Oak Hill is a classic club and a classic course, however, over time it has been diluted and changed from its original Donald Ross design. Nevertheless, the course retains good “bones” and some fabulous holes. The 5th is a memorable, and difficult, par four with a tee shot that plays through a chute of trees and with a green fronted by a little creek. The seventh is a world class hole and is aptly named “Creek’s Elbow.” The challenge starts with a VERY narrow fairway to hit off the tee, and you have to avoid a creek on the right and a line of trees on the left. As if it weren’t challenging enough, the green is tiny. The strategic nature of the hole comes in because if you aim left and manage to hit the sliver of fairway you have an easier and shorter shot to the green. Laying back to avoid the stream leaves a long shot to the small green. It demands that the golfer think through what they are about to do and execute it with precision. The 600 yard (!) 13th hole even gives the pros fits; a par five that almost no one can reach in two. It has a creek running down the right-hand side and it crosses the fairway in the middle of the hole. The course is named Oak Hill for a reason, and the 13th sums it up nicely. As if 600 yards isn’t long enough, it also plays up hill in a meaningful way. And the club’s signature oak trees frame the green. The club recently began to restore the course back to Ross’s original intent, so hopefully it will be returned to its full former glory soon. For now, it remains a stern test of golf with an elegant clubhouse and atmosphere to match its rich history.
Date: October 20, 2019