US Open: Philip Reid’s guide to the West Course at Winged Foot

The A W Tillinghast design will prove a true test for the world’s best golfers

Tiger Woods walks to his approach shot on the ninth hole as the clubhouse is seen during a practice round prior to the 120th US Open Championship at Winged Foot Golf Club in Mamaroneck, New York. Photograph: Gregory Shamus/Getty Images

1st – 451 yards, Par 4

A slight dogleg left, the opening hole demands a good tee shot to a narrow fairway but the real test comes on reaching the green which is 40 yards long and slopes viciously from back to front and is considered one of the more challenging on the course. There are two long, narrow bunkers on either side of the green.

2nd – 484 yards, Par 4

Even the biggest hitters will be wary of a strategically placed bunker down the left side of the fairway which doglegs to the right. The large trap is positioned 290 yards off the tee, and players will favour the left side for the best approach shot into a green which is dominated by the overhanging presence of a 110-feet tree to the left of the putting surface.

3rd – 243 yards, Par 3

Expect to see use of multiple tees through the championship, although few if any players are likely to adopt the strategy of Billy Casper who famously laid up short of the green and got up and down for par in all four rounds of the 1959 US Open. The green is protected by two large and deep bunkers and features severe slopes on the putting surface.

4th – 467 yards, Par 4

The majority of players are likely to attempt to overpower this dogleg left, which features a large fairway bunker down the left. It requires a 300 yards carry to get over the sand trap, while another bunker is positioned down the right to catch any leaked drives). The approach shot demands ball control, while the putting surface is rectangular and features a myriad of slopes working in numerous directions.


5th – 502 yards, Par 4

There will be a degree of flexibility on hole set-up through the championship, with a front teeing ground reducing the length to 472 yards if used, but the challenge will be for players to find the fairway with trees in play down the left and a large fairway bunker located on the right elbow of the dogleg. There are three deep bunkers protecting the green, two on the right and one on the left, and recovery shots from the sand are especially challenging.

6th – 321 yards, Par 4

The temptation to go for the green will likely prove irresistible for most of the field. For those who opt to hit iron and lay-up, there is the challenge of finding a fairway which is the narrowest on the course and some of the heaviest rough. “Honestly, I’m more comfortable hitting a driver up at the green than I am hitting a 3-iron. That hole is certainly one that suits my eye and suits hitting a cut driver in there,” said Rory McIlroy of a strategy likely to be used by most players.

Justin Rose plays from a greenside bunker during a practice round at Winged Foot. Photograph: Gregory Shamus/Getty Images

7th – 162 yards, Par 3

Although the shortest hole on the course, the challenge is to find the putting surface off the tee. The tee shot is to a raised green protected by three deep bunkers which are set seven feet below the putting surface.

8th – 490 yards, Par 4

Most players will likely use fairway woods off the tee on this dogleg right hole, although some of the bigger hitters will be tempted to fly the trees down the right in an attempt to shorten the hole. The green – while retaining Tillinghast's original intent – was expanded in 2016 in a restoration project carried out by Gil Hanse. Two large, deep bunkers dominate either side of the putting surface.

9th – 565 yards, Par 5

What you see is what you get on this Par 5, with a straight fairway inviting players to let rip off the tee. Finding the fairway is a prerequisite for those seeking to reach the green in two, while the putting surface features slopes which go in a number of different directions.

10th – 214 yards, Par 3

A classic hole which will likely play as one of the toughest through the championship. The green is protected front left and right by the deepest bunkers (some eight and a half feet below the putting surface) on the course. The green itself has severe slopes, predominantly from back to front.

11th – 384 yards, Par 4

Although some players will be tempted to seek to overpower the hole, most will likely lay-up short of a strategically placed fairway bunker (positioned 270 yards down the left). One of the challenges for players will be keeping the ball on a fairway which is narrow and features a severe right-to-left slope. The rough is up to five inches deep in places beyond the intermediate cut.

12th – 633 yards, Par 5

A beast of a long hole, the onus is on players to find the narrow fairway off the tee. A large tree (some 80 feet tall) intrudes down the left side of the fairway and will visually impact on players’ second shots, while the green features a ridge halfway up the putting surface. In the 2006 US Open, the hole was played 437 times and yielded just one eagle over the four rounds.

Justin Rose plays from a greenside bunker during a practice round at Winged Foot. Photograph: Gregory Shamus/Getty Images

13th – 212 yards, Par 3

It’s all about accuracy on this short hole, with the primary task to find the correct level on the putting surface. The front two-thirds of the green slopes significantly from back-to-front, with a plateau at the back. Two deep greenside bunkers are very much in play to the right.

14th – 452 yards, Par 4

Strategy comes into play off the tee, with a carry of 280 yards required to clear the well-positioned fairway bunkers and a narrow fairway landing beyond the traps. Some players will likely lay-up short of the bunkers, although the approach shot is a challenging one with a false front to what is an undulating green.

15th – 426 yards, Par 4

Most players will keep drivers in the bag here, with a creek – just over 300 yards – crossing the fairway. Strategy is very much part of the equation, as the closer the player gets to the stream the more blind the second shot, off a sloping lie, becomes. The approach shot is to an elevated green which slopes severely from back-to-front and which has deep bunkers either side.

16th – 498 yards, Par 4

A brute of a hole, the challenge for players is to reach the corner of this sharp dogleg-left hole (which requires a drive of 300 yards) with optimum position being down the right. A tall tree of 110-feet guards the left side of the green while the narrow green has a number of deep bunkers offering further protection. Expect this hole to play the toughest through the four rounds.

17th – 504 yards, Par 4

The penultimate hole offers no respite for players, with fairway bunkers in play down the right of this dogleg-right hole. The landing zone is semi-blind off the tee, while the approach shot is to a green which has two large bunkers either side. The putting surface features a ridge midway up and severe slopes.

18th – 469 yards, Par 4

This hole proved pivotal in the 2006 US Open, won by Geoff Ogilvy. This dogleg-left presents a challenge off the tee, with trees down the left and the danger for aggressive hitters of running through the narrow fairway. The approach shot is uphill to a green which features a false front and with three deep bunkers on the left and thick rough to the right.