SAN FRANCISCO -- The Lake Course at The Olympic Club has always been one of America's premier tournament venues. The club -- host of five U.S. Opens, three U.S. Amateurs and two Tour Championships -- will add to its legacy by holding the first U.S. Amateur men's Four-Ball Championship May 2-6.
The new national championship run by the United States Golf Association features two-man teams playing best ball to determine which side advances past stroke play on the Lake and Ocean Courses into match play on the Lake Course for a shot at a newly commissioned trophy.
Some great match-play holes will test a player's decision making and skills. The 294-yard par 4 seventh hole climbs so severely uphill that only the long hitters might drive the green. A new forward tee added to the famous par-4 18th hole (343 yards) could tempt some players to hit driver, bringing the three "IOU" bunkers near the green into play.
The Lake Course is a classic test loaded with demanding doglegs and elevated greens. The 6,981-yard par 70 plays much longer than the yardage due to the heavy ocean air.
The chance to compete at such a prestigious club motivated 2,234 teams to attempt to qualify, surpassing participation numbers for every other USGA event except the U.S. Open and U.S. Amateur. Future sites -- Winged Foot Golf Club in New York in 2016, Pinhurst Resort & Country Club in 2017 and Jupiter Hills Club in south Florida in 2018 -- will likely help the Four-Ball championship grow in popularity as it ages.