The Super Six: The public U.S. Open golf courses anybody can play
The Erin Hills Golf Course in Hartford, Wisconsin, joins as illustrious group of public courses after hosting the 2017 U.S. Open this June.
It will only be the sixth public course to ever host our national championship, joining Pebble Beach Golf Links, Pinehurst No. 2, Bethpage Black, Chambers Bay and the South Course at Torrey Pines. Four of them have been added to the rotation since 2002 when Bethpage landed its first Open. Pebble Beach (2019), Torrey Pines (2021) and Pinehurst No. 2 (2024) are already on tap for future Opens. It will be interesting to see if Chambers Bay ever lands another major after so many player complained about the inconsistent putting surfaces and the sometimes unfavorable bounces around the greens.
Erin Hills has been closed since last fall to prepare for the spotlight. It will be the first major championship for architects Dr. Michael Hurdzan, Dana Fry and Ron Whitten (more well known as a writer/editor for Golf Digest).
"I think the pros are going to like it a lot," Fry says. "It is a fair test. It is demanding. It's beautiful visually to look at. The only thing you might hear is that it is a long walk, eight miles or so. As a course, the quality of shots is fantastic. Picking lines is demanding. The only thing the pros might not like is some of the bunkering. You might have to hit sideways or backward. That could happen and will."
Erin Hills will reopen after the tournament, ready for traveling golfers chasing bucket lists.
Here's a look at the past winners of U.S. Opens held on public courses:
* Pebble Beach Golf Links, Pebble Beach Resorts, Calif.
U.S. Opens: 1972 (Jack Nicklaus), 1982 (Tom Watson), 1992 (Tom Kite), 2000 (Tiger Woods), 2010 (Graeme McDowell).
* Pinehurst No. 2, Pinehurst, N.C.
U.S. Opens: 1999 (Payne Stewart), 2005 (Michael Campbell), 2014 (Martin Kaymer).
* Bethpage Black, Farmingdale, N.Y.
U.S. Opens: 2002 (Tiger Woods), 2009 (Lucas Glover).
* Chambers Bay, Tacoma, Wash.
U.S. Open: 2015 (Jordan Spieth).
* South Course at Torrey Pines, La Jolla, Calif.
U.S. Open: 2008 (Woods).
Video: Ginella on the best U.S. Open courses you can play
Wisconsin's Erin Hills is the latest U.S. Open venue you can play. Getty Images
Pebble Beach first hosted the U.S. Open in 1972. Getty Images
Prior to the 2014 U.S. Open and U.S. Women's Open, architects Bill Coore and Ben Crenshaw turned back the clock at Donald Ross's Pinehurst No. 2, returning waste areas and wire grass instead of rough and implementing single-row irrigation. Getty Images
Some consider the 18th hole on the Black Course at Bethpage State Park among the most forgiving finishing holes in major championship golf. Jason Scott Deegan/Golf Advisor
Will Robert Trent Jones Jr.'s Chambers Bay ever bring another U.S. Open to Washington state's faux links on the Puget Sound? Courtesy of Chambers Bay
It's going to be hard to replicate the dramatic 2008 U.S Open won by Tiger Woods at Torrey Pines South, but the U.S. Open's return in 2021 to the iconic SoCal municipal course will try. Brandon Tucker/Golf Advisor
The trio of architects at Erin Hills - from left, Ron Whitten, Dr. Michael Hurdzan and Dana Fry - pose with the U.S. Open trophy. Joe Robbins/Getty Images
Nick Faldo putts in the 2000 U.S. Open at Pebble Beach Golf Links. Now Faldo sits in the broadcast booth. David Cannon/Getty Images
The new-look Pinehurst No. 2, a Donald Ross classic restored by Bill Coore and Ben Crenshaw in 2011, will host another U.S. Open in 2024. Jason Scott Deegan/Golf Advisor
The par-5 fourth hole is one of the most striking visually on Bethpage Black, a two-time host of the U.S. Open. Jason Scott Deegan/Golf Advisor
Dustin Johnson tees off on the 18th hole of Chambers Bay during the controversial 2015 U.S. Open that he lost three-putting the final green. Getty Images
The South Course at Torrey Pines was renovated prior to its inclusion in the U.S. Open rota in 2008. Rees Jones significantly lengthened and toughened the course, which was eventually won by Tiger Woods in dramatic, playoff fashion. It is currently being further renovated in 2019 prior to its next staging in 2021. Brandon Tucker/Golf Advisor