U.S. Open Returns to Shinnecock Hills Monday: What You Need to Know

The 16th Hole of Shinnecock Hills Golf Club in the Southampton, N.Y. on Wednesday, June 28, 2017
The 16th Hole of Shinnecock Hills Golf Club in the Southampton, N.Y. Photo: Copyright USGA/John Mummer

June 11–17, 2018 marks the fifth time in the U.S. Open’s 123-year history that the tournament will be held at the Shinnecock Hills Golf Club in Southampton.

Shinnecock’s first hosting gig came in 1896, one year after the original 12-hole golf course, designed by Willie Davis, was expanded to 18 holes, and the second year of the Open’s long history. It would be another 90 years before the tournament came back to Shinnecock in 1986.

Since then the tournament has returned in 1995, 2004 and now in 2018. A record number of fans are expected this year, so make sure to plan ahead.

The Course
What makes the U.S. Open unique among the four Major Championships is that it’s notorious for being played on difficult courses with tight fairways, speedy and trim greens, demanding pin positions and thick, high rough. As a result, six of the last nine winners have scored even par or higher. For comparison, the Masters, another of the four Majors, has had only one winning score over par since 1956.

This year, the course at Shinnecock Hills will be lengthened 449 yards, bringing it to an overall length of 7,445 yards. That’s a 6.4% expansion. The par-3 second hole, for example, has been lengthened by 26 yards, and the pin on the par-4 third hole has been moved back 22 yards and to the left.

In total there are 10 new back tees, including the par-4 14th hole and par-5 16th hole, which are both set back 76 yards. Many of the fairways have been narrowed to 28–34 yards, but will, on average, be slightly wider than they were in 2004.

A recent restoration of the course included bringing bunker play closer to the ideal line, more naturalized blowouts, removal of ryegrass roughs and replacement with native grasses, and the removal of trees.

You might have noticed the rather large tent erected on the course, alongside County Road 39. That would be the 37,000-square-foot Merchandise Pavilion—yes, that’s a lot of merchandise. The Pavilion will be open to the public starting today, June 7, through June 10 from 10 a.m.–6 p.m.

During the Open itself, the Pavilion will be available June 11–17 from 7 a.m.–8 p.m. but tickets will be required to enter. You’ll be able to find all sorts of U.S. Open and USGA merchandise, including the official championship collection designed by Polo Ralph Lauren.

What You Should Do As A Fan
Sit or kneel if you’re in the front row, stay behind the ropes and listen to instructions. Stay hydrated and wear any combination of comfortable shoes, sunscreen, hats and sunglasses.

Be aware of ticks. Tick-related illnesses are on the rise across the country and are of particular concern on the East End.

Stay quiet and still when players are getting to ready to hit the ball. Don’t yell “fore!” No one will think it’s funny and you may face expulsion and loss of ticket privileges for the remainder of the championship.

Set your phone volume to silent or vibrate. Tiger Woods doesn’t need to know that “Hot Blooded” by Foreigner is your favorite song. Yes, Tiger Woods is scheduled to be there—he’ll be staying on a yacht, of course.

Make the most of your time at Shinnecock Hills by enjoying any one of several interactive golf experiences. Immerse yourself in virtual reality with Deloitte, capture photos in Fan Central and share your moments on social media.

What You Can’t Do
Unless you’re 18 or under and in the designated autograph area adjacent to the practice green, you cannot ask for autographs. In addition, the organizers ask that you respect each player’s complete focus on preparing and playing and refrain from seeking autographs from the time a player is en route to his first tee until the completion of the player’s round. Violation of this policy may result in expulsion and loss of ticket privileges for the remainder of the championship.

You cannot bring weapons, fireworks, selfie sticks, noise-producing devices such as speakers, any bag larger than 6”x6”x6”, tablets or computers, signs, food, containers or coolers, chairs or ladders.

Don’t cross fairways except at designated crosswalk areas.

As you may have heard, the Bud Light advertising slogan “Dilly Dilly” was banned from the Masters earlier in 2018. While there’s no word yet on whether the phrase will be banned from the U.S. Open, why would you actually even consider it at such a prestigious event?

How to Get There
The Long Island Rail Road (LIRR) will be your best bet. Among the most notable constructions related to this year’s Open will be not only the temporary train platform constructed on the south side of County Road 39 adjacent to the Stony Brook Southampton campus, but that yellow temporary bridge, which crosses over County Road 39.

Numerous morning and afternoon trains are scheduled each day with service increasing during championship rounds, June 14–17. A schedule is posted at mta.info/lirr and accessible via usopen.com and the U.S. Open app, now available for download.

The U.S. Open will also provide complimentary parking and shuttle transportation at Francis S. Gabreski Airport in Westhampton Beach. Shuttle transportation to and from the championship entrance will take approximately 25 minutes.

If you’re using a taxi service, note that passenger drop-off will only be allowed at a designated area, located at Stony Brook Southampton, a 10-minute walk to Gate 2.

The U.S. Open trophy as seen at Shinnecock Hills Golf Club
The U.S. Open trophy as seen at Shinnecock Hills Golf Club, Photo: Copyright USGA/John Mummert

More Fun Facts About Shinnecock Hills & the U.S. Open
The links were revised four times before the present course, designed by William Flynn and built by Dick Wilson of Toomey and Flynn, was opened for the 1931 season. It’s laid out to utilize the natural topography of the Shinnecock Hills. Golf aficionados might see a resemblance to a number of the courses on the British Isles.

It was founded in 1891 and is today the oldest incorporated golf club in America—one of the five founding member clubs of the U.S. Golf Association (USGA).

The Clubhouse, built in 1892, was the work of the world-famous architectural firm of McKim, Mead & White, and remains substantially the same as a century ago. Over the years it has gone through several expansions and renovations, before undergoing a major restoration completed in 2016.

It is the only U.S. Open course to have held the national championship in three different centuries.

Why, if the U.S. Open has a 123-year history, is this year’s at Shinnecock only the 118th U.S. Open? The tournament was cancelled in 1917 and 1918 due to World War I and again from 1942–1945 due to World War II.

The U.S. Open trophy—18 inches high, six inches in diameter and eight-and-a-half pounds—doesn’t have a name. The current trophy dates to 1947 and is a replica of the original trophy from 1895, which was destroyed in a fire.

The winner gets to take the trophy home!

For more info on the 118th U.S. Open Championship at Shinnecock Hills Golf Club in Southampton, held from June 11–17, visit usopen.com.

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