Wednesday, February 11, 2009

No U.S. Open For Cherry Hills

For most of 2008, I was a Colorado resident. I played golf all over the area, and am here to tell you that the reports of added length with all golf shots are true. At first you might not totally grasp the added length, but catch a driver in the sweet spot and check where that bad boy landed. I promise you'll be happily surprised.

That is why one writer over at doesn't think Cherry Hills. host of the 1938, '60 and '78 U.S. Opens just isn't long enough to host our nation's championship, even with the current renovation and added length.

... the 2012 U.S. Amateur will be held at Cherry Hills Country Club in Denver. The latter proclamation was immediately interpreted by some as a sign that the U.S. Open would go to Cherry Hills in the following decade, since in the recent past the USGA has used the Amateur as a dress rehearsal for hosting the Open.

Along those lines, the course is currently being lengthened from 7,160 yards to about 7,500, a change at least partly undertaken with thoughts of luring back the Open ... The USGA also let it be known it doesn't think there's enough space at Cherry Hills for the Open's infrastructure — TV compounds, hospitality tents, etc. — but what no one seems to want to admit is that Cherry Hills will never see the Open again because even with renovations, the course is simply too short.

Strangest thing about all this. I had a conversation yesterday with one of the golf writers at FanHouse about the current reconstructions taking place at Pebble Beach for the upcoming 2010. They are adding length to the famous oceanfront golf course to make it more difficult for today's golfers.

I am not a historian of any sorts when it comes to this game, but I do believe in one thing. If you want to make these Open courses tougher, tighten the hell out of the fairways. Sure, the course has to have some length, but a 430-yard par-4 with a 15 yard wide fairway and devastating rough will bring back the art of the long iron.

Trust me, as someone who isn't shy with the swing speed, medium rough is about as intimidating as a girl with a "Take Me Home" sign hanging around her neck. You need to think. You need to worry.

The USGA needs to go back to its bread and butter. Make the courses more difficult with options, not with length.


Aussie Golfer said...

Couldn't agree more with you here either! I'm not commenting here for the fun of it....I just agree 100%!

14 STIX said...

7100 is plenty of length to host an Open. Look at the last 5 venues for the Open:
'08 Torrey Pines - 7600 yds
'07 Oakmont - 7200 yds
'06 Winged Foot - 7260 yds
'05 Pinehurst - 7200 yds
'04 Shinnecock - 6960 yds

7500 yds at Cherry Hills would be way more than enough length. As long as the rough is long and greens firm and fast there is nothing about the course itself that wouldn't allow it to be open-worthy.

I'm not familiar with the area around Cherry Hills, but even if the logistical side of the tournament would be difficult - all it comes down to is how much money can the site generate for the USGA and the Tour. If the money is there - then the USGA and Tour will be there. They will make it work.

John said...

@14 stix: I believe the issue is that 7500 yards at Cherry Hills is only equivalent to maybe 7000 yards someplace else.

But, hell, even ten years ago the official word was that Merion was too short and didn't have enough space for an Open, and they've fixed that.

Well, they've fixed the space issue by moving the hospitality tents across the street, which is fine. They claim they've added 450 yards to the course, and having been on it a couple times for the life of me I can't figure out WHERE they put them, unless the club has figured out how to access a pocket dimension of some sort.