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What exactly makes the greens at Pinehurst No. 2 be so dangerous?

The third green at Pinehurst No. 2.

USGA/Fred Vuich

Top 100 GOLF Course Planners are among the most respected and most traveled course appraisers in the game. They also like to share their opinions. In this series, we'll open up their undisguised view on all questions related to the course. Check out the latest in GOLF Top 100 Courses in the US, Top 100 Courses in the World, Top 100 Courses to Play, The best municipal courses in the USagain 100 Best Short Courses.

Much is often made of greens at Pinehurst No. 2. What exactly makes it challenging, and is that challenge really different from what we see at other US Open venues?

Paul Rudovsky, panelist since 2015: Falling on all four sides of the green (although it usually happens a little bit earlier) is very challenging, as it is narrow on some of the greens. Positioning is key to setting up approach shots, but that will be difficult in hard and fast conditions, which will make it difficult to keep fairway shots.

pinehurst no.  2

10 things you probably didn't know about Pinehurst No. 2


Josh Sens

Michael Robin, panelist from 2023: The green also appears larger on the fairway, but the usable square footage of the green is much smaller, given the fall. That works whether you have a approach from the fairway, a pitch or chip, or a putt. You will definitely see some players putting the ball on the green as they try to get to the pins tucked away along the runaway slopes. Technically, what always strikes me about No. 2 is that you have to play the course backwards, know where the hole is that day, and plan where you want your approach angle to be from, which then dictates where you need to put your drive. . If you are off any of these kills, you end up with a shot that will be chased by those plants, so you have to play the fat part and you will probably end up with long putts or tricky chips. Players who drive it in the right spots and manage their long layup should do well this week.

Will Davenport, panelist from 2020: To echo the above, the “effective” size of the green is much smaller than the total green area provided for running on all four sides. Not only does that make the approach difficult, but shots from the green side are in dire need of a tightly controlled trajectory and speed if you're going to navigate the high distances. While the course will be tight and fast, many holes mean turns – which means you can run easy and that can take a long way away from the players. Hopefully, the “angles” crowd will enjoy the sharp corners and firm turf, which will put a premium on technique.

Pete Phipps, panelist from 2021: What sets the Pinehurst greens apart from other traditional US Open venues is the fact that they are not surrounded by fairways. Instead, we'll see balls rolling into the dumps or deep hard lies. At places like Winged Foot, Pebble Beach and Oakmont, when the ball rolls off the green, it hits a rough wall. This week, those same shots will continue to roll another 15-30 feet in different spots, leaving players with three to four different options for how to play their next shot. As we witness every July during the Open Championship, golf is more fun when the ball is rolling, which we will be seeing a lot of at Pinehurst.

Thomas Brown, panelist since 2015: Unique to all US Open sites, the mowers cut only two heights this week – fairways and greens. The native sand and wiregrass areas certainly require attention from the Pinehurst No. 1 superintendent. 2 John Jeffreys, but no mid-cut causes the ball to roll back into the unexpected lie of the fairway.

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