What led me to take a look at this was looking at some photos that Jon Cavalier posted on Twitter(@LinksGems).
I had a little fun with this one since its hard to see a lot of the little intricacies of the grading in the fairways and around the greens. I did a few images in an attempt to make the grading stand out.
For those unfamiliar with the course location, it is located on Long Island and neighbors Shinnecock Hills and Peconic Bay.
I’ll be honest here: I loved watching the US Opens out there over the last few appearances, but until recently, I didn’t really get the history and layout of the country club. Now I can’t stop looking at it. It has its share of elevation changes from tee to green and also within the green complex itself.
Below is an aerial photo showing Oakmont Country Club. It also allows you to familiarize your self with different monuments on the course. Pew bunkers, Pennsylvania Turnpike, the Club House.
What really caught my eye looking at the topography is how much the course plays away from you on certain holes. Hole 1 and 10 play downhill approximately 60 feet from the back tees to the front of the green before falling another 4 feet – 6 feet from the front of the green to the back. Holes 9 and 11 play both uphill. While the 8th hole is a lengthy par 3, the hole only 8 feet – 12 feet downhill, which provides no elevation assistance to the player.
In addition to having to play with and into the grade, some of these fairways have a 8 feet – 12 feet elevation change from the left side of the fairway to the right side. Making the player face shots placing the ball above and below his or her feet.
Below is a contour map of Oakmont Country Club in 2-foot intervals. The map was generated using USGS Lidar data. You can tell on this image where the trees are. Filtering those points was a little more time consuming then I thought it was going to take so I left them visible. I believe this data was acquired between 2006 and 2008 so any changes after that time period will not be reflected.
The next few images show a color scale of Oakmont Country Club, also generated using USGS LIdar data.
For this I did an overlay of the 5-foot contouring to reduce the intensity a bit. The colors vary in elevations changes with some being a 10-foot change in elevation and others being a 2 foot – 3 foot change in elevation. The red colors are the higher elevations with the blue being the lower elevations.
For this last image, I turned up the transparency for the image above to give you a better chance at seeing the holes below the topography and color scale.
I don’t know much about the architecture or design of this course, but there is a great mix of using low and high spots of the course to work in both some tee boxes and green complexes. A course that is near the top of my list of ones to play if the opportunity ever came up.