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  • Writer's pictureBen Maroco

Shinnecock Hills Golf Course

Updated: Dec 4, 2022

Image of Shinnecock Hills Golf Course
Image of Shinnecock Hills Golf Course

Shinnecock Golf Course Review

While many top-notch golf courses in the United States make claims to being the most beautiful or playable in the world, they frequently fall short when it comes to history, particularly when juxtaposed to their British counterparts. Shinnecock Golf Course is an exception. Let us delve into Shinnecock golf course and the history behind it.

The United States Golf Association's founding member, this exclusive club dates back to its founding in 1891. The clubhouse, which was constructed a year later, is thought to be the country's first golf clubhouse.

Shinnecock hosted the first U.S. Open during the 19th century and has since hosted the event four more times. Furthermore, it is poised to host the 2026 U.S. Open. The club is frequently cited as one of the best courses in the world.

The Willie Davis original design, which was constructed on linksland, had just 12 holes, and a nine-hole ladies-only course—the first of its kind—was added in 1893.

Shinnecock Hills Golf Course Location

Where is Shinnecock Hills golf course located? Shinnecock Hills Golf Club on 200 Tuckahoe Rd, Southampton, NY 11968, USA is an exception. The Shinnecock Indian Nation members who assisted in the construction of the course, which is situated on land they asserted was illegally seized from them by local settlers in 1859, are honoured with the club's symbol, which features a Native American chief.

Shinnecock Hills Golf Course History

The first twelve holes of what is likely the first authentically designed US golf course were laid out in 1891 by Scottish professional Willie Davis with the help of 150 Indians from the nearby Shinnecock Reservation. By 1894, the head professional Willie Dunn had added an additional six holes.

Charles B. Macdonald and Seth Raynor redesigned the course and added six extra holes when more land became available during World War I. From 1929 through 1931, the design company of Howard Toomey and William Flynn constructed twelve new holes while making changes to Macdonald's original plan. Some historians think Dick Wilson deserves some recognition as well.

Shinnecock Hills Golf Course Design

One of the first golf clubhouses with a distinctive design was constructed at Shinnecock Hills Golf Club, one of the USGA's first five founding members. The clubhouse was built on the highest point of the site and was designed by Stanford White in the local shingled style.

The first tee box, from which you can see Peconic Bay glistening in the distance, is just a few feet away from the white-columned building. In the background, the 300-acre open and spacious golf course sits, tumbling away from the clubhouse.

Shinnecock Hills Golf Course Challenging Greens

Image of Shinnecock Hills Golf Course
Image of Shinnecock Hills Golf Course's Greens

The course is considered as a brutal test and was built on sandhills next to the Long Island Rail Road just east of Shinnecock Canal.

It is a setup that puts both the mental and emotional aspects of the game to the test, especially when the wind is present.

Shinnecock Hills Course Scorecard

The strong prevailing winds off the Atlantic to the southwest, the rolling and sandy topography, and the dense, reed-like grasses that surround the fairways are all notable qualities of the environment that Shinnecock Hills successfully exploits.

Although not genuinely linksland because the fairways and greens' grass has more of an inland texture, Shinnecock Hills' atmosphere and windswept desolation on a typical day recall feeling of the British seaside links.

Shinnecock Hills was beloved by Ben Hogan, who once penned the following to a Shinnecock club member: "Each hole is different and demands a great deal of talent to play well. Each hole is precisely defined. You are aware of exactly where to aim. i believe it is the finest course I ever played."

Shinnecock Hills Golf Course -The U.S. Open

Shinnecock Hills Golf Course hosted the first U.S. Open in 1896, won by James Foulis, but it would be another 90 years before the club hosted another. In 1986, Raymond Floyd won, and in 1995, Corey Pavin did as well.

Retief Goosen defeated Phil Mickelson by two strokes to win the 2004 U.S. Open, which was a contentious competition. In 2018, the competition returned to Southampton for the sixth time thanks to Brooks Koepka's successful defense of the championship he earned at Erin Hills in 2017.

Shinnecock Hills Golf Course Experience

Image of Shinnecock Hills Golf Course
Image of Shinnecock Hills Golf Course

One of the few places where one can play "pure" golf is Shinnecock Hills. It is one of the most storied courses in the country. There are many arguments made for Shinnecock, despite the unendless debate about which course is the best in America.

The course highlights its links layout with fescue grass and just one water hazard while gliding over naturally sloping terrain. Many claim that the back nine of Shinnecock is the best back nine in golf, and if the back nine's final hole were even remotely as brilliant as the front nine's final hole, it would be difficult to contest its unquestionable excellence.

Shinnecock Hills Golf Course Signature Hole

Image of Shinnecock Hills Golf Course
Image of Shinnecock Hills Golf Course

The 7th hole is a 194-yard par three (Redan). For fans of golf course architecture, Shinnecock Hills' renowned Redan hole is a must-see. Due of the tiny putting surface, the small green tilts from right to left and ends up being the most challenging Redan thus far.

Many golfers hated this green during the 2004 U.S. Open because it was so tight and stiff that they nearly couldn't find a method to keep the ball on the green.

The clubhouse is a magnificent example of architecture and golf history, and it is just as much a hallmark piece as any hole on Shinnecock Hills golf course.

The charming building comprises a small locker room and has a stunning veranda with panoramic views of one of America's finest golf courses.

Shinnecock Hills Golf Course Membership

Shinnecock Hills golf course membership and initiation fees are not well known. The invite-only club allow members to bring friends to play alongside them as long as they're willing to fork over a whopping $350 greens fee.

Players in Shinnecock Hills must employ a caddy because they are required to walk the entire course, which is an oddity.

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