On Monday, the three architects of Erin Hills discussed the course in the Media Center. Here are their recommendations for a few places where fans can watch the 117th U.S. Open Championship unfold.
Ron Whitten: One of the things we like about the course is that there are so many vantage points for spectators. You can just plop your chair down and watch the parade go by – you can see them play a lot of different shots on a lot of holes.
I would suggest that fans sit atop the hillside behind the seventh green. You can see action on No. 5 [a 505-yard par 4], you can see them coming down No. 7 [a 607-yard, par 5] and you can also get a look at No. 17 [a 509-yard, par 4] and all the way down No. 18 [a 637-yard par 5]. With a pair of binoculars, you could watch it all.
Also, from behind the 11th green, you can watch them play No. 10 and No. 11 [both par 4s], and you can watch them tee off on No. 9 [a 135-yard par 3]. You can’t see the result on No. 9, but you will certainly hear it when they hit it close.
Michael Hurdzan: I want to see how these guys play No. 2 [a short par 4 of 338 yards that may be drivable, depending on the setup] … whether they’re going to take the line directly over the hill, whether they lay up in front of the bunker or try to blow it over the bunker. And I want to see how they play their second shots into that green.
Certainly No. 14 [a 594-yard par 5] and No. 15 [a par 4 that will play from 288 to 357 yards] are going to be interesting holes as well, but No. 2 is going to be very intriguing for me.
Dana Fry: For me, it’s definitely [the 135-yard par 3] No. 9. From Day 1, I’ve always thought of it as the hole that people are going to remember the most about Erin Hills, along with No. 18. Another thing that I don’t hear talked about much are the par 5s here. They’re really good because the tee shots are demanding, and the second shots are really demanding. If you miss the fairway off the tee on 18, you have a serious problem, because you’re not going to be able to advance the next shot far enough, even if you’re in in the shorter rough. That will leave you with anywhere from 220 to 250 yards out, and that is a very difficult shot on that hole. Plus you have Holy Hill as the backdrop for that hole. The TV cameras are really going to love that this week.
Ron Driscoll is the manager of editorial services for the USGA. Email him at firstname.lastname@example.org.