As we get geared up for the 2013 PGA Championship that tees off Thursday morning, we know all the players who will be chasing the Wanamaker Trophy, but how much do you know about the Oak Hill Country Club? Specifically, the East Course at this Pittsford, New York venue where champions are made.
The Oak Hill Country Club is located in Pittsford, which is in upstate New York in the Rochester vicinity. The Country Club was established in 1901 and included only nine holes on 85 acres of land. The country club doubled in size due to the explosion of golf in the United States and in 1921 was running out of room.
The nearby University of Rochester proposed a land swap with the membership in 1921 and Oak Hill was moved to the present 355 acre site where there was room for two golf courses. Donald J. Ross was hired to design the courses, and we have the present day configuration.
The East Course which is the longest, and more difficult of the two courses was designated as the championship course for tournament play. It has undergone changes and modernization over the years, first in the 1960’s by Robert Trent Jones Sr. and again in 1989 by Tom Fazio, which is the current layout.
After the 1949 US Amateur was played at Oak Hill, it hosted two US Opens in 1956, and 1968. Cary Middlecoff won the 1956 US Open and pocketed a whopping $6,000 Dollars, with Lee Trevino winning in 68, and taking home $30,000 dollars. Still a far cry from the Millions that are awarded today.
1980 was the first time Oak Hill hosted a PGA Championship, with Jack Nicklaus winning in a comeback season after everyone thought his career was over. Jack also won the US Open that year at Baltusrol in a final round matchup against Japanese player, Isao Aoki. We all know that wouldn’t be the last major for Nicklaus’ storied career.
Curtis Strange won his second consecutive US Open in 1989 at Oak Hill after it hosted the US Senior Open in 1984. Curtis Strange is the last player to win back-to-back US Opens and it hadn’t been done since Ben Hogan won back-to-back championships in the 1950/1951 seasons.
After hosting the Ryder Cup in 1995, Oak Hill hosted another US Amateur in 1998 won by Hank Kuehne, and its second PGA Championship won by Shaun Micheel in 2003. That remains to be Micheel’s only victory on the PGA Tour. In 2008, it hosted the Senior PGA Championship which was won by Jay Haas.
The East Course at Oak Hill is 7145 yards, and plays to a par of 70. It boasts a 76.7 course rating, and a 147 Slope. This is not a course for your average Sunday Foursome. In 2009, the East Course was named in Golf Digest as ranked 11th on its list of America’s top 100 golf courses. It was featured in the 2013 EA Sports video game Tiger Woods PGA Tour 14.
Fans will have the opportunity this week, to vote on pin placements for Sunday’s final round at the par 3 15th hole. The possible locations were decided upon by the PGA with Jack Niclaus’ suggestions. This is the PGA’s first attempt to involve fans in the game.
Follow me at FanCred.com and in the Golf Community at Google +