118th U.S. Open
Shinnecock Hills, Southampton, N.Y.
Hole No. 7
Par 3, 189 yards
Perhaps Phil Mickelson was using a preventative measure ahead of this year’s U.S. Open at Shinnecock Hills. The par-3 7th is one of the most difficult holes on property, and greens reached nightmare speeds during the final round in 2004. Leading up to the U.S. Open, Mickelson clearly had a point he wanted to make – the hole is hard enough as it is.
“I’m concerned every time (the USGA) get a hold of it, yeah,” Mickelson said. “But I think it’s a great hole. I think it’s one of the core designed foundations of a great golf hole. I think that you see a lot of holes replicated off of No. 7 at Shinnecock that are spectacular.”
Length isn’t the issue here, though many players will still require a mid-iron to reach the redan green. The putting surface slopes away from the tee, with a drastic tilt from the front right of the green to the back. The area surrounding the green is heavily bunkered, with two short of the front of the green, one on the front right and two on the front left.
The slope is so severe that uphill putts are essential. It’s not uncommon to see putts roll off the surface entirely if a player makes even the slightest miscalculation on their speed.
It was the most difficult par-3 during the 2004 U.S. Open and second-hardest hole overall, yielding an average score of 3.410. There were only 20 birdies for the entire week compared to 149 bogeys and 24 scores of double or worse.
Rainy conditions Wednesday should make the putting surface slightly more manageable than it was 14 years ago, but this signature hole is more than worthy of its place in golf’s toughest test.