2022 has been a crazy year for golf to say the least. It’s hard to believe that the U.S. Open is already upon us and taking place at The Country Club (Brookline). The Country Club, ranked 17th on Golf Digest’s America’s 100 Greatest courses list and has undergone a historic restoration over the past decade.
Jon Rahm got the defense of his US Open title under way yesterday. To refresh your memory he birdied the final two holes at Torrey Pines last year to snatch victory by a single shot from Louis Oosthuizen![adrotate group=”25″]
The Country Club (Clyde & Squirrel), Massachusetts, USA
• World Ranking – Ranked 49th in the world
• Country Ranking – Ranked 23rd in the USA
• State Ranking – Ranked 1st in Massachusetts
• Course designed by Willie Campbell (1895), Alex Campbell (1902), William S. Flynn (1927)
• One of the oldest country clubs in the USA
History – The Country Club at Brookline Golf Course
The Country Club located in Brookline, Massachusetts, is one of the oldest country clubs in the United States. This iconic golf course has hosted some amazing tournaments over the years with the 17th hole being a common pivotal point (370-yard par 4).
- Ryder Cup (1999) when Jose Maria Olazabal just missed a long birdie putt on 17 giving the hole to Justin Leonard which meant the U.S. team coming from behind to win.
- U.S. Open (1913) when Francis Ouimet a 20 year old amateur that grew up just down the road from The Country Club made a long birdie putt on 17 to force a playoff with 2 dominant british golfers. Francis boxed another birdie putt on 17 to secure the win.
- U.S. Open (1988) when Curtis Strange made a 3-putt bogey on 17 after having a 1-stroke lead over Nick Faldo. Curtis then got up and down out of a bunker on the 18th to save par and beat Faldo during the next day’s playoff.
The 2022 U.S. Open Golf Course:
The Main Course is composed of the Clyde and Squirrel nines, essentially the original 18 holes. This was the course used for the 1913 U.S. Open, and is the course played by members today.
The other nine holes are the Primrose Course, an executive course built in 1927.
The Championship Course is the course used for major competitions today when a longer layout is required. In this configuration the 3 and a half holes from the Primrose course are used to replace 3 holes of the Clyde nine which results in a length of almost 7,400 yards.
For the 2022 US Open, the Championship Course has been altered. The par 4 4th hole of the main course has been removed and the par 3 12th hole of the main course has been added which results in a 7,312 yard par 70 layout.
Who’s Familiar With The Course?
Interestingly enough only a few of the players are familiar with the course.
Mainly the players who played in the 2013 U.S. Amateur:
- Matthew Fitzpatrick
- Scottie Scheffler
- Xander Schauffele
- Justin Thomas
- Corey Conners
As well as the players who played in the 1999 Ryder Cup:
- Jim Furyk
- Sergio Garcia
- Phil Mickelson
- Tiger Woods
The rest of the field is encountering a style of architecture common to golf in the past. This means playing some shots that aren’t familiar and as with any U.S. Open the players success will be extremely dependent on their patience as well as ball striking.[adrotate group=”23″]
The Country Club’s layout focuses on the land and its vigor as the holes flow through the unique natural landscape. The golf course does not play through the terrain but rather embraces it and goes right over the top of whatever is in the way.
One of the stand out features at The Country Club is the smallness of the greens and the difficulty of the long grass around the greens. The greens at The Country Club (average – 4,400 square feet) are second only to Pebble Beach’s (average – 3,900 square feet) and their greens are among the smallest in major-championship golf.
The course was an active country club with a polo field and racetrack that bordered the right edges of the out and back 1st and 18th holes. The racetrack was abandoned decades ago but the depression in front of the first green is still evident.
Another interesting feature is the wispy fescue and stubborn bluestem grass. Wayward drives at The Country Club are likely to end up in these features with some uneven lies to spice it up. This means that precision shots into the greens from these positions become a bit of a hit and hope situation which makes for some interesting golf.
Blind shots are very common at The Country Club which is a rare sight in major-championship golf. Blind shots can lead to a bit of discomfort and take a physiological toll on the players. There are about 12 holes where players can’t see their approaches or drives land.
The Most Entertaining Hole
The 11th hole is a par 3 called “Redan” which is very unusual for a hole that is not a Redan.
The putting surface is missing a gentle, front-to-back slope. This par 3 is a short downhill chute, a 130 yard flick wedge from an elevated tee box into a deceptively tight green.
Insights on the 11th hole:
Elevation – Misses either left , right , long or short are exaggerated because the ball is in the air for so long.
Bunkering – The bunkers make for a difficult shot into the narrow green so you have got to fly it to the green.
Size – The small green means that different hole locations make a huge difference.
Misses – You don’t want to miss it right because it’s wet , thick and you don’t know what you are going to get there.
Undulations – If your ball lands on the edge of the elevated green your ball is actually repelled away from the green.
This little hole will require the players to risk it for the biscuit depending on how aggressive they want to get. The target isn’t far but it’s difficult to hit which makes for some great spectating.
The Country Golf Club (Brookline) Membership:
The club has no more than 1,500 members. This number is quite high compared to other private courses on GOLF’s Top 100 courses in America. However, almost none of those names are available to the public.
Tom Brady was confirmed to be a member by three other Brookline members (although he had to wait), all of whom confirmed this anonymously. If you want to join, you must be sponsored by two current members with seven additional testimonials to strong character.
Brookline keeps membership information disclosed, as do most private clubs, but there is a lot of speculation. It is one of those spots where you are asked to join, not the other way around.[adrotate group=”24″]
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