The Country Club in Brookline plays host to the US Open for the first time since 1988, but what has changed and where will the tournament be won and lost?
Today’s Golfer’s 2022 Major coverage is brought to you in association with TaylorMade.
The USGA take pride in the US Open being seen as the toughest test in golf – and this year is unlikely to be any different at The Country Club, which has undergone more facelifts than your average Love Island star.
Originally part of a horse racing track, the modern-day championship course in Brookline, Massachusetts, is more European in flavour than most American venues, with rugged bunkering, rocky outcropping and some of the smallest greens in the country.
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It played host to the infamous 1999 Ryder Cup, ‘The Battle of Brookline’, which saw the hosts fight back from 10-6 down to win 14.5-13.5. But it was the poor behaviour of the US players and fans that drew the headlines with premature celebrations, poor sportsmanship and allegations of cheating.
The course has changed substantially since then with the latest iteration of renovations, led by Gil Hanse, creating a far more muscular (and open) track that will play just under 7,300 yards to a par of 70. But it remains a course of extremes, with three driveable par 4s offset by the perils of fierce slopes and club-tangling rough which, as tradition dictates at US Opens, is expected to be five inches deep in some places.
“The thought is to put some level of premium on driving the golf ball in the fairway and controlling your golf ball up around the greens,” says Jeff Hall, the USGA’s Managing Director, Rules and Open Championships. “It’s an important element of the overall test of the US Open.”
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The Country Club at Brookline: Official 2022 US Open Scorecard
The US Open Course is a composite of the Country Club’s 27 holes, which is made up of Clyde, Squirrel and Primrose nines. Clyde and Squirrell make up the main course and are the original 18 holes where the 1913 US Open was played. The Primrose Course is an executive course that was built in 1927 by William S Flynn.
The composite sees three holes of the Clyde nine replaced by three-and-a-half holes of the Primrose nine, while the par-4 4th of the main course will also be replaced by the par-3 12th of the main course for the 2022 US Open.
1st: Polo Field | Par 4 | 488 yards
2nd: Cottage | Par 3 | 215 yards
3rd: Pond | Par 4 | 499 yards
4th: Newton | Par 4 | 493 yards
5th: Bakers | Par 4 | 310 yards
6th: Plateau | Par 3 | 192 yards
7th: Corner | Par 4 | 375 yards
8th: Quarry | Par 5 | 557 yards
9th: Primrose 9 | Par 4 | 427 yards
Out: Par 35 | 3,556 yards
10th: Himalayas | Par 4 | 499 yards
11th: Redan | Par 3 | 131 yards
12th: Stockton | Par 4 | 473 yards
13th: Primrose 1&2 | Par 4 | 450 yards
14th: Primrose 8 | Par 5 | 619 yards
15th: Liverpool | Par 4 | 510 yards
16th: Clyde | Par 3 | 202 yards
17th: Elbow | Par 4 | 373 yards
18th: Home | Par 4 | 451 yards
In: Par 35 | 3,708 yards
Total: Par 70 | 7,264 yards
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The Country Club at Brookline: The Key Hole
11th | Par 3 | 131 yards
This year will see the return of one of the shortest holes in Major Championship history. The USGA have taken inspiration from the Postage Stamp at Royal Troon by bringing back the par-3 11th, which hasn’t been used in tournament play since the first US Open here in 1913.
It can be set up to play as long as 142 yards or as short as 105 yards, and the vertical drop is about 30 feet from tee to tabletop green, which is guarded by bunkers on the left and in front – all rebuilt by Hanse – with a steep hill on the right and a penalty area over the back.
The margin for error is so small that 1913 champion Ouimet double-bogeyed it in the final round, while Ray and Vardon could only manage a bogey in the play-off.
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Other key holes
10th | Par 4 | 499 yards
Formerly a par 5, the aptly-named Himalayas twists and turns past hills and glacial rock formations all the way to an elevated green. Drives will need to be threaded between a rocky mound on the right and trees on the left – and stay short of a creek 350 yards from the tee. The green slopes severely from left to right and sits on a pedestal surrounded by heavy rough and deep bunkers. Staying below the hole is pivotal.
14th | Par 5 | 619 yards
Played as a 450-yard par 4 in 1988, this hole has been transformed into one of only two par 5s on the course and plays more like 650 yards. At the 2013 US Amateur, only two players managed to reach the green in two. The safe play is to lay up and aim for a small plateau – over a 40ft ridge – to leave a straightforward pitch. Miss the fairway off the tee, however, and most players will have to make do with hitting a blind, uphill third shot with a mid-iron to a two-tier green.
18th | Par 4 | 451 yards
Together with the 1st, this hole used to form part of the horse racing track which remained on the property until 1968. The shallow yet heavily contoured green sits perched up above the landing zone for drives, with a massive cross bunker in front. The back half of the green acts as a backstop, so expect to see balls funneling back down to the front half. Shots that miss long leave an awkward – and fast – chip coming back.
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ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Michael Catling is the Features Editor of Today’s Golfer.
He has been a journalist for more than 10 years and was shortlisted for Bauer Media Journalist of the Year in 2019.
Michael joined Bauer Media in 2016 and has exclusively interviewed dozens of Major champions, including Jordan Spieth, Tom Watson, Gary Player and Jack Nicklaus.
A former member of Ufford Park and Burghley Park, Michael has been playing golf since he was 11 and currently plays off a handicap of 10.
Michael uses a Ping G driver, Ping G 3-wood, Ping G Crossover 3-iron, Ping G Series irons (4-PW), Ping Glide wedges (52º, 56º, 60º), TaylorMade MySpider Tour Putter, and Srixon AD333 golf ball.
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