Shinnecock Hills Golf Course, is a Private, 18 hole golf course located in Southampton, New York.
Shinnecock Hills Golf Club traces its roots to a 1889-1890 trip by William K. Vanderbilt, Edward Meade and Duncan Cryder, to southern France where they met Scotsman, Willie Dunn who was building a golf course at the resort.
Back in the United States Meade and Cryder scouted for a place for a golf course near New York City. They chose the sand hills adjoining the Long Island Railroad just east of the Shinnecock Canal. The 80 acre parcel was purchased for $2,500.
Shinnecock Hills Golf Club was founded in 1891. The original course was designed by William Dunn Jr. With the help of 150 Shinnecock Indians from the nearby reservation, a 12-hole course was constructed and opened for play in August 1891. Shinnecock Hills Golf Club was one of the five clubs that founded the United States Golf Association in 1894. Shinnecock Hills was redesigned by Charles B. Macdonald and Seth Raynor around 1916, retaining five of Dunn's original holes. The golf course was again redesigned in 1931 by Howard C. Toomey and William S. Flynn, retaining three of Macdonald and Raynor's holes and the green of a fourth hole.
In 1893 a nine-hole ladies-only course was designed and built at Shinnecock Hills and in 1895 William Dunn Jr. added six more holes to the original course.
The popular women's-only Red Course was abandon to allow for a lengthening and redesign of the 18-hole White Course by Charles B. MacDonald and Seth Raynor.
When a highway development cut the course in two, another redesign was completed by the team of Howard C. Toomey and William S. Flynn in 1931. The 7th, 9th and 17th holes designed by MacDonald and Raynor remained as they were, but much of the course known to golf lovers today dates from this era. The holes designed by Toomey and Flynn are the ones played today with very few minor changes over the past decades. The course has a ruggedly refined, natural look and feel to it, and the holes just flow together, one undulation after another after yet another. To the uninitiated, the fairways at Shinnecock Hills appear to be generously wide, but with the wind, the actual playable width of many is less than half of what they appear to be.
The golf course of Shinnecock is regarded as one of the most challenging in the world. Very few of the holes are played in the same direction, making for a very interesting game where shot placement is everything. The need for precision shot placement, however, is complicated by the fact that the golf course has quite a few hills and ridges, and the wind itself comes from several directions converging on the course's location. This makes it extremely difficult for a player to accurately judge the way the wind will affect a shot.
Unlike some golf courses, there are relatively few trees to trap a ball on this course. The main challenge is from the contours of the landscape itself as well as the unpredictable wind patterns. There are also relatively few bunkers and water traps on the course.
A unique aspect of the course is that the longest par-4s generally play downwind while the shorter par 4s play into the wind, which usually blows from the southwest. Because the terrain is so hilly, and the native grasses so thick, Shinnecock Hills is challenging both off the tee and from the fairway. However, many of the tee boxes are elevated in order to give players a clear view of fairway bunkers, sand areas and hazards that must be carried. Shinnecock is hard, but it fair.
#6 is a 474-yard, par-4 that features mounds, sand and rough that partial obscure the landing area of the fairway which angles to the right. On the second shot, players must hit uphill and over a pond that sits about 50 yards short and right of the green. A large bunker protects the green short and left of the putting surface. It's not uncommon to see the average player lay-up with his second shot and try to pitch-and-putt his way to a par on this hole.
#7 is a 189-yard, par-3 Redan-style hole that plays into the prevailing wind, which actually helps most players. Ideally, with the green tilting from front-right to back-left, the ideal tee shot should land softly on the front portion of the green because anything landing on the left portion will feed down to the flat area behind the green.
#11 â€œHill Head,â€ is a 158-yard par-3 that can be tricky because it plays downwind. The green slopes from back to front, but three of the four greenside bunkers guard the front, so safely hitting a shot that stops in the middle of the putting surface is tough. â€œHill Head,â€ requires a lofted shotâ€”usually downwindâ€”to the smallest green on the course.
There are only two par-5 holes, the rather short but narrow #5 hole and the famous #16, with the tee box that points you to heaven. For the first and only time during the round the straight-on view is one of the entire north side of the clubhouse as well as a side view of the spectacular #9 green area.
Shinnecock Hills has 12 really fine par-4s. #14, â€œThomâ€™s Elbow,â€ is a 444-yard challenge and a perfect example. As you look down the narrow fairway toward the green, it appears as if you are looking in the wrong end of a telescope. The fairway starts out 30 yards wide and is guarded on both sides by Shinnecock brambles, scrub pines and bunkers in all the right spots. But as you approach the green the fairway narrows.
Shinnecock Hills hosted the U.S. Open four times in three different centuries. Three U.S. Open Championships have been played at Shinnecock Hills in the modern era. In 1986 Raymond Floyd won at the age of 43. In 1995, Cory Pavin hit a famous 4-wood to within six feet of the hole on #18 on Sunday to secure his victory, and in 2004 Retief Goosen's amazing putting display overcame some of the most brutal conditions in U.S. Open history.
Shinnecock Hills golf course is that rare combination of a perfect setting that was minimally touched producing a masterpiece of elegant simplicity in design.
Shinnecock Hills Golf Club golf course plays to a par-70 and a maximum distance of 6,996. The course rating is 74.5 and the slope rating is140.
Member (cart included), played on Wednesday, August 2011 at 10am
deserving of US Open play and is rewarded with that by hosting the Open again in 2018
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