While the Masters is always held at Augusta National in early April, golf’s other three majors rotate every year.
We previewed the Masters for you in detail earlier, and now we will give you a quick overview of the courses that are hosting this year’s U.S. Open, Open Championship and PGA Championship.
Oakmont Country Club – 2016 U.S. Open (June 16-19)
Oakmont Country Club is one of America’s most storied venues, consistently ranking as one of our country’s top ten courses and one of the country’s most difficult tracks.
Oakmont was built in 1903. Henry Fownes and 150 men spent more than a year building the course on a patch of Pennsylvania farmland in the Allegheny River valley. Oakmont is a unique course without a single, real water hazard. Its difficulty lies in 200 bunkers and Oakmont’s massive, highly-contoured and extremely fast greens.
Originally built as a links course, thousands of trees were added in the 1950’s before being removed after Oakmont hosted the 1994 U.S. Open.
Royal Troon Golf Club – 2016 Open Championship (July 14-17)
Royal Troon was constructed as a five-hole golf course in Troon, Ayrshire Scotland in 1878. Today, Royal Troon contains two courses, the Portland designed by Alister McKenzie and the Old Course, which will host its 9th Open Championship this July.
At the 2004 Open, Royal Troon’s Old Course played as a par 71 at a length of 7,175 yards. Players view sand dunes and the Firth of Clyde as they make their way around the 18-hole links layout.
Royal Troon’s layout includes the shortest hole in major championship golf and one of the longest. “Postage Stamp”, Royal Troon’s 8th hole is only 123 yards long. As the name suggests, the green is tiny and difficult to hit. Before arriving at Postage Stamp, players take on “Turnberry”, the massive 601-yard par 5 6th hole.
2016 will mark the 9th time Royal Troon has hosted the world’s oldest major championship. Past winners here include Tom Weiskopf, Tom Watson and Arnold Palmer.
Baltusrol Golf Club – 2016 PGA Championship (July 28-31)
In order to accommodate the Summer Olympics (which now includes golf), this year’s PGA takes place only two weeks after the Open Championship, instead of its traditional mid-August date.
The course is built on farmland that was owned by a New Jersey famer named Baltus Roll.
The original course was torn up and Baltusrol hired A.W. Tillinghast and in 1918 the Baltusrol board approved the construction of two 18-hole courses known as the Upper Course and the Lower Course. Four years later, Baltusrol Upper and Lower opened for play. Over the years, both courses have been lengthened and tweaked by noted designers Robert Trent Jones and eventually his son Rees Jones, which even included restorations of Tillinghast’s original design.
Baltusrol’s Lower Course will host this year’s PGA Championship. The Lower Course hosted the 1993 U.S. Open won by Lee Janzen and, more recently, the 2005 PGA Championship which was captured by Phil Mickelson. In 2005, the course played to a par 70 and measured 7,392 yards. Jack Nicklaus won two of his U.S. Opens (1967 and 1980) on the Lower Course.
The Lower Course includes some difficult holes including the 650-yard par 5 17th hole. John Daly is the only touring pro to reach this green in two during tournament play.