Gil Hanse re routes The Country Club in Brookline for 2022 US Open

Gil Hanse’s first big splash onto the world scene as a golf designer came when at 53, he was the surprise choice for the Olympic Golf Course project for the 2016 Rio Olympics.  His, Gil Hanse Golf Design, company beat out industry heavyweights such as Jack Nicklaus, Greg Norman, Gary Player, Robert Trent Jones Jr., Peter Thomson and Tom Doak.

The Olympic Course was an overwhelming success with players such as Sergio Garcia and Rickie Fowler both noted its Australia-like qualities.  “We talked to Gil earlier today and told him how much we appreciated what he did here,” said Bubba Watson, the top-ranked American in the field. “It’s beautiful. The layout is unbelievable. Couldn’t ask for anything more.”

Since then, Hanse’s company described as small, dedicated to the proposition that golf courses are designed, restored and renovated in the field as opposed to solely on the drawing board. Formed in 1993 by Hanse, who was joined in 1995 by partner Jim Wagner.  Hanse Golf Course Design has patiently nurtured its reputation and its craft to arrive at a position of designing and restoring some of the finest golf courses in the world.

Some most recent announcements:

  • The Reopening of the South Course at Oakland Hills
  • The opening of the New Course at Les Bordes Golf Club in France
  • Restoration of the Lower Course at Balturstrol Golf Club
  • Restoration of the iconic Yale Golf Course
  • Build the new East Course at the PGA of America’s, Frico Texas complex

……….And of course The Country Club in Brookline MA just in time for the 122nd US Open, June 16-19.

It will be the first time that the US Open returns to The Country Club since the ever-popular Curtis Strange snatched the trophy from Sir Nick Faldo in 1988.

Brookline MA is a town of just over 63,000, that was first settled as a hamlet in 1638 and known as Muddy River.  Who could have thought that Muddy River could have become historic landmark not only in Massachusetts but in the entire golf world!  Today Brookline is a town in Norfolk County, and part of the Boston metropolitan area. Brookline borders six of Boston’s neighborhoods

2022 will make the 4th time in history that the US Open will take place at this iconic Country Club which open in 1882, when a group of men from Boston met to form the club.  The club is listed on the USGA’s list of the first 100 clubs in America. The original club was focused on horseback-riding and other outdoor activities; the building of the golf course began in 1893 with the last two of the original holes completed in 1908. The golf course itself grew in several stages, and so is not the result of any one architect.

The first US Open held at The Country Club was in 1913 where a 20-year-old local and former caddy at the club, Francis Ouimet shocked the golf world by taking down the heavy favorites in the field, legends Harry Vardon and the reigning British Open champion Ted Ray.  The event was settled in an 18-hole playoff.

Fast forward, 1988, in preparation for the US Open, Rees Jones was brought in to give The Country Club an overhaul, which fast forward again brings us to Gil Hanse and his design company re routing the course for this year’s major.

Although it is the 4th US Open, the new look provided by Hanse and Company will provide a unique test, and even a new hole will be part of the mix.

The 130-yard, downhill par-3 that will serve as the 11th hole (typically the 12th hole of the club’s main course).  It can play as short as 105 yards or as long as 142, and the USGA plans on giving the golfers that

18th Hole

yardage differential on consecutive days.

It will be one of the shortest holes in US Open history, but with plenty of bite, with a tabletop green that rolls off on all sides and four bunkers defending the green. The green was expanded to its original size in recent years by architect Gil Hanse.

The new par-3 is sandwiched between par-4s of 499 and 473 yards. To make room for this new 11th hole, the USGA eliminated what was previously the par-4 fourth hole.

The Country Club has 27 holes, and the USGA uses a composite course — and even mixes and matches a few tee boxes — for its championships. The 2022 US Open will include 14½ holes from the main course (the Clyde and Squirrel 9s) and 3½ holes from the Primrose 9. The course will measure 7,264 yards and play 35-35-70. The ninth and 10th holes of the main course will serve as the driving range.

The other significant change for the US Open is the championship’s 14th hole, which previously played as a par-4 but has been expanded to a 619-yard par-5.  “It’s a pretty legitimate three-shot hole.” Says Jeff Hall, the USGA’s Championship Director.

Another fun hole, considered a signature hole, will be No. 5, a 310-yard par-4 that has a new, elevated tee box. The green is small and surrounded by several bunkers, but today’s big hitters will definitely be aiming for the flag, and maybe not even with the driver.

In typical USGA style the rough will be long and unforgiving, accuracy will be at a premium.  First cuts will be approximately 1.5” with 2nd cuts in the 3” range and deeper than that you probably won’t be able to see your laces at over 5 inches.

Control off the tee and control into the greens is what it will take to take the title on this 122nd US Open, on the third weekend in June, in Brookline.

Attending a US Open can be a challenge at the best of times, tickets always at a premium.  Attending this one might be as big a challenge as you can face.  Tickets sold out almost immediately so any chance of attending for the average golfer will mean that they will “need to know a guy, who knows a guy.”  However, worth the effort!  Bucket List!!!!!