue is that very few clubs are willing to turn their courses over to the USGA for over a month while they grow the rough and make the greens hard and fast. The USGA also has their favorite course designers

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  • Jwin323Jwin323 Members  1465WRX Points: 101Handicap: 3-7Posts: 1,465 Platinum Tees
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    Not the US Open, but with the PGAnow in May I’d like to see it at Seminole.

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  • 3whacker3whacker Members  490WRX Points: 184Posts: 490 Greens
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    IMO that was one of the driving factors in moving the PGA to the spring, the late summer date eliminated just about every state south of IH80

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  • grm24grm24 Western PAMembers  4279WRX Points: 1,391Posts: 4,279 Titanium Tees
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    Zero chance of the PGA Championship ever being played at Seminole. At least the 2021 Walker Cup is at Seminole.

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  • klebs01klebs01 Members  491WRX Points: 137Handicap: 3.2Posts: 491 Greens
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    Erin Hills was a "disaster" because there was a couple inches of rain that fell early in the week softening the greens (no subair), and the USGA went way conservative with the set up. They could also easily change to par 70 to appease some folks, too.

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  • smashdnsmashdn Let's cut them trees down. Members  2073WRX Points: 784Posts: 2,073 Platinum Tees
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    I see Bethpage and Southern Hills more as PGA courses. Put Congressional in that mix too. For some reason I think it works best when there is a blue collar mid-western vibe going on. Maybe it is the presence of the PGA Professionals in the field. Bellerive, Medinah, Crooked Stick, Whistling Straits, Erin Hills, Hazeltine. I think the PGA, in the late summer, is a good pick on the west coast at Pebble or back to Chambers Bay. Both public albeit out of reach financially for most public.


    The Country Club, Winged Foot, Baltusrol, Shinnecock, Oakmont, Merion. Those places scream US Open to me. Old east coast clubs that can be set up just brutally hard.


    I don't know where you put Pinehurst. Probably lean to US Open since you can firm it up and dry it out.


    I keep Pebble out of the major rota because it has an annual tour stop.

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  • 3whacker3whacker Members  490WRX Points: 184Posts: 490 Greens
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    I wish they would go back to Sahalee

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  • PepperturboPepperturbo Midwest and SouthwestMembers  16530WRX Points: 868Handicap: Low-Mid SDPosts: 16,530 Titanium Tees
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    Honestly, I don't see how anyone's rating theory has any merit. It's subjective from a couch; besides, most people don't have the golf game to support their view. Its more like "I wish upon a star." You do know the sky is not blue.

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  • imakaveliimakaveli Moli Moli Moli Moli Tommy Tommy Tommy Tommy... Members  13152WRX Points: 1,014Handicap: 3.8Posts: 13,152 Titanium Tees
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    Don't like fake links in general, and in particular at the US Open.

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  • driveandputtmachinedriveandputtmachine 4 wedges or 2 iron? That is the question! Members  1318WRX Points: 194Handicap: 0.0Posts: 1,318 Platinum Tees
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    I think some of the things that was missing from the US Open when compared to others, I think the US Open is the third most prestigious major behind Augusta and the Open.

    • Masters - Always the same course, ultra exclusive, limited to even go and watch.
    • Open Champ - played at courses that anyone can play (a few have restricted days of the week)
    • US Open - Rota, but you could get tickets, but not easy to get on for a round yourself (Other than a few resort courses like Pinehurst and Pebble)
    • PGA - look, not that no one cares about the PGA, but everyone pretty much cares less about the PGA

    So the US Open can't and probably doesn't want to become The Masters, they don't want to become the PGA. The one championship they could pursue would be the Open, and having courses that regular golfers can go and play is absolutely a requirement. Sure it'll cost you to take a trip to the UK/Ireland but YOU CAN play at any of the courses in the open rota, and I do not see myself getting to play Shinnecock, Oakmont, Merion, Olympic, Congressional, Winged Foot, or any of the other ultra exclusive private courses they hold this tournament at.

    So the USGA had a choice, push ultra private to allow some public play, or push to add some public courses. I have only played a handful of private US Open courses, but I can tell you based on those few they aren't likely to let any public play anytime soon. Golf is just different in the UK, golf clubs aren't part of the courses grounds themselves, here the exclusivity for some of joining a place the general public cannot go and have almost no chance of getting on feels good to those people, but it has and will continue to stunt the growth of the game.

    In short I LOVE THE DECISION TO PLAY at different courses, especially the public courses. I am even up for resort courses, as long as they aren't introducing more private clubs to the mix.

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