Ladies choice: Only nine public/resort courses have hosted the U.S. Women's Open



Since its inception in 1946, the U.S. Women's Open traditionally has been held at private golf courses.

When the United States Golf Association does go public with the premier tournament in women's golf, though, the venues tend to make a splash.

The six public-access courses that have hosted (or will host) the U.S. Open for the men get plenty of attention: Bethpage Black, Torrey Pines South, Pebble Beach Golf Links and Pinehurst No. 2, along with celebrated newcomers, Chambers Bay and Erin Hills Golf Course.

The nine public/resort courses to host a U.S. Women's Open are just as spectacular a collection, especially with the addition of Pinehurst No. 2, the host of the 2014 U.S. Women's Open, June 19-22. Seven of the nine made Golf Magazine's Top 100 Courses You Can Play for 2013-2014. Here's a look:

Pinehurst No. 2

It will be interesting to see how the women handle the treacherous slopes on and around the greens of Pinehurst No. 2, the Donald Ross gem restored by Bill Coore and Ben Crenshaw in 2011. Some of them might end up looking like you and me, hitting chips and putts that roll back off the green.

Blackwolf Run composite course

The host of the 1998 and 2012 U.S. Women's Opens in Kohler, Wis., is actually a hybrid course using holes 1-4 and 14-18 from Blackwolf Run's River Course and holes 10-18 from the Meadows Valley Course. Se Ri Pak's win in 1998 on the demanding Pete Dye design prompted a legion of girls in South Korea to take up golf, leading to Asia's dominance on the LPGA Tour. One of those young girls was 10-year-old Na Yeon Choi, who won in 2012.

The River, a stunning track ranked 15th among the top 100 public courses in the country by Golf Digest, never strays far from the beautiful Sheboygan River.

East at The Broadmoor

Not many realize that this famous 7,355-yard mountain course in Colorado Springs, Colo., is actually a mixed mutt of a golf course. Its original holes from Donald Ross in 1918 (holes 1-6, 16-18) actually fit quite well with holes 7-15 designed by Robert Trent Jones Sr. in 1952.

Broadmoor East has hosted two U.S. Amateurs and the 2008 U.S. Senior Open in addition to the 1995 and 2011 U.S. Women's Opens. Annika Sorenstam won her first major championship in 1995. South Korea's So Yeon Ryu won the latest version. If you decide to tee it up, keep it in the short grass. The rough tends to stay thick and juicy.

Pine Needles Lodge & Golf Club

Pine Needles, a Donald Ross classic in Southern Pines, N.C., dating to 1928, remains the first Sandhills course to host the U.S. Women's Open, doing so three times. The quality of its winners -- Annika Sorenstam (1996), Karrie Webb (2001) and Cristie Kerr (2007) -- certainly matches the caliber of the 7,015-yard course.

Any round provides a quintessential Sandhills experience. The doglegs through the towering pines require proper angles and shot shapes to score well.

Atlantic City Country Club

Atlantic City Country Club, the consensus top course in New Jersey, has hosted six USGA championships, including the 1901 U.S. Amateur won by Walter Travis and the 1911 U.S. Open won by the club's head professional, Johnny J. McDermott. Babe Didrikson Zaharias, perhaps the greatest female golfer of all-time, won the 1948 U.S. Women's Open, the first of three held at the club (Carol Mann won in 1965 and Sandra Palmer in 1975).

It's also the place where the golf terms "birdie" and "eagle" originated. A rock to commemorate the first "birdie" -- a great shot by Abner Smith that came to rest within inches of the cup on the 12th green in 1903 -- sits proudly on the grounds. The 6,577-yard, par-70 course in Northfield features twisting, tree-lined fairways, bold bunkering, and slick, slanted greens. A four-hole stretch on the back nine dives into the tidal marshes of Lakes Bay, revealing views of the Atlantic City skyline.

The Cascades at the Omni Homestead Resort

It was a surprise winner, amateur Catherine Lacoste of France, who captured the 1967 U.S. Women's Open on the Cascades Course, the most famous of three tracks at the famed resort in Hot Springs, Va.

Sam Snead honed his game on this classic built in the Allegheny Mountains by architect William S. Flynn in 1923. Many still considered it Virginia's premier public playground, although the newer Highland Course at Primland is in the conversation as well.

The Dunes Golf and Beach Club

Murle Lindstrom set a dubious record by winning the 1962 U.S. Women's Open at 13-over par, a record high score for a winner. That's of little surprise to those who have played the Dunes Golf and Beach Club, a tough Robert Trent Jones, Sr. design in Myrtle Beach, S.C.

Contrary to the name, the course never sees the beach. Only the par-3 ninth hole offers a quick glimpse of the Atlantic Ocean. Scenic holes 11-13, aptly nicknamed Alligator Alley, roam through the marshes near Lake Singleton.

Scenic Hills Country Club

Few golfers outside of the Florida Panhandle would know much about the University of West Florida's home course in Pensacola, site of the 1969 U.S. Women's Open won by Donna Caponi. Her five-stroke comeback in the final round remains the biggest comeback in tournament history.

Scenic Hills C.C., a Chic Adams course dating to 1958, has been renovated over the years to stay relevant. A $3.5 million clubhouse opened in 2008.

Jun 16, 2014



Related Links


Jason Scott Deegan

Senior Staff Writer

Jason Scott Deegan has reviewed more than 600 courses and golf destinations for some of the industry's biggest publications. His work has been honored by the Golf Writer's Association of America and the Michigan Press Association. Follow him on Twitter at @WorldGolfer.


Related Articles