5 Reasons Why Oakmont is the Hardest Challenge in Golf


Church Pew Bunkers

This infamous hazard guards the left side of the third and fourth holes. Lined with 12 grassy ridges that inspire its name, the Church Pews is somewhere you want to avoid when looking for forgiveness. If your ball ends up in the sandy aisle, you might have a shot up the hole. Otherwise, your best bet will be to chop it out sideways.

Tough Par 5s

Par 5s gift the pros with opportunities to make up shots on most courses, but this is not the case at Oakmont. At the U.S. Open the course will feature only two par-5s, one of which is the fourth with the Church Pews to the left. The 667-yard 12th is even more punishing, and is widely regarded as the hardest par-5 in the world. Only the biggest hitters can green it in two, not helped by a sloping fairway and an eight-foot-deep bunker.


You’ve heard all about the Church Pews, but have you heard of the ditches? Long gouges in the ground, two to four feet deep and covered with overgrown grass, these ditches were dug by course designer Henry C. Fownes, mainly for drainage and irrigation. They make an appearance on 12 holes, most prominently on Nos. 9 and 18.



Optin Architect