Professional golfers and golf enthusiasts may already know quite about the Oakmont Country Club golf course, because of the course’s storied history and prominence in professional golf tournaments. Founded in 1903 by American industrialist Henry Clay Fownes, and owned and operated by Fownes and his son for 46, Oakmont Country Club has hosted numerous PGA and USGA championships, and was declared a National Historic Landmark. This difficult, members only course, can challenge even the best golfers, making one of the most coveted locations at which to improve your game.
Considered one of the most challenging courses in the U.S. the 18-hole course is home to fast, twisting greens, steep hills, 210 bunkers, and holes with a par of 71. The slope rating for the course is 144, and the course is rated 76.8, making it one of the toughest spots to improve your golf game. If you happen to hit a ball off the fairway, be prepared to whack your ball through thick greens, ditches, and foliage that can permanently disrupt your game. Critics have contended that the course is too tough for even championship games, but members and avid golfers cite the difficulty of the course as one of its most attractive features. When beginning the course, you’ll drive your ball through a long, sloping fairway, hopefully putting your way to a par four, then navigate through bunkers with nicknames like Big Mouth, Church Pews, and Sahara, finally finishing on a rough, hazard-ridden 18th hole with a par four.
Oakmont Country Club is a private, members-only club. Only members, their guests, and professional golfers playing in tournaments are permitted to play on the golf course. Membership requirements aren’t officially published on the course’s website, but it is members are recruited on a private, invitation-only basis, by other members. Additionally, championship golfers are sometimes invited to join the club, and many of the few hundred members fall into this category. Despite the club’s former history of social exclusion, most current members cite their love of golf as their primary reasoning for joining, and staff members note that there are far more exclusive clubs in existence throughout the country. Yet, you have to be fairly affluent to fork over the $75,000 annual fee required for membership.
If you’re lucky enough to have access to this coveted course, you must abide by the club’s rules when playing, which are designed to make playing an enjoyable experience for all involved. Golfers are expected to continuously play while on the course, and finish a round within four hours. Although golf carts are available, the course is designed for walking, and caddies are available to assist you throughout play. If you do use a cart, you’re expected to stay on the designated cart paths and avoid driving on fescue grass, and rake the bankers as you play. Cell phone use and cigarette smoking are prohibited anywhere on the course. Players must also adhere to club’s dress code, which requires collared shirts or turtlenecks, paired with pants or slacks, and forbids the wearing of jeans or other types of denim.