— The 1st Hole —

No. 1
Par 5

The opening hole skirts the wetland, with the fairway tilted from right to left towards it. This hole features the one green that is best approached along the ground. The cluster of bunkers dug into the right hillside some 50 yards from the green function, in effect, as greenside bunkers for those trying to reach the green in two.

Black

608

Blue

560

Green

536

White

485

Gold

386

Championship Play

In their tremendous second round match in the 2011 U.S. Amateur, Patrick Cantlay and Russell Henley both eagled this hole as their 19th hole. Cantlay went on to win the match with a par on the 4th hole (the 22nd hole) and finish runner-up in the championship.

— The 2nd Hole —

No. 2
Par 4

The 2nd is a classic strategic hole where the player who is confident enough to venture towards the unseen (the left side of the fairway) is rewarded with a view of the green for his pitch. However, the smallest green on the course ensures that the challenge is far from over after a good tee shot.

Black

358

Blue

338

Green

316

White

316

Gold

223

— The 3rd Hole —

No. 3
Par 4

The first long par 4 on the course, the 3rd completes a varied opening trio of holes. The wetland on the left and bunkers challenge the tee shot, and the central bunker can deceive golfers into under-clubbing with the approach. Consider the different backdrops for the first three greens: the 1st green jutting out into a wetland, the 2nd green with the openness of the 3rd hole beyond and the 3rd green set against a hillside.

Black

476

Blue

431

Green

401

White

401

Gold

299

— The 4th Hole —

No. 4
Par 4

The 4th could be the most demanding hole on the course. The fairway is flanked by a hillside of healthy rough on the left and a menacing bunker that juts into the fairway from the right. The large central bunkers will force many players who miss the fairway to leave themselves a long third shot. With the shallow green, the front bunker and the wetlands just beyond the green, the approach is the most demanding iron a player will be asked to play all day.

Black

439

Blue

439

Green

398

White

385

Gold

280

— The 5th Hole —

No. 5
Par 4

With its fairway flowing over the natural contours and the surrounding openness, the 5th hole perhaps best captures the character of Erin Hills. In preparation for the 2011 U.S. Amateur, the rough left of the front-left greenside bunker was reduced to fairway height to allow a player to bounce in his approach shot from the left.

Black

505

Blue

439

Green

406

White

359

Gold

320

Championship Play

Eventual 2011 U.S. Amateur champion Kelly Kraft won his third round match against Blake Biddle with a par on this hole, the fifth extra hole of the match.

— The 6th Hole —

No. 6
Par 3

With its large green and apparent lack of defenses surrounding it, the 6th at first seems to be a breather. While it is true that a score of worse than 4 is unlikely, a 3 is well earned. With the westerly prevailing wind from behind and a false front followed by a green sloping away from the player, getting close to a hole location on the front half of the green is especially challenging.

Black

237

Blue

208

Green

188

White

176

Gold

124

— The 7th Hole —

No. 7
Par 5

This rolling three-shotter plays past the bell that was used to give the all clear for the former Dell Hole (RIP). Three bunkers in front and on the left visually dominate the approach, but the false front on the right is perhaps the bigger challenge. As with several greens at Erin Hills (e.g., the 3rd, 10th and 14th), the 7th green steps down from side-to-side, a refreshing change from two-level greens that have all-too-predictable front and back levels.

Black

607

Blue

576

Green

551

White

487

Gold

389

— The 8th Hole —

No. 8
Par 4

With its right-to-left dogleg and left-to-right slope of the fairway, the 8th is the tee shot where the player who has the ability to shape his shots at will (in this case from right-to-left) holds the biggest advantage at Erin Hills. With the front bunkers and shallow green, the approach favors the player who can bring the ball in with a high trajectory, although the rise at the back of the left half of the green provides a helpful backstop.

Black

492

Blue

443

Green

415

White

361

Gold

239

— The 9th Hole —

No. 9
Par 3

After a series of big holes, the short and precise 9th comes as a jolt to the player. With the elevated tee and exposure to the wind, club selection is a challenge. The green is a bit of a mirror image Redan, with its angle and slope from left-to-right. The treacherous back-left bunker is key as it is not visible from the tee and many players whose tee shots looked good in the air walk away with 5 or worse after finding this bunker.

Black

165

Blue

150

Green

143

White

138

Gold

135

— The 10th Hole —

No. 10
Par 4

Despite the blind tee shot, the expansive fairway encourages the player to open his shoulders off the tee. To give himself a reasonable approach to this shallow green that is heavily bunkered on the right, the player needs to hit his tee shot down the hill. The closely mown area right and behind the green can be used to work the ball with a longer club towards the hole, though.

Black

504

Blue

476

Green

455

White

421

Gold

298

— The 11th Hole —

No. 11
Par 4

After a number of demanding holes, the 11th provides a bit of a breather as the fairway can gather tee shots and the approach is usually just a pitch. However, care still needs to be taken with the small green that slopes from left to right. The back nine presents a variety of challenges and not just the stereotypical long par 4s seen on most championship courses.

Black

403

Blue

353

Green

315

White

315

Gold

274

— The 12th Hole —

No. 12
Par 4

With its wild topography and partially hidden green, the 12th hole showcases the minimalist approach the architects took to build Erin Hills. The tee shot must reach the plateau to afford the player a reasonable approach to the green set in a hollow. With a rare wind from the east or for the long players, the tee shot that flirts with the right side can go down the hill and leave just a pitch.

Black

464

Blue

434

Green

388

White

388

Gold

319

— The 13th Hole —

No. 13
Par 3

The 13th is a rendition of the classic hill-to-hill par 3. In this case, the player’s eyes are drawn to the expansive bunker left of the green, to which a swale in the left side of the green directs balls. However, the fall-away short, right and behind the green cannot be ignored or looked at as safe places to miss the green.

Black

215

Blue

193

Green

170

White

170

Gold

152

— The 14th Hole —

No. 14
Par 5

The 14th is a gambling par 5 where fortune does in fact favor the bold. Here the player who lays up faces an awkward third, where the pitch is nearly blind to a green that runs away from that angle. The player who goes for the green with his second shot certainly faces his share of trouble, though, such as the thick rough short of the green, the severe false front of the green, a cavernous front-right bunker and a river right of the green.

Black

613

Blue

507

Green

507

White

473

Gold

438

— The 15th Hole —

No. 15
Par 4

The 15th presents the player several options – to lay up short of all the bunkers, to place the tee shot in the middle of the bunkers or to have a go at the green itself. The sharp drop-off right of the green encourages the player to favor the center or left of the green with his pitch, but the spine that extends from the hillside into the green provides a challenging two-putt for a player on the wrong side of the green.

Black

370

Blue

359

Green

346

White

288

Gold

252

Championship Play

The 15th provided the turning point in the afternoon round of the final match of the 2011 U.S. Amateur. With the hole set to play only 252 yards, Patrick Cantlay, who was 1 up, elected to lay up off the tee but hit an 8 iron into the central fairway bunker. He lost the hole and ultimately the match to Kelly Kraft.

— The 16th Hole —

No. 16
Par 3

This narrow, slightly angled green is nestled against the hillside on its left. At first glance one might think that left is a good place to miss the green in that the hill should kick balls down towards the green. However, there are bunkers at the base of that hill that the golfer cannot see from the tee that will catch a ball trying to find the green off the hillside.

Black

200

Blue

184

Green

163

White

143

Gold

126

— The 17th Hole —

No. 17
Par 4

With the green tucked behind a hill on the left, a tee shot down the right provides the golfer with a clear view of the green while one down the left leaves a partially blind approach. Like the 1st, the 17th hole does not need greenside bunkering as the natural terrain provides plenty of challenge.

Black

481

Blue

447

Green

434

White

385

Gold

322

— The 18th Hole —

18th hole
No. 18
Par 5

Erin Hills closes with a long par 5 that lines up with Holy Hill in the distance. The player must fight his natural tendency to play directly towards the green and must force himself to play his second shot well to the right. The cluster of bunkers short of the green visually dominates the approach, but the player needs to take care not to miss the green to the left, where the closely mown area will propel the ball well away from the green.

Black

663

Blue

637

Green

622

White

542

Gold

506