THE MONSTER IS READY. Oakland Hills, site of next week’s PGA Championship, is groomed and sufficiently gnarly as it awaits the arrival of the world’s best golfers.
This monster, as Ben Hogan famously called it after his 1951 U.S. Open victory, will be a severe test for the field of the 90th PGA Championship, according to course superintendent Steve Cook.
“We’ve made our par 3s longer and tougher, narrowed the fairways, and really paid attention to the landing areas,” Cook said in a news release.
Oakland Hills is 7,439 yards and plays to a par of 70. The greens are Poa annua and will roll at 12 on the Stimpmeter. The bentgrass fairways are narrowed and many of the 135 bunkers have been redone and relocated.
“It places a premium on tee shot accuracy,” Cook said. “We've also tried to make our bunkers more penal and very hazardous. Plus, it’s difficult to get to the right spots on the greens — the hole locations shrink them because of the undulations and shelving.”
Words such as “penal,” “very hazardous,” “undulations” and “shelving” are a strong tipoff. Oakland Hills is going to be a brute. The PGA Championship doesn’t normally play as tough as the U.S. Open, but this year might be an exception.
−The Armchair Golfer