33. The Olympic Club (Lake)
Sam Whiting (1924)/Bill Love (2016)
It seems fitting that, in a town where every house is a cliffhanger, every U.S. Open played at Olympic has been one, too. For decades, the Lake was a severe test of golf. Once it was a heavily forested course with canted fairways hampered by just a single fairway bunker. By 2009, the forest had been considerably cleared away, leaving only the occasional bowlegged cypress with knobby knees, the seventh and 18th greens were redesigned and a new par-3 eighth added. Despite those changes, the 2012 U.S. Open stuck to the usual script: a ball got stuck in a tree, slow-play warnings were given, a leader snap-hooked a drive on 16 in the final round, and a guy name Simpson won. Thanks to architect Bill Love, Olympic Lake now has redesigned bunkering. Next up for the course, the 2021 U.S. Women’s Open.
100 Greatest History: Ranked since 1966. Highest ranking: No. 10, 1985-88 and 1991-92. Previous ranking: No. 31
“From Mark Twain to Johnny Miller, some of the best thinkers in the game have been members at Olympic. And that’s evident in the play of the course. Like any of the best major-championship venues, this is a course you have to think yourself around with precision.”
“One of the great challenges and rewards of the game is the ability of a player to adapt to a new course or environment. The heavy air and regular winds coming off of the ocean can make it very difficult for a player to choose the correct club at Olympic.”
“The Lake Course has done an excellent job of removing a number of their large pine trees that allows much better air circulation and sun light which has caused the turf conditions to increase tremendously. It allowed them to add a number of new championship tees that have added much length and difficulty to an already monstrous course.”
“Few golfers will lose a golf ball, but only the best will score well.”