Oakmont - Pennsylvania - USA

Oakmont Country Club,
1233 Hulton Rd,
Oakmont,
Pennsylvania (PA) 15139,
USA


  • +1 412 828 4653

  • Thomas B. Wallace III

  • Henry and William Fownes

  • Bob Ford


Apart from Augusta National, Oakmont Country Club has hosted more major Championships than any other course in the U.S. and it’s considered by many to be the toughest golf course in the world.

Oakmont is hidden away in the Pennsylvanian hills near Pittsburgh and steel magnate Henry C. Fownes fathered Oakmont in 1903. His son William, former U.S. Amateur Champion, continued his father’s work for an entire lifetime. The result can be summed up in three words, greens and bunkers. The greens at Oakmont are lightning fast and the bunkering is penal, epitomised by the famous “Church Pews” bunker which catches errant drives at the 3rd and 4th holes. Rumour has it that the greens were actually slowed down ahead of a national championship… they really are that fast.

“From its very beginnings, when the par for the course was set at 80,” wrote Mike Stachura in American Classic Courses, “Oakmont Country Club has made no apologies and taken no prisoners. It prides itself on being a brutal test of golf from green to tee, seemingly laughing full-throated at the visiting golfer like an evil genie. It was, according to 1927 U.S. Open winner Tommy armour, “a cruel and treacherous playground.” It still is. Par may no longer be 80 at Oakmont, but it sure feels like it.”

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Reviews for Oakmont

Av. Reviewers Score:
Description: Apart from Augusta National, Oakmont Country Club has hosted more major Championships than any other course in the U.S. and it’s considered by many to be the toughest golf course in the world. Rating: 5.5555555555556 out of 6

I had the privilege of playing Oakmont in the beginning of October and it lived up to its billing of being a world class course and test in golf. As this was my first time I cannot contrast what the experience was prior to the removal of the vast amount of trees bringing it back to the look of the original design by Henry C. Fownes, but I was struck multiple times during my round by the tremendous sight lines through out the round.

OCC certainly lived up to its reputation of being a brutal test of golf. While much is made about the speed of the greens (and rightfully so), I found the most challenging aspect of the course for me was the fairway bunkers. It seemed as though I would hit well struck drives that would end up rolling into well placed bunkers lining the fairway. With the majority of the fairway bunkers being very deep, I was forced to take me medicine and play a lofted wedge back to the fairway without advancing the ball too far. However, the difficulty did not dampened the round and I thoroughly enjoyed my round. The hospitality of the staff from the guard house, bag drop, locker room attendant, pro shop, caddie, to lunch server was top notch and made for a warm environment that left the mark that in addition to the fine championship course, the rich history, that the club operations and staff are top notch.

Oakmont easily jumped into contention as a personal favorite with some of the top courses that I've been fortunate to play in U.S. and abroad; hoping to have the pleasure to be back in 2018.

November 14, 2017


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Clearly one of the best courses in the world and a course that needs little description because most golf course lovers are familiar. The one downside to the course is that it is not a lot of fun for high handicaps due to the challenging tee shots and greens. Single-digit handicaps enjoy the test.

June 23, 2017


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Both Johnny Miller and Ernie Els call the first hole the hardest opening hole in championship golf and it's hard to disagree. Along the right-hand side is O.B. the entire length of the hole. If you don't hit the ball far enough on your tee shot, you have a blind downhill shot to the green. The green slopes right to left and back to front and is lightning quick. Many golf course architects believe in a moderately easy hole to open with and then the course gets progressively more difficult. The father and son designers of the course, the Fownes', did not share this philosophy. Their design philosophy of, "A shot poorly played should be a shot irrevocably lost", was executed with precision when they designed Oakmont.

There is no letup from the first tee to the eighteenth green. Every hole at Oakmont is hard and the greens are all as fast as any course in the world. Oakmont is essentially in U.S. Open condition all the time and it proves a difficult test of golf. I just don’t have the shot to play a 288-yard par three. I love the history of the club and the historic clubhouse. Oakmont is worth visiting, just bring you’re A+ game. It is the hardest golf course I have ever played.

John Sabino is the author of How to Play the World’s Most Exclusive Golf Clubs

November 24, 2016


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With our national championship on tap at Oakmont, I thought a review would be timely.

The first time put I ever had there was a 15 footer that broke 8 feet………….and that was in October when the greens hadn’t even been cut that day. Right then I knew I was in for a special experience………and I was not disappointed. While the course is accurately viewed as difficult, I found a number of mitigating factors. Fairway landing areas are generous, though there is usually a better side of the fairway to approach from. And only a few greens—generally on the shortest holes--are completely surrounded by bunkers. So unlike other difficult courses (Seminole, Winged Foot West and Oakland Hills South are among those that come quickly to mind) playing a running approach is quite feasible—or even preferable—in many cases. I’ve a double digit handicap, and breaking 90 has not been a problem whenever I played.

The fabled tree removal—the project that got the trend started in the 90s—makes for striking views in all directions. Seventeen flagsticks are visible from the massive front porch of the clubhouse. And while the Pennsylvania Turnpike does bisect the course, it’s far enough below grade as to be not at all intrusive.

The greens are as difficult as advertised. Sam Snead once claimed that “I went to mark my ball, but the coin slid off .” But there are antidotes to the ubiquitous back to front slope found on more conventional courses, a four of them (1, 3, 10 and 12) fall away from the golfer. Others are sloped severely left or right, requiring some thought on the approach. And there are lots of undulations, many severe, though some, e.g. the 3rd and 8th, are more subtle. Over 200 bunkers add to the challenge, even without the furrows that were present for many years.

I have yet to play Cypress or Pine Valley, but until I do—and maybe even after—this is my favorite golf course in the U.S.

June 14, 2016


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I played Oakmont to complete the Top 100, but I have no desire to go back. I can’t understand why anyone other than the best of golfers who really enjoy being tested would want to join Oakmont. In my opinion, this collection of 18 holes is more like a penal colony than a golf course.

Oakmont was founded and designed in 1903 by Henry Fownes and his son William. Their goal was to build the most difficult golf course possible, and they succeeded. After the course was built, the Fownes boys would watch golfers play the course, and whenever they saw a player hit over a fairway bunker or hit a poor shot that went unpunished, they would instruct the greens keeper to excavate another bunker. At one time they had directed the installation of more than 350 bunkers. The Fownes’ design philosophy was that “a shot poorly played should be a shot irrevocably lost.” The golf world should be damn glad that this was the only course they designed. Larry Berle.

October 17, 2014


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Keith Baxter
October 17, 2014
The above review is an edited extract from A Golfer’s Dream, which has been reproduced with the author’s kind permission. A Golfer’s Dream, by Larry Berle, tells the story of how a regular guy conquered America’s Top 100 Golf Courses (following Golf Digest’s 2001/2002 list). Larry has exclusively rated for us every course in the hundred, using our golf ball rating system. However, Larry did not rate the 100 courses against every golf course he has played, but instead he rated them in relation to each other within the hundred. Consequently, in some cases, his rating may seem rather low. A Golfer’s Dream is available in Kindle format and also on Kindle Unlimited via Amazon... click the link for more. 
I had the opportunity to play this course right at the end of the season in 2008. Despite horizontal torrential rain, this was a magnificent golfing experience. From the moment you walk into the club everything oozes class and privilege, but despite the slightly awkward moral questions posed by being forced to take caddies who carried two bags each everything felt right about this place and it is clearly the course that is the master and the members are merely custodians. Walking through the clubhouse has a similar feel to taking a tour of Fenway Park or Lords. You are on hallowed ground and at every corner is a reminder of great players and their deeds. Playing the course (particularly in the conditions we had) is a humbling experience. Even soaking wet the greens were very fast and the mind boggles at how hard this course must be when it is set up for US Open conditions. The undulations and changes in elevation around the course are huge and the risk-reward options on nearly every shot make the mental challenge a key part as well. Some of the bunkering is knee trembling stuff as you try to work out a safe way to negotiate the hole! I have never been so wet in my life, and yet I enjoyed every minute - a lifelong memory and an ambition fulfilled!
March 13, 2013


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Have been fortunate to play Oakmont in 2008 and then again in September 2012. Believe all the tales about the greens 'cos they are true ! In 2008 the greens were running at 13 -14 on the stimpmeter and they wanted to get them to15 for a members' competition the next day.....yikes. It is a tough, unforgiving course presented immaculately.Even the short par fours....like 17....are so well bunkered and the green is tiny. Like the course, the clubhouse is SUPERB and is a delight to walk thro' and eat and drink in. One of THE VERY BEST.
November 14, 2012


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Truly world class. Think of the quickest greens you have putted on and then add some! The presentation of the course, the quality of the clubhouse, the excellent cottages all add up to make it a fantastic experience. The caddies were very knowledgable and without them I would have struggled on the greens. Only area I would say could improve would be the locker room. Not a lot of atmosphere and pretty dark!
October 24, 2009


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Rob G
August 14, 2010
Oakmont is amazing, only walked it never played it, but I was a caddy as a kid on Oakland Hills (the monster) and learned the hard way to approach Donald Ross greens. To think Johnny Miller nailed a 63 on a final of the US open here is beyond comprehension.
Joel E
October 17, 2011
Oakmont lives up to its rating. I liked the locker rooms with all the spike marks on the benches. You feel the history of the place as you tie up your shoes.
This has been on my must play list for ages and I finally got to play here last month. It’s one of the great golfing highlights of my life and truly inspiring and the overall experience was way above my high expectations. Caddies we marvellous and without the help of my caddy I suspect my score would have doubled! The greens were running at 12 on the stimp and am told that is slow by normal standards… believe me this is one serious course and almost life changing.
October 16, 2006


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Gilles
July 05, 2009
Played the course in April 2009 and even in the early stage of the season the course kept is reputation. The staff are wonderful and the two caddies we had made the course even more enjoyable. Greens and Bunkers this is how I describe it. Bring your best game and listen to the caddy. You will more than enjoy your experience.