Shinnecock Hills Golf Club is thrust back into the spotlight hosting the 2018 U.S. Open, its first since 2004.
Think of how much has changed since then. Smart phones. Driverless cars. Facebook was just four months old. A great recession changed the landscape of golf a few years later.
But a few things remain constant. Phil Mickelson is still searching for that elusive U.S. Open title, and Tiger Woods is still on the prowl, hoping to chase down the 18 major championships won by Jack Nicklaus.
The 118th U.S. Open Championship on Long Island June 11-17 signals a welcomed return to classic venues for golf's toughest major. After experimenting with Chambers Bay in 2015 and Erin Hills Golf Course in 2017, the U.S. Open will ping pong back and forth between west coast and east coast sites for the next decade - Pebble Beach Golf Links (2019), the West course at Winged Foot Golf Club (2020), South course at Torrey Pines (2021), The Country Club at Brookline (2022), the North Course at Los Angeles Country Club (2023), Pinehurst No. 2 (2024) and Oakmont Country Club (2025) before the Shinnecock (2026) and Pebble Beach (2027) rotation begins again.
Although plenty of mistakes by the USGA from 2004 will be rehashed, Shinnecock, fresh off a renovation tweaking lines of play and fairway width, should be a magnificent host, according to Brad Klein, who saw the course's new "grasslands" look at media day earlier this spring. If you don't recall, the final round of the 2004 U.S. Open was so dry and the turf so firm that the par-3 seventh hole became virtually unplayable. It had to be watered in between groups.
Whether you're lucky enough to have tickets or planning to watch on TV, we’ve created this handy spectator guide for you.
Where is the 2018 US Open?
Shinnecock Hills is located on the south shore of Long Island about 85 miles east of New York City. It is part of golf's greatest neighborhood adjacent with the Sebonack Golf Club and the National Golf Links of America.
Click here to read our architecture expert Bradley S. Klein's hole-by-hole preview of Shinnecock Hills.
Who designed the US Open golf course?
Shinnecock dates back to Willie Dunn Jr.'s original work in 1894, and later the famous duo of C.B. Macdonald and Seth Raynor in 1901. The current layout, however, is the product of a complete redesign by William Flynn in the 1930s. The par-70 routing will play 7,445 yards, 449 yards longer than in 2004 when Retief Goosen won.
How much do US Open golf tickets cost?
The U.S. Open offers multiple types of tickets: Gallery tickets providing access to the course; Top of the Hill and Trophy Club tickets with access to the course as well as a tented, air-conditioned pavilion with seats, separate restrooms and food and beverage available for purchase; 1895 Club and Hampton Club tickets offering access to the course and an all-inclusive tented facility with food and beverages (and alcohol) included in the price; and Travel and Fan Experience packages that include a hotel and special experiences.
Gallery tickets for the week are sold out, but two-day packs for $240-$260 are available. Individual days cost $60 for Monday and Tuesday, $75 for Wednesday, $125 for Thursday’s first round and $145 any weekend day during the final three rounds. The new Top of the Hill tickets are sold out Friday and Saturday, but Thursday ($165), Sunday's final round ($185) and practice rounds ($80-$95) are options.
Weekly Trophy Club tickets are sold out, but individual days and two-day packs are available. Individual days cost $90 for Monday and Tuesday, $120 for Wednesday, $215 for Thursday’s first round and $240 for any of the final three rounds. Weekly passes to the 1895 Club were sold out, leaving any of the three practice rounds for $325-$350 per day and tournament rounds costing $525-$575. The Hampton Club (which includes VIP parking) only sells daily tickets for $650 on Wednesday and $950 for tournament rounds.
Junior tickets are ALWAYS available at will call and admission gates, regardless of a sellout. These tickets can’t be purchased in advance. Every adult ticket holder can only buy two of these tickets. Ages 12 and under are complimentary every day. Buying tickets for juniors ages 13-17 costs $20 for practice rounds and $40 for tournament days.
Not sure what to wear attending the U.S. Open? There’s no set dress code besides dressing appropriately for a golf course (no bikini or tank tops, etc.). Just remember that the forecast for early summer on Long Island could range from cool to smoking hot, so check the weather to determine whether it’s a shorts or pants kind of day.
To purchase tickets from the USGA, click here.
US Open parking: Where do spectators park at Shinnecock?
MTA Long Island Rail Road (LIRR) is the easiest and most convenient way to get to Shinnecock. Train service will be provided in both directions on the Montauk Branch and will accommodate customers traveling from either New York City or Eastern Long Island. From New York’s Penn Station, the trip is expected to take approximately two hours. A temporary LIRR train platform will be constructed in close proximity to the championship entrance. Please visit the LIRR website for schedule and fare information.
After exiting the train, fans will proceed through security screening prior to crossing a pedestrian bridge to reach the championship grounds. Tickets purchased after boarding the train carry an additional charge, so the LIRR encourages golf fans to purchase tickets in advance.
Complimentary parking will be provided at Francis S. Gabreski Airport, located due west of Shinnecock Hills Golf Club in Westhampton Beach. Please follow general parking signage and/or directions from parking attendants. From the parking lot, complimentary shuttle transportation will be provided to and from Shinnecock Hills and is expected to take approximately 25 minutes.
For more information from the USGA, click here.
How do I qualify for the US Open?
Who qualifies for the U.S. Open golf tournament is not as clear cut as it seems. Great players don’t always get in.
Since 2014, the following are some of the USGA exemption categories:
* Winners of the tournament held in the last decade (meaning this is Tiger's last exemption in this category after his 2008 playoff win over Rocco Mediate)
* Winner and runner-up of the previous edition of the U.S. Amateur
* Winners of the last three editions of The Players Championships
* Winner of the previous edition of the U.S. Senior Open
* Golfers who qualified for the previous edition of the Tour Championship
* The top 60 golfers listed in the Official World Golf Ranking (OWGR)
* Special exemption as decided by the USGA
If you’re not already exempt, you face a grueling qualifying process. Any professional or amateur with 1.4 handicap index or below can sign up to qualify. This year, 8,537 golfers competed at more than 100 qualifiers in May around America, followed by 36-hole sectional qualifiers June 4 (there are several sectionals overseas as well), hoping to become one of the 156 players in the field. In this way, the U.S. Open is the most democratic of the four major championships. A golfer can go from nobody to somebody if he qualifies.
It’s worth the effort, considering the U.S. Open purse size has ballooned to more than $12 million, the richest in professional golf. What does the winner of the U.S. Open receive? Only more than $2 million. What does second place in the U.S. Open earn you? You become an instant millionaire.
Many don’t realize that the U.S. Open trophy doesn’t have a fancy name like the claret jug, but who wouldn’t want it on their mantel?
What is the US Open fan experience like?
It will be crowded, as expected, but the rolling terrain will provide ample spectator viewing areas. Several interactive golf experiences are available. There's a hole-in-one challenge at the Lexus Performance Experience, providing an opportunity to win a two-year lease for a 2018 Lexus RX 350L. You can snap a selfie with the U.S. Open Trophy or try a putting contest. Lexus Golf Ambassadors, possibly including Peter Jacobsen and Annika Sorenstam and others, will host autograph signings.
American Express Fan Services at Fan Central at hole 13, and between holes 16 and 17, are available to anyone who wants to charge their phone, find course and championship information and grab an American Express Radio from 9-11 a.m. during championship play. Amex card holders (and up to three guests) can access the American Express Card Member Club located at the 10th hole. The American Express Radios - with a live SiriusXM feed - will be available the entire day, as well as rentable portable mobile phone chargers and branded binoculars. Fans who spend $10 or more on their credit card at participating concession locations can receive a complimentary commemorative cup.
The USGA's U.S. Open app has also been upgraded, allowing fans to locate their favorite players, both on the course and at the practice area. Users will be able to further personalize their experience with features such as local time-adjusted listings for tee times, TV broadcasts and live streams.
Where to play golf on Long Island
If you want to play U.S. Open week on Long Island, you better make plans in a hurry. The famous private clubs, no doubt, will be overrun with corporate types and connected insiders. Bethpage State Park's five courses in Farmingdale and Eisenhower Park's three courses in East Meadow are always crowded, so good luck there. Eisenhower Red, a Devereux Emmet design, hosted the 1926 PGA Championship won by Walter Hagen. The Red, the sole survivor from the old private Salisbury Golf Club, is one of only 32 public courses to have ever hosted a major, along with nearby Bethpage Black (2002 and 2009 U.S. Opens).
The good news is New York State's Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation department has launched a new online reservation system for tee times at select state park golf courses, most notably Bethpage and Montauk Downs. After a one-time online registration, golfers can book tee times directly through the NYS Parks website. The antiquated phone system will be phased out after this year.
The website Golfonlongisland.com has gathered up some other recommendations, including the four munis of Suffolk County Parks - the 27-hole Timber Point Golf Club in Great River, Bergen Point Golf Club in West Babylon, Indian Island Golf Club in Riverhead and West Sayville Golf Course in West Sayville - and The Vineyards Golf Club in Riverhead, a former private club 17 miles from Shinnecock.
US Open golf TV Schedule
FOX Sports enters its fourth year of broadcasting the U.S. Open. Last year more than 45 hours of coverage was spread across FOX, FS1 and FOX Deportes and the FOX Sports Go app. Thursday's opening round coverage will run from 9 a.m.-4 p.m. EST on FS1, with FOX taking over from 4 p.m.-7:30 p.m. Friday's schedule runs 10 a.m.-4 p.m. on FS1, and 4 p.m.-7:30 p.m. on FOX. Saturday's television coverage on FOX begins at 11 a.m. and the final round at 10 a.m.
How do you watch online? Go to usopen.com to watch two featured groups and a featured hole from 8:30 a.m.-8 p.m. Thursday, 7 a.m.-7:30 p.m. Friday, 11 a.m.-7:30 p.m. Saturday and 10 a.m.-7:30 Sunday. The times for the Fox Sports Go app vary slightly on Thursday (9:30 a.m.-7:30 p.m.) and Friday (10 a.m.-7:30 p.m.).
Golf Channel will host its "Live From" broadcasts before and after the live TV coverage on tournament days and preview the tournament in the days leading up to the event with Golf Channel Analysts Brandel Chamblee, David Duval, Rich Lerner and Frank Nobilo. Outside of weather issues, the schedule will be:
Monday: 1 p.m.-4 p.m. and 7 p.m.-9 p.m.
Tuesday: 9 a.m.-4:30 p.m. and 7 p.m-10 p.m.
Wednesday: Noon-5 p.m. and 7 p.m.-9 p.m.
Thursday: 7 a.m.-9:30 a.m. and 7:30 p.m.-9:30 p.m.
Friday: 7 a.m.-10 a.m. and 7:30 p.m.-9:30 p.m.
Saturday: 8 a.m.-11 a.m. and 7:30 p.m.-9:30 p.m.
Sunday: 8 a.m.-10 a.m. and 7 p.m.-9 p.m.
(All times Eastern)
Enjoy what should be a wonderful Father's Day weekend for golf.