Changes by architects Tom Fazio and Tom Marzolf have stretched Merion’s famed East Course to almost 7,000 yards. Along with the numerous bunkers up both sides of this dogleg right, a new cross bunker roughly 295 yards off the tee will force many players to use less than driver. The traditional first cut of rough has been removed, replaced by the three-and-a-half to four-inch rough. Bunkers guard each side and the back of the green.
Did you know?
Lee Trevino threw a rubber snake at Jack Nicklaus in advance of their playoff at the 1971 U.S. Open at Merion, a prank that left the Golden Bear “snakebitten” when the Merry Mex beat him.
Hole No. 2
Par 5, 556 yards
The fairway has been shifted right, bringing out-of-bounds on the right more into play, and the landing area has been narrowed by thick rough along the left. Players must carry a new cross bunker 40 yards short of the green to reach the putting surface in two. Several bunkers flank each side of the green.
Hole No. 3
Par 3, 256 yards
Rick Ill, Merion's general chairman of the U.S. Open, said this monster uphill par-3 could play 256 yards from the new back tee for several rounds and 220 yards from a more forward tee the other days. Multiple bunkers will gobble up misses.
Hole No. 4
Par 5, 628 yards
A new tee on the second (and final) par-5 has lengthened the hole up to 30 yards and created a landing zone pinched by three fairway bunkers. The fairway around the green will be shaved tight to possibly send misses short careening back into the creek. Bunkers encase the green.
Hole No. 5
Par 4, 504 yards
A new tee has added up to 75 yards. A creek up the left side and a bunker and rough up the right side cause concern on the tee shot. A bunker-free green slopes dramatically right to left.
Hole No. 6
Par 4, 487 yards
A new tee adds nearly 70 yards to this long hole. Heavy rough and out-of-bounds on the right and two bunkers on the opposite side constrict the fairway. Misses right, left and long on the approach will find sand or deep grass.
Hole No. 7
Par 4, 360 yards
No. 7 introduces a series of short par-4s that offer chances at birdie, although the fairways have been narrowed to between 22 and 24 yards wide to deter a scoring binge. The fairway and tee were moved to bring O.B. and trees into play on the right. Misses left of the green will crash down a hill.
Did You Know?
Rickie Fowler won all four of his matches to help the Americans pound the Great Britain & Ireland team 16 ½ to 9 ½ at the 2009 Walker Cup at Merion.
Hole No. 8
Par 4, 359 yards
The smart, conservative play is an iron or hybrid off the tee to avoid the new foot-high tall grass on the right. A big front bunker will catch a fair number of approaches. Any flier that lands long will tumble down a hill, making for an interesting recovery shot.
Hole No. 9
Par 3, 236 yards
There have been a number of changes on this par-3, which is playing 43 yards longer than it did at the 2009 Walker Cup. Five bunkers and the creek in front completely surround the green. A back left pin will be the hardest to access with a long iron.
Hole No. 10
Par 4, 303 yards
Driver is an option for the biggest of hitters, creating risk-reward on a hole that curls left at the green. Two gigantic bunkers guard the green, while errant drives could go through the fairway into the trees and rough.
Did you know?
A plaque on a rock between the 10th green and the 11th tee celebrates Bobby Jones completing his famous Grand Slam by winning the 1930 U.S. Amateur at Merion. Jones won 8 and 7 on the 11th hole against an overmatched opponent named Eugene Homans.
Hole No. 11
Par 4, 367 yards
The slim fairway was moved left closer to the creek, which cuts across the fairway 290 yards from the tee. The creek remains a threat to approaches that miss right and long.
Hole No. 12
Par 4, 403 yards
The fairway swings right off of four bunkers on the left. Pushed drives will find the woods and rough. This small tricky green, bracketed by a large bunker on either side, has been redone.
Did you know?
Olin Dutra fought off a stomach ailment and overcame an eight-shot deficit on the weekend to win the 1934 U.S. Open at Merion by one shot over Gene Sarazen.
Hole No. 13
Par 3, 115 yards
Five bunkers will do their best to defend this short par-3. It takes a confident swing to find this small target.
Did you know?
The 1981 U.S. Open at Merion was historic for two reasons: 1) Jim Thorpe became the first African-American to lead the tournament after a first-round 66; and 2) David Graham became the first Australian to win it.
Hole No. 14
Par 4, 464 yards
A new tee adds 56 yards to this dogleg left. Four bunkers stack up the right side, prompting players to challenge the heavy rough and out-of-bounds stakes up the left. Traps short right and in back and a hump left of the green are to be avoided.
Hole No. 15
Par 4, 411 yards
Another new tee adds 55 yards to a hole that bends right. Pulled tee shots might end up out of bounds, while three fairway bunkers (one is new) stack up the right side. The approach must split three greenside bunkers. Putts above the pin on a newly contoured green sloping hard back to front will be treacherous.
Did you know?
Edoardo Molinari became the first Italian-born winner of the U.S. Amateur by winning 4&3 over Dillon Dougherty in the 2005 final at Merion. His 30-footer on the 15th green was his 10th one-putt over the last 15 holes of the match.
Hole No. 16
Par 4, 430 yards
A slithering fairway that has been moved right introduces this famous hole. The second shot will fly a quarry, which is littered with bunkers, to a two-tier green.
Hole No. 17
Par 3, 246 yards
It’s a daunting shot over the quarry to a difficult and undulating green that is one of the most demanding on the course. Five bunkers snare wayward attempts.
Hole No. 18
Par 4, 521 yards
The finishing hole is 56 yards longer thanks to a new tee cut from the side of a hill. It’s a long carry over the quarry just to reach the spot where Ben Hogan hit his famous 1-iron. Rick Ill, Merion's general chairman of the U.S. Open, said players would likely hit mid-irons into the green. It’s better to miss in the greenside bunkers than short, where the ball could run down a large swale.
Did you know?
A plaque sits in the 18th fairway in the exact spot where Ben Hogan, who was still recovering from his nearly fatal 1949 auto accident, hit a pure 1-iron to force a playoff that he eventually won over Lloyd Mangrum and George Fazio for the 1950 U.S. Open crown.
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