Down the Fairway: Torrey Pines an ultimate test

Torre Pines will play at a grueling 7,643 yards for the U.S. Open

Are you kidding me?

My sore back almost buckled completely when I read that Torrey Pines Golf Course, the site for next week’s U.S. Open, will play at 7,643 yards.

That’s 379 yards longer than any previous U.S. Open layout. The only concession is that Torrey Pines will play as a par 71, not the par 70 that most U.S. Open sites have used for the last couple of decades. According to the U.S. Open fact sheet, provided by United States Golf Association media dir­ector Craig Smith, the last time the U.S. Open played as a par 71 was in 2000 at Pebble Beach. At that time, the course played at 6,846 yards. This year’s course will play almost 800 yards longer.

There are two 600-yard par-5s, the 612-yard ninth hole and the

614-yard 13th hole. And there will be two 500-yard par-4s, the 515-yard

sixth hole and the 504-yard 12th hole. The sixth hole will be the longest par 4 in U.S. Open history, while the 12th hole will be the third-longest. I get tired just thinking about trying to reach those holes.

I know the current PGA players hit the ball a long way with the help of modern technology, but the yardages these guys must cover is becoming unbelievable.

You like numbers? Here are some fascinating U.S. Open stats provided by the USGA.

The fairways at Torrey Pines will range in width from 24 to 33 yards. The intermediate rough, running six feet wide on each side of the fairway, will be 13⁄4 inches, while the 15-foot band of primary rough will be grown to 21⁄4 inches. The second cut of deepest rough will be 31⁄2 inches.

The USGA plans to penalize off-line shots as much as possible.

The greens will run between 13 and 13.5 on the Stimpmeter, and the rough around the greens will be between three and four inches high.

To show you the difficulty of this course, take a look at the course rating and the slope rating at Torrey Pines. Most of the area’s better courses simply don’t compare.

Eagle Crest Golf Course, from the black tees, has a 72.8 course rating and a slope of 120. Glens Falls Country Club has a 72.1 rating from the blue markers and a 134 slope. Mohawk Golf Club’s numbers from the blue tees are 72.9 and 130.

Torrey Pines will play with a 79.7 course rating and a slope of 153.


The great thing about the U.S. Open is that it is truly an “open” tournament for the top players. The tournament is open to any pro or amateur golfer with a USGA Hand­icap Index not exceeding 1.4.

A total of 8,390 entries were received for this year’s event. Local qualifying was held at 111 sites last month. The Capital Region didn’t have anyone advance past the sectionals. Dan Russo of Rolling Hills at Antlers, earned the fourth and final local qualifying berth in a playoff at Colonie Golf & Country Club, but he suffered a rib injury and couldn’t compete in the next round. Ron Philo Jr., who reached sectional play as an alternate, missed making the U.S. Open field by six strokes.

My sentimental pick to win this year’s U.S. Open is Phil Mickelson, who will be playing in the same foursome as Tiger Woods for the first two rounds. But I also wouldn’t mind seeing Vijay Singh win with his revamped belly putter stroke.


The 16th annual Ellis Hospital Skins Game is right around the corner.

The popular event, scheduled for June 16 at Mohawk Golf Club, will have a women’s theme for the first time. Proceeds will benefit women’s health care in the community.

Scotia native Laura Diaz, a two-time winner on the LPGA Tour and a U.S. Solheim Cup veteran, will tee it up along with fellow LPGA Tour standout Morgan Pressel, who already has an LPGA major under her belt.

Veteran Skins Game competitor Blaine McCallister of the Champ­ions Tour will also be in the group, along with the winner of the June 15 Northeastern New York PGA Players’ Classic.

Since 1993, the Skins Game has raised more than $2 million to support advanced equipment and technology at Ellis. This year, the proceeds will support the Bellevue Woman’s Care Center.

Tickets, priced at $25, are available at area Price Chopper supermarkets.


Entries for the Gazette Women’s Best Ball Championship are still filing in. The tournament will be played June 21 at Schenectady

Municipal Golf Course.

Entry fee is $100 per team and includes golf, cart, refreshments, range balls and prizes. Women 18 years of age or older are eligible. Maximum handicap difference between partners is 15. There will be gross and net divisions.

Categories: Sports

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