Longer Olympic greets US Open


Sean Dudley

This week’s US Open will be played over a very different Olympic Club course than the one on which Lee Janzen became champion in 1998.

Bill Love, a past president of the American Society of Golf Course Architects has worked with the club, notably director of golf course maintenance operations Pat Finlen for several years making adjustments to Olympic's nearly 100-year-old Lake course, first for the 2007 US Amateur and now for the Open.

Rory McIlroy will attempt to defend his title on a course that, at 7,170 yards, is substantially longer in its 2012 iteration than in 1998. Love made adjustments that increase the length of nearly half the course’s holes, and the sixteenth will be the longest hole in US Open history at 670 yards. An entirely new par three eighth has been built, a change that enabled Love to lengthen the seventh and ninth holes

Tree removal has been underway since before the 2007 Amateur. Diseased trees have been selectively removed in order to maintain the health of remaining trees in addition to revealing the topography and improving the perception of the property the course sits on. The famed cypress trees the course is known for remain and will continue to provide a challenge for Open golfers who stray from the fairway.

“I hope both players and television viewers come away with an appreciation of what a great test of golf the Lake Course is,” Love said. “The work we have done is geared toward blending into the original golf course and existing architecture. We hope people will see the work we have done and let them discover the course and land in a new way.”