South at Oakland Hills Country Club
|Front (W)||72||5676 yards||74.4||137|
|Black M: 76.6/145||453||529||198||446||490||387||449||491||257||3700||462||455||593||191||501||401||406||238||498||3745||7445|
|Gold M: 75.4/138||435||523||198||430||465||360||411||482||220||3524||453||423||578||171||480||401||406||214||492||3618||7142|
|Blue M: 73.8/137||419||500||188||416||430||348||405||470||210||3386||441||400||561||164||456||373||380||191||470||3436||6822|
|White M: 72.4/136 W: 79.5/149||410||479||172||408||415||339||370||458||198||3249||418||384||526||154||451||364||374||175||458||3304||6553|
|Silver M: 70.7/129 W: 76.4/142||380||423||159||343||395||315||358||458||165||2996||401||350||526||144||426||291||318||142||441||3039||6035|
|Green W: 74.4/136||347||423||110||343||338||305||334||397||160||2757||401||350||429||131||426||291||312||138||441||2919||5676|
Food & BeverageSnacks
Restoration brings back the Ross and makes the Monster sneaky playable
I'd never played The Monster prior to the most recent renovation that was just completed, but I absolutely adore the latest rendition of The famous South Course. For starters, the clubhouse is incredible. There is so much art on the walls and places to explore (the locker room is massive and has its own bar) you could get lost in here for hours. The staff is on another level as well, from the clubhouse attendant to the caddies.
Let's talk about the golf course. The fairway widths have been restored so they are more member-friendly. In fact, the Gary Player plaque on 16 is now about 10 yards into the fairway (and the willows are gone). Many of the greens are open in front to some degree so you can roll shots up. I ended up hitting quite a few approach shots just short and was able to putt off the green and get up and down.
The 11th hole is incredible. It has an infamous false front that got our whole group thanks to the front pin position. We all doubled it. The new 7th hole is also a show-stopper with a diagonal creek and some awesome bunkering. Very strategic.
The greens are so awesome. They've been enlarged and now have up to 7 pin positions instead of 3-4. It is simply one of the most engaging golf courses from the fairway in as it gets. I played the whites and broke 90 but I have a buddy who is a pro who played the back box on every hole and shot 77. He looked like he'd seen ghosts by the 18th hole. I suppose hitting it 240 to an elevated green on 17 will do that.
Call it recency or Michigan bias - more likely mid-handicapper bias - but I enjoyed Oakland Hills better than Oakmont. I can't imagine a reason why this place won't get more majors and often.
This is my favorite course I have ever played. The range is nice, the indoor teaching facility is nice, the chipping range is super long and great. One of my favorite clubhouses with a 2 story locker room with a restaurant and free candy and nuts. The clubhouse has a lot of memorobilia from past tournaments. The course is so much fun: good views, nice layout with bunkering and pretty wide open, has fescue and pot bunkers and I love links style play and I hope the new renovation will feel like a links course. The rough is thick and the greens are insanely undulated and some have 4 tiers. They are lighting fast and good shots roll off because their is not many backstops. It is just so pristine and the holes are just so great it is hard to pick favorites but they would have to be 3,6,11,12,13
Battling the Monster
I've played the South course more than any other World Top 100 course, but it's been a while. The last time I played the famous "Monster" was prior to the 2008 PGA Championship won by Padraig Harrington.
Oakland Hills is the classic old-school country club track. It is well-hidden within a neighborhood in metro Detroit.
There's really only one hole (no. 16) with water (a pond) in play. Evil greens and gnarly rough defend par as well as any course to ever host a major event. Not many clubs have hosted so many prestigious tournaments - the 2004 Ryder Cup and multiple PGA Championships and U.S. Open.
Most of my rounds have been media days prior to these events, meaning the rough was extra shaggy. My meager game had no answers for these perilous conditions. If you fancy yourself a player, try to take on Oakland Hills. You'll walk away with your tail tucked between your legs, too.