The 2017 U.S. Open kicks off this coming Monday at Erin Hills, with three days of prep, practice and promotions, all leading up to first-round tee times on Thursday morning.
Erin Hills is located in the aptly-named town of Erin Hills, Wisconsin – about 45 minutes southwest of Milwaukee. It will mark the first time America’s national championship will be played in the state of Wisconsin.
To get familiarized with this award winning golf course in “America’s Dairyland,” here’s a look at the first nine holes. (Tomorrow we’ll have the back-nine.)
Par 5 | 560 Yards
Hole one borders the wetland, with the fairway sloped from right to left in the direction of this trouble. The collection of bunkers burrowed into the right hillside about 50 yards in front of the green are a danger for those seeking to get home in two.
Par 4 | 338 Yards
The second hole is a strategic one where those confident enough to shoot for the blind left side of the fairway will be rewarded with an advantageous view of the green for the approach pitch. As the smallest green on the course, however, a good tee shot doesn’t ensure a good score.
Par 4 | 508 Yards
The third hole is the course’s first long par 4, and completes a trifecta of varied opening holes. With wetlands guarding the left and bunkers on the right, this hole demands accurate tee shots. The mid-hole bunker will catch short approaches.
Par 4 | 439 Yards
The 4th may be the most challenging hole on the course. The fairway is skirted by a hillside of heavy rough on the left and an intimidating bunker that protrudes into the fairway on the right. The big central bunkers will force players who miss the fairway to leave themselves a lengthy third shot. With a thin green, and the front bunker and back wetlands, the approach here will not be easy.
Par 4 | 505 Yards
Hole five has fairways curving along its natural contours, and probably best captures the essence and character of Erin Hills, physically and visually.
Par 3 | 208 Yards
The sixth appears simple enough with a large green and minimal hazards. A score of worse than 4 is unlikely, but a birdie is well earned.
Par 5 | 607 Yards
Three bunkers forward-facing on the left visually control the approach, but the tease on the right is possibly the greater challenge.
Par 4 | 92 Yards
As a right-to-left dogleg and left-to-right slant of the fairway, the 8th hole is the tee shot where a player who is able to work a draw shot will hold the biggest advantage. With front bunkers and a shallow green, the approach favors the player who can bring the ball in high.
Par 3 | 135 Yards
The front nine comes to an end with this tiny, yet challenging, par 3. The raised tee box introduces wind, so club selection here will be a test. The green slopes from left-to-right. The danger here is a back-left bunker that is blind from the tee.
Coming Tomorrow: Holes 10-18
Sources/Credits: USGA, Erin Hills, Getty Images