U.S. Women’s Open: 5 brutal holes at Lancaster Country Club sure to define winner

A few weeks ago, at the U.S. Women’s Open media day at Lancaster Country Club, I asked a veteran caddie about the defining stretch of this legendary William Flynn design.

“Holes 8 through 11,” he responded without hesitation.

“They are an absolute bear. Whoever plays them in even par or better during the open will have a great shot at winning.”

Those four holes will tremendously impact the 2024 U.S. Women’s Open, which is set to have the largest purse in women’s golf history, thanks to Ally Financial.

But the final hole at Lancaster Country Club, a beastly par-4 that makes its way back to the clubhouse, will also help decide the champion in Central Pennsylvania.

So, without further ado, here are five challenging holes that will determine the 2024 U.S. Women’s Open:

Hole 8 – Par 3, 199 Yards

USGA, Lancaster CC

The 8th hole at Lancaster Country Club.
Russell Kirk/USGA

In 2015, when Lancaster Country Club last hosted the U.S. Women’s Open, only 39.7% of the field hit the green in regulation, the lowest of any hole.

A beast of a par-3, the 8th could very well be the most challenging hole on the course.

“Outside of the 8th hole at Oakmont, this may be the most difficult par-3 in the state of Pennsylvania,” the caddy said.

“It’s like a par-4.”

Indeed, when standing on the tee, the player can barely see the putting surface, one of the smallest on the course. It slopes dramatically from back to front and left to right, leaving only a handful of possible pin positions.

Nevertheless, anyone who finds the green will consider themselves lucky. Anyone who does not will struggle to get up and down, especially if you miss left.

Hole 9 – Par 4, 418 Yards

USGA, Lancaster Country Club

The 9th hole at Lancaster Country Club.
Russell Kirk/USGA

A gorgeous par-4 that heads back towards the clubhouse, the 9th plays into the prevailing wind, making a difficult hole even more challenging.

It produced the most bogeys during the 2015 championship, but the fairway has been widened since then. In a move of architectural brilliance, the 2nd and 9th holes now share a fairway, giving players on both holes a broader target while also creating a charming aesthetic.

Still, this hole produces plenty of problems. Any tee shot that misses right will either find the sand trap or, worse, thick rough. Regardless, trees will block out any hope of reaching the green.

If you find the fairway, the second shot requires a long iron into an elevated green. The putting surface slopes from back to front, but a large swath funnels off the right greenside bunker. This hole rarely yields any birdies.

Hole 10 – Par 4, 444 Yards

USGA, Lancaster Country Club

The 10th hole at Lancaster Country Club.
USGA/Russell Kirk

The grueling stretch at Lancaster continues with the par-4 10th.

But unlike the 9th, the tee shot at 10 plays downhill.

A speed slot along the right side of the fairway will lead to longer drives, but beware of the two sand traps on the corner of this gentle dogleg right. Yet, anything pulled will find some of the thick, gnarly rough that lines Lancaster’s snake-like fairways.

The second shot plays uphill into a green that slopes severely from back to front, as distance control is paramount. Not only do you have to avoid going above the hole, but you cannot miss short, either. A false front will send any ball back down the slope and into an area where an up-and-down is next to impossible.

Hole 11 – Par 4, 417 Yards

USGA, Lancaster

The 11th hole at Lancaster Country Club.
Russell Kirk/USGA

Similar to the 10th hole, the tee shot at 11 plays downhill before an uphill approach.

The fairway bends ever so slightly from left to right on this straightaway beast, making the short grass more challenging to find. Big misses to the right and left will present plenty of problems, thanks to trees and long grass, respectively. But a fairway bunker on the left side of the fairway will surely have plenty of activity.

Players must pull out another long iron into this difficult green, which slopes severely from right to left. A run-off area also encompasses this putting surface, following along with its incline. In addition to running from right to left, this green runs from back-to-front, especially on the front half of this green—a typical ingredient of a Flynn design.

When a player walks off this green, you will hear them exhale a massive sigh of relief, as they now have Lancaster’s grueling stretch in the rearview mirror.

Hole 18 – Par 4, 437 Yards

USGA, Lancaster Country Club

The 18th hole at Lancaster Country Club.
Russell Kirk/USGA

The second-longest par-4 on the course, the 18th has the widest fairway of any hole at Lancaster. More than 80% of the field hit this fairway in 2015; similar results should follow this week.

Yet, the tee shot on this difficult closer is not the problem. Everything else is.

The green sits about 20 yards uphill, and the hole also heads into the prevailing wind, turning a 175-yard shot into one that plays 200 or more.

Like the 10th hole, Flynn employed a false front on the 18th, which correlates with the hole’s natural topography—another distinct feature of Flynn designs.

The final hole at Lancaster also has the largest putting surface on the course, measuring more than 11,000 feet in square footage. But players still struggle to find this green in regulation. The false front greatly diminishes the actual size of this green, while the back left portion of this putting surface runs off to the back.

Anything long will present a challenging up-and-down, but so, too, will any miss short.

Hence, accuracy and distance control at 18 are paramount, but those attributes are required on any hole at Lancaster Country Club, which will serve as a beautiful yet challenging U.S. Open test once again.

Jack Milko is a golf staff writer for SB Nation’s Playing Through. Be sure to check out @_PlayingThrough for more golf coverage. You can follow him on Twitter @jack_milko as well.

Source link

About The Author

Scroll to Top