Get to know The Olympic Club
By mustang6560 on 5/24/12
The 2012 U.S. Open at The Olympic Club is just around the corner, so it's time to start your preparations. The first, and most logical thing to do, is to familiarize yourself with the The Olympic Club.

The Olympic Club is the oldest athletic club in the United States of America. It was founded on May 6, 1860 and is located only a few miles away from downtown San Francisco. The Olympic Club features two 18-hole courses, the Lake Course and the Ocean Course, and a 9-hole par-3 course called the Cliffs Course. The Lake Course and the Ocean Course were originally designed by Willie Watson and Sam Whiting in 1924.

The Lake Course, which is the more prestigious of the two courses, has hosted the U.S. Opens four times ('55, '66, '87, and '98) and it will host the 112th edition for the fifth time when it returns to San Francisco in June. The Olympic Club is set to become one of only three clubs to host the U.S. Open five times. The other two courses are Winged Foot Golf Club and Pebble Beach Golf Links. The only clubs that have hosted the U.S. Open more times than The Olympic Club are Oakmont Country Club (8), Baltusrol Golf Club (7), and Oakland Hills Country Club (6).

Both the Lake Course and the Ocean Course were rebuilt in 1927 as a result of storm damage. Since then, the course has remained largely unchanged in order to maintain its classic design. However, the course has been altered on occasion. In 1955, prior to the first U.S. Open held at The Olympic Club, the USGA hired Robert Trent Jones, Sr. to make the Lake Course a true U.S. Open test. The other major change to the course happened when the greens were converted from poa annua greens to bent-grass greens.

The USGA is making a few changes to the Lake Course ahead of the 2012 U.S. Open. Under normal conditions, the course plays as a par 71, but for the U.S. Open, it will play as a par 70 7,163 yards (you can see a full list of the holes here). The par-5 first hole will play as a 520 yard par-4 instead of the normal par-5, which will only leave two par-5s and both will be on the back nine among the finishing holes. For the first of the par-5s - the 16th - the USGA is stretching it to an incredible length of 670 yards. The nature crescent shape of the hole, along with the added length, will making going for the green in two almost impossible. The other notable change is the new fairway bunker on the par-5 17th. The new fairway bunker is strategically located in the normal layup area of the fairway as a way to encourage players to go for it. The finishing hole at the Lake Course is a modest par-4 at a modest 355 yards. It is the only par-4 under 400 yards, but it is designed to provided a dramatic finish to the gallery sitting in the amphitheater surrounding the 18th green.

After writing this preview, I am jacked for the U.S. Open at The Olympic Club. It's sure to be another true test to find the best golfer in the world. I can pretty much guarantee you that the winning score will be at or just a hair below par. The winning score in 2012 will not resemble Rory McIlroy's incredible 16-under-par at Congressional in 2011. The USGA does not want to appear soft two years in a row.

The Olympic Club

[ comments ]
hughesj says:
Wish I was able to be there in person to watch, but will certainly be sure to catch this on TV.
joe jones says:
16 & 17 two par fives in a row. Should make for an interesting finish. I spent one day watching the 55 Open. I can't believe that the pro's will be able to go low on this course. If the USGA lets the rough grow it will be a beast.I can't remember what the weather is like in June but I do know they get inversions coming off the ocean in the late afternoons. Can anyone enlighten me about this.
mmontisano says:
Olympic has a weird history of denying some of the greatest players in history their chance at the trophy. Hogan being the most prominent, but I think Sam Snead is also on that list. it really should be an interesting championship and I can't wait.
hp says:
Nice summary. Just for the record, I believe it's called the "Lake" course, not "Lakes"course.

And badcaddy is right, the past winners were all underdogs upstaging the favorites on the last day (twice a playoff)

Jack Fleck over Ben Hogan in 1955
Billy Casper over Arnold Palmer in 1966
Scott Simpson over Tom Watson in 1987
Lee Janzen over Payne Stewart in 1998

Last year I played a round across the street at Harding Park with the police officer that drove Scott Simpson to the airport right after his win over Tom Watson. He told me that Scott Simpson was in total shock in the back seat and looked over to his wife and said something to the effect of "...what just happened...I just won the US Open."
mustang6560 says:
@hp- Good catch.
aaronm04 says:
I'm looking for the good iron players to shine here. With only two par-5's, birdie opportunities will be at even more of a premium.
Banker85 says:
I cant wait! Best Golf Tournament of the Year by FAR!
Banker85 says:
i played it on best way to learn it
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