THE lower course

Course Tour

VI 72 7550 76.2 146
V 72 7135 74.4 142
IV 72 6665 72.7 138
III 72 6225 71.3 134
II 72 5430 73.6 138
I 72 5000 71.2 133

Hole 1

495 Yards | Par 5 | Par 4 (Major Championships)
The Lower Course begins with a challenging tee shot. Shunpike Road and out-of-bounds are left of the hole, while bunkers and a creek guard the right side of the fairway. A good drive will leave members with a risk/reward option of attempting to reach the green in two. Players electing to lay up must play to the right side of the fairway, which will open up an angle into the green, away from a deep left green side bunker.


Hole 2

375 Yards | Par 4
Visual intimidation is present off the tee, as the fairway appears narrower than it is between bunkers on the left and right sides of the fairway. Tee shots should be played over the left fairway bunkers, leaving approximately 150 into the green. A large cross bunker is positioned roughly 270 yards from the tee, which should dissuade players from using driver on this hole. The green is well bunkered and slopes severely from right to left. A proper approach shot will be left of the hole location, leaving the player with an uphill putt.


Hole 3

510 Yards | Par 4
Trees guard the left and right sides of the fairway on this long par 4. A proper tee shot will be played down the right side of the fairway to take advantage of the fairway’s downhill right-to-left slope, and create an angle into the green. The tee complex was lowered to restore Tillinghast’s original up-and-over design off the tee. The approach must carry a small creek and avoid bunkers on each side of the green. The green slopes from front to back and has been expanded to include several new potential hole locations.


Hole 4

200 Yards | Par 3
The signature hole on the Lower Course offers an expanded teeing ground that provides great variety in yardages and angles into the green. The tee shot must be played over a penalty area to a large, two-tiered green. Bunkers surround the green and will make for a difficult up-and-down if a player misses off the tee. Robert Trent Jones was criticized for lengthening the hole and carry over the water prior to the 1954 U.S. Open. In response, he took a group of critics to his new tee to play the hole. After knocking in a 4-iron for an ace, Jones declared the hole as “eminently fair.”


Hole 5

425 Yards | Par 4
A visually striking yet intimidating hole from the tee, the Fifth Lower requires strategy and commitment to navigate successfully. Three Tillinghast bunkers that slice through the heart of the fairway have been restored, while fairway bunkers to the right leave little room for error off the tee. The approach is played uphill to a green complex with a severe false front. Bunkers guard the green to the front and sides. A large Elm tree that was part of the original Tillinghast design has been replanted behind the green.


Hole 6

485 Yards | Par 4
A proper tee shot should favor the center or right side of the fairway to avoid a restored waste area on the left. An accurate drive that reaches a downhill slope in the fairway will roll for an additional 30-40 yards. The approach shot is played into a large green with bunkers to the left and right. Approaches from the rough can be rolled onto the front of the green or played off a restored backstop that slopes toward the center.


Hole 7

495 Yards | Par 5 | Par 4 (Major Championships)
A challenging tee shot that must avoid out-of-bounds to the left and restored Tillinghast fairway bunkers on the right. Well-played tee shots will give a player the option of going for the green in two. Players out of position off the tee will be forced to lay up between multiple bunkers onto a meandering fairway. The approach is played into the smallest green complex on the Lower Course. The green was restored to its original shape and size, as wings added on each side of the green prior to the 1954 U.S. Open were removed.


Hole 8

420 Yards | Par 4
A new championship tee and strategically placed fairway bunkers present a difficult opening shot on this medium-length Par 4. The tee shot should favor the left side of the fairway for an optimal angle into the green. The restored green has been expanded by approximately 2,100 square feet. The back shelf of this two-tiered green runs off into a bunker behind the putting surface, while an expanded tongue on the front of the green could potentially leave players with an 80-foot putt.


Hole 9

210 Yards | Par 3
The tee complex has been expanded to create a variety of angles into the green. Restored fairway bunkers are intimidating off the tee, and require a solid shot to avoid. The large green slopes from front to back and is protected by bunkers to the left and right.


Hole 10

460 Yards | Par 4
A long and difficult par 4 that requires an accurate tee shot. A creek winds along the right edge of the fairway, while wayward tee shots to the left will leave a long approach shot from the deep rough. Large bunkers protect the front of the green, which features multiple subtle breaks and may prove to be one of the most difficult greens to read on the Lower Course.


Hole 11

435 Yards | Par 4
A severe dogleg to the left that requires accuracy off the tee. Longer hitters may challenge the dogleg, but must navigate fairway bunkers and thick fescue to reach safety and a short approach into the green. A well-executed drive will rest near the corner of the dogleg and leave players with 150-175 yards to a blind putting surface. The green, which is the largest on the Lower Course, is also the most challenging, with severe undulations and a variety of difficult potential pin locations.


Hole 12

235 Yards | Par 3
A long par 3 with a forced carry into a partially-hidden green. The tee complex was lowered approximately four feet and the championship tees were lengthened slightly. Shots will have to be struck well and high to carry a large bunker and land softly on the green. The putting surface slopes severely from front to back.


Hole 13

470 Yards | Par 4
A long par 4 that doglegs to the right. A creek bisects the fairway and runs adjacent to the right of the hole, creating a risk/reward opportunity for players looking for a shorter approach into the green. Bobby Jones’s upset loss to George Von Elm in the 1926 U.S. Amateur was cemented on No. 13 when he found the creek off the tee. A two-tiered green slopes sharply from back to front and is surrounded by deep green side bunkers.


Hole 14

425 Yards | Par 4
A medium-length par 4 with a slight dogleg to the left. Drives must navigate fairway bunkers on the left and right. Players that carry the bunkers on the left will be rewarded with a shorter approach into the green. A subtle spine runs from the front to the back of the green, making an accurate approach to the correct side of the green essential.


Hole 15

460 Yards | Par 4
One of the most picturesque holes on the Lower Course, this straight-away par 4 requires two great shots to find the green. Staggered bunkers guard the left and right sides of the fairway. A poor tee shot may force players to lay up in front of a creek that runs across the fairway, roughly 100 yards from the green. The approach must carry a massive green side bunker and steep false front. The large green slopes from back to front and right to left.


Hole 16

240 Yards | Par 3
Bunkers surround the green on this long and difficult par 3. The restored Tillinghast green features a backstop designed to funnel tee shots back to the center of the putting surface. No. 16 was the site of Lee Janzen’s famous chip-in at the 1993 U.S. Open. The shot would propel him to victory in a dramatic duel with Payne Stewart.


Hole 17

655 Yards | Par 5
Three perfectly executed shots are required to reach the green in regulation on this iconic par 5. The return of the “Sahara” bunker that spans the width of the fairway requires an accurate drive and well-struck second shot to clear. Errant tee shots will force players to lay up short of the Sahara, leaving them with 180-200 yards to reach the green. An array of large bunkers guards the front and left side of the putting surface.


Hole 18

555 Yards | Par 5
Steeped in championship history, No. 18 has served as the stage for some of golf’s greatest major moments. Drives must avoid water to the left of the fairway and heavy rough to the right. Bold tee shots that challenge the water will give players an opportunity to reach the green in two. Jack Nicklaus famously hit one-iron from the fairway on No. 18 to break the U.S. Open scoring record in 1967. A plaque in the fairway commemorates the shot. A bunker in front of the green has been removed, restoring a ramp approach into an elevated green. The fairway connects seamlessly into the 18th Upper fairway, creating additional landing space and an improved angle to the green for players choosing to lay up.