The Brutally Thick Rough at the U.S. Open Is Making Golf Balls Disappear

The insanely thick rough at Oakmont Country Club will humble some of the best golfers in the world at the 116th U.S. Open.

The 116th U.S. Open Golf Championship might be the toughest one yet.

The best players in the world have converged on Oakmont Country Club in Plum, Pennsylvania, a course with a long history of punishing anything less than golf perfection. Tommy Armour won the 1927 U.S. Open at Oakmont with a score of +13. Sam Parks, Jr. did it in 1935 with +11. Angel Cabrera did it in 2007 with +5. Scores that would mean missing the cut in other tournaments can often be good enough to put a player in title contention at Oakmont.

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So, what makes the course so tough? For one, the greens are wickedly wavy and faster than a Walmart parking lot. Sam Snead once famously remarked, "I tried to mark my ball on one of Oakmont's greens, but the coin slid off." There are also bunkers everywhere you look, including the massive "Church Pews," a 100-yard-long hazard filled with grassy ridges. But perhaps the most challenging aspect of Oakmont is the rough. There's long rough, and then there's the rough at Oakmont. If you hit it in the second cut, your ball will likely disappear into a tangled mess of 4-1/2-inch grass.

Two-time Masters champion Bubba Watson figured out a novel way to escape Oakmont's hellish rough:

There's been word that the rough was trimmed down a bit before the official start of competition after tournament organizers saw how much trouble it was giving the players in practice—but it should still be plenty punishing. To achieve success at Oakmont, a golfer must be able to minimize his frustration and successfully use mental toughness techniques. We'll be watching closely to see who has the physical and mental prowess to conquer this challenging course.

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Rough Oakmont


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