2022 U.S. Open Championship: a hole-by-hole-guide to The Country Club in Brookline, Massachusetts

The USGA founder club that saw early-20th-century golf's greatest underdog story hosts the national championship for the first time in 35 years.

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The stately finishing hole at The Country Club in Brookline, Mass. is as fitting a stage for deciding a U.S. Open in 2022 as in 1913.
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Presented by Corona Premier

Naming a club simply "The Country Club" may seem pompous, but the one in Brookline, Mass., which hosts the 122nd U.S. Open this week, is excused on the grounds of history.

The Country Club can lay claim to being the first organization of its kind in the United States, having been formed by Boston-area elites in 1882. In 1893, it became one of the first such social venues with golf, and in late 1894 would be one of the founding clubs of the United States Golf Association.

The host of this 122nd U.S. Open is not just any country club. It's the O.G.

As such, the golf course is as close to primeval as any American layout can claim to be. Yes, "Open Doctors" past (Rees Jones) and present (Gil Hanse) have left their marks, but The Country Club retains antique American golf course features and an abiding quaintness that would still be familiar to amateur Francis Ouimet, who in 1913 took down titans Harry Vardon and Ted Ray in what remains the most unlikely U.S. Open win ever, capturing the imaginations of American sports fans and putting golf on the map in this country.

The most defining such characteristic of the course is its small greens, which average 4,400 square feet, making them some of the tiniest targets in championship golf. Even longer par 4s like the first and the 12th have undersized putting surfaces that will inevitably put more stress than usual on competitors' chipping abilities.

Then there are the rock outcroppings that dot the property. Dynamite and excavation budgets being practically nonexistent in the game's early years, original architect Willie Campbell and, later, William Flynn, draped holes across the exciting terrain, sometimes creating awkward shot dilemmas that the mostly unchecked march of golf technology has only made stranger. The par-4 third snakes between two of these features to a point where the fairway running between them shrinks to less than 10 yards wide.

With narrow fairways and characteristically thick rough (the longer holes are expected to have a graduated cut), viewers and spectators might expect the course to play somewhat similarly to Winged Foot in the 2020 U.S. Open. The landing areas are so tight that shorter, straighter hitters likely won't be able to press their accuracy advantage as much as the bombers will be able to press their distance advantages. In this way, expect The Country Club to serve as the latest data point in favor of a modest but important reining-in of equipment for the world's best golfers.

But in contrast to Winged Foot's large, wildly-contoured putting surfaces, The Country Club's diminutive greens should depress greens-in-regulation figures for the whole field, so lag putting shouldn't be as valuable as the ability to get up and down from tight spots and the ability to miss greens in the correct places.

The host of this 122nd U.S. Open is not just any country club. It's the O.G.

Perhaps the most intriguingly quaint feature of The Country Club is the fact that the field will be playing quasi-cross-country golf on several holes. For starters, the U.S. Open routing is a composite of the course's 27 holes, using tees and greens from each of the three nines: Clyde, Squirrel and Primrose. The most unusual part of this hodgepodge: hole 13, which combines the first two holes of the Primrose nine by bypassing the first green and playing to the second green, set on the far side of a pond. It will be one of eight par fours that could play as long as 500 yards on a given day. And the second hole, a 215-yard par 3 for the U.S. Open, typically plays as a 280-yard par 4 for members. Hitting a long iron to a green built to receive a wedge fits the ethos of the championship to a T.

The Country Club

Par 70, 7,254 yards

Hole No. 1 - Par 4, 488 yards

A flat though demanding two-shotter that plays along what used to be a racetrack on the club property, this hole gets golfers out and away from the clubhouse with a narrowing fairway that bends left around two bunkers. The characteristically small, well-protected green promises to be the site of far more disappointing missed par putts than triumphant early birdies.

Hole No. 2 - Par 3, 215 yards

The small, semi-blind, elevated second green at The Country Club will prove elusive for pros trying to hit it with a middle or long iron.

Normally a 280-yard par 4 for the membership, the second becomes a hellaciously difficult uphill par 3 in big events. Typically meant to receive pitches and wedges, the ornery green surface tilts forward and away from the line of play, and is mostly blind from the low-slung tee.

Hole No. 3 - Par 4, 499 yards

The golfer's first encounter with the "puddingstone" rock outcroppings is seldom sweet, as this tough hole snakes between two bluffs and down to a rectangular green. Approaches that come in with too much heat - whether from misjudgment or a flyer lie in the rough - could bound across a service road and into a pond.

Hole No. 4 - Par 4, 493 yards

The sinewy par-4 4th at The Country Club is an early test.

Whereas many classic courses tend to feature straightaway fairways, the landing area here sits at a slight angle, complicating the attempts of bombers to launch a tee shot downrange. Six bunkers litter the run-up to the green.

Hole No. 5 - Par 4, 310 yards

This short par 4 presents a genuine conundrum. Loss-of-ball hazards aren't the issue potentially discouraging players from trying for the green from the tee. Rather, every other trap - small green, deep rough, bunkers galore, the uphill nature of the shot - has been laid to snare the over-aggressive and under-appreciative if they decline to lay up.

Hole No. 6 - Par 3, 192 yards

The oldest single hole at The Country Club is the par-3 6th, which remains intact from the original nine holes laid out there in the 1890s.

The only remaining intact hole from the course's 1893-era nine holes is a par 3 with an angled green. Even though two bunkers grab the golfer's attention, the more interesting impediment is the quirky field of "chocolate drop" mounds right of the rear two-thirds of the green. Expect to see some awkward stances and creative shotmaking from this area.

Hole No. 7 - Par 4, 375 yards

This birdie hole plays down, then up, drifting right past a nest of bunkers. Long hitters will take some of these pits out of play in order to try and get their tee shots within just a few dozen yards of the flag. Gathering slopes around and within the green could make for some thrilling hole-outs if the USGA elects to use a generous hole location or two.

Hole No. 8 - Par 5, 557 yards

The first of two unique three-shotters twists left and will serve up no shortage of awkward shots to those who get out of position. The tiny green is perched up; even players who hit the fairway and go for it in two may see the green shrug their shots back at them some 30 yards if they don't fly quite far enough.

Hole No. 9 - Par 4, 427 yards

A tilted fairway and bordering pond could wreak havoc on the psyches of players at The Country Club's 9th hole.

Borrowed from the William Flynn-designed Primrose nine, this scenic two-shotter careens downhill to a fairway that partially tilts forward and right, with its right edge shaved down to carry wayward tee shots into a pond, creating a dilemma off the tee. Two bunkers swaddle the sides of the elevated green.

2022 U.S. Open: Streaming & TV times

Thursday, June 16

6-10 a.m. (Golf Channel): Live From the U.S. Open
6:43-9:30 a.m. (Peacock): U.S. Open, Round 1, full coverage
7:28 a.m.-1 p.m. (Peacock): U.S. Open, Round 1, featured group 1
7:39 a.m.-1 p.m. (Peacock): U.S. Open, Rd. 1, featured group 2, presented by American Express
8:30 a.m.-6 p.m. (Peacock): U.S. Open, Round 1, featured holes
9:30 a.m.-2 p.m. (USA): U.S. Open, Round 1, full coverage
1:13-7 p.m. (Peacock): U.S. Open, Round 1, featured group 3
1:24-7 p.m. (Peacock): U.S. Open, Rd. 1, featured group 4, presented by American Express
2-5 p.m. (NBC Sports): U.S. Open, Round 1, full coverage
5-7 p.m. (USA): U.S. Open, Round 1, full coverage
7-8 p.m. (Peacock): U.S. Open, Round 1, full coverage
7-9 p.m. (Golf Channel): Live From the U.S. Open

Friday, June 17

6-10 a.m. (Golf Channel): Live From the U.S. Open
6:43-9:30 a.m. (Peacock): U.S. Open, Round 1, full coverage
7:28 a.m.-1 p.m. (Peacock): U.S. Open, Round 1, featured group 1
7:39 a.m.-1 p.m. (Peacock): U.S. Open, Rd. 1, featured group 2, presented by American Express
8:30 a.m.-6 p.m. (Peacock): U.S. Open, Round 1, featured holes
9:30 a.m.-2 p.m. (USA): U.S. Open, Round 1, full coverage
1:13-7 p.m. (Peacock): U.S. Open, Round 1, featured group 3
1:24-7 p.m. (Peacock): U.S. Open, Rd. 1, featured group 4, presented by American Express
2-5 p.m. (NBC Sports): U.S. Open, Round 1, full coverage
5-7 p.m. (USA): U.S. Open, Round 1, full coverage
7-8 p.m. (Peacock): U.S. Open, Round 1, full coverage
7-9 p.m. (Golf Channel): Live From the U.S. Open

Saturday, June 18

8-10 a.m. (Golf Channel): Live From the U.S. Open
10 a.m.-Noon (Peacock): U.S. Open, Round 3, full coverage
11 a.m.-3 p.m (Peacock): U.S. Open, Round 3, featured group 1
11 a.m.-3 p.m. (Peacock): U.S. Open, Rd. 3, featured group 2, presented by American Express
Noon-6:30 p.m. (Peacock): U.S. Open, Round 3, featured holes
Noon-8 p.m. (NBC Sports): U.S. Open, Round 3, full coverage
3-7 p.m. (Peacock): U.S. Open, Round 3, featured group 3
3-7 p.m. (Peacock): U.S. Open, Rd. 3, featured group 4, presented by American Express
8-10 p.m. (Golf Channel): Live From the U.S. Open

Sunday, June 19

7-10 a.m. (Golf Channel): Live From the U.S. Open
9-10 a.m. (Peacock): U.S. Open, Round 4, full coverage
10 a.m.-Noon (USA): U.S. Open, Round 4, full coverage
10 a.m.-2 p.m. (Peacock): U.S. Open, Round 4, featured group 1
10 a.m.-2 p.m. (Peacock): U.S. Open, Rd. 4, featured group 2, presented by American Express
11 a.m.-5:30 p.m. (Peacock): U.S. Open, Round 4, featured holes
Noon-7 p.m. (NBC Sports): U.S. Open, Round 4, full coverage
2-6 p.m. (Peacock): U.S. Open, Round 4, featured group 3
2-6 p.m. (Peacock): U.S. Open, Rd. 4, featured group 4, presented by American Express
7-9 p.m. (Golf Channel): Live From the U.S. Open

All times ET.

Hole No. 10 - Par 4, 499 yards

An even wilder-eyed cousin of the third, this epic par 4 once again forces players to push past puddingstone sentries in order to have a chance to attack the elevated green, which sits at the top of a chain of seven bunkers.

Hole No. 11 - Par 3, 131 yards

The diabolical short par-3 11th returns to The Country Club's U.S. Open routing this year for the first time since 1913.

Perhaps the most exciting single hole players will face this week is a short par 3 that has traditionally been bypassed in U.S. Open and Ryder Cup routings past. Hanse restored this downhill terror's tiny green, draping the edges at the perimeter of its fill pad, meaning marginal shots will not get hung up in rough, but will rather bound off the shoulders far below the putting surface into rough or sand. It is a classic example of how a short hole can intimidate even the best golfers in the world.

Hole No. 12 - Par 4, 473 yards

The long par-4 12th at The Country Club has one of the smallest greens on the course.

Continuing a theme, bunkers guard the inside of the bend in this slight dogleg-right, rewarding courageous driving. The tiny green is one of the most fearsome on the course; the only safe miss is short.

Hole No. 13 - Par 4, 440 yards

Have you ever played cross-country golf, teeing off on one hole and putting out on another? That's what U.S. Open contestants will do all week here, as this hole bends left, drifts downhill past the Primrose nine's traditional first green and across a pond to finish at its second. Water fronts the putting surface and two bunkers flank it.

Hole No. 14 - Par 5, 619 yards

An uphill odyssey of a three-shotter, this hole will nevertheless come under fire in two shots by at least a handful of players. That's when the fun will really happen, as such attempts will need to launch high over a steep ledge 110 yards short of the green. That landform will also make for rare deliberations on layups, as players who miss the fairway off the tee will have to decide whether it is worthwhile to try to carry the fescue-covered hill or lay back to an unsatisfying 160 yards or more.

Hole No. 15 - Par 4, 510 yards

A semi-blind tee shot down a ridge and shy of the club entry road is required before golfers can return to the more mild paddock where the first hole and last three and a half sit. One of the larger greens on the course still presents its share of challenges.

Hole No. 16 - Par 3, 202 yards

The clever situation of this green between bunkers and trees makes the final one-shotter a compelling one. Players who flare their tee shots slightly right may see their ball careen across the green after hitting a steep downslope off the yawning front bunker.

Hole No. 17 - Par 4, 373 yards

Will The Country Club's 17th hole play host to another iconic moment during the 2022 U.S. Open?

Between Francis Ouimet's 1913 U.S. Open heroics and Justin Leonard's own in the Ryder Cup 86 years later, this hole has seen its share of iconic golf history. As a golfing challenge, it's not the most noteworthy, but the angled fairway and two-tiered green might be all that's needed to serve as a platform for more all-time drama this week.

Hole No. 18 - Par 4, 451 yards

One final march around a leftward bend and up a slight rise beneath the clubhouse will be all that separates someone from golf immortality. The landing area diminishes just enough at the critical juncture such that a slim lead on the 72nd tee will be tough to protect, and thrilling for us to watch.

Brookline, Massachusetts
Private
4.0
1
Brookline, Massachusetts
Private
4.0
1

EventsArchitecture
Tim Gavrich is a Senior Writer for GolfPass. Follow him on Twitter @TimGavrich and on Instagram @TimGavrich.
1 Comments
Commented on

Since 2000, the average winning score in relation to par at the U.S. Open has been -4.5, making it by far the toughest of the four majors. Consider that Torrey Pines and Winged Foot also had -6 winning scores in 2021 and 2020, and it’s pretty clear that The Country Club met the requisite demands for layout toughness.

The 2022 tournament was exciting and intense, but the course design and set-up seemed to play a big role in satisfying players for “fairness.” I think of Jon Rahm’s post-round comments after the third round (I believe) and was struck by how he raved about the near-perfection of The CC as an all-around test for the Open players.

Your summation presaged, consistently and clearly, what should be expected at each hole, including the revamped/new ones. It also helped me appreciate some of the nuances of player strategy, hazard avoidance, and key design features on which success or failure could turn, hole by hole.

I think it’s an “Open” and shut case: The Country Club should be put on the fast track in the Open rota, not a mere four times every 125 years but four every twenty-five.

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2022 U.S. Open Championship: a hole-by-hole-guide to The Country Club in Brookline, Massachusetts