The strange thing about course ranking lists in golf magazines is that, while I never completely agree with the order of things, I always read them to see what the voters have come up with.
You sort of get a glimpse of the ocean standing on the 1st green. But then you go inland a bit. You still know it is there, though. Then all of a sudden you get to what you have been waiting for all day – the magnificently scenic stretch of holes from the 14th onwards. And it doesn’t disappoint. It is everything you expect it to be – and then some.
This is the one course on my list that is different from the others in that its mission has always been to be as difficult as it can possibly be. But, despite that, it makes my top-ten. Normally, such a philosophy is a recipe for disaster, producing courses that are a combination of too long and too narrow. In other words: miserable.
But not at Oakmont.
Somehow the combination of a great landscape and wonderful greens makes it loveable rather than detestable. There are those who say the course would be even better with no rough. But I’m not so sure about that.
Oakmont needs some rough, but Melbourne Sandbelt-style rough – four inches long and dry, from which the ‘flier’ is always a possibility. Just not ‘hack-out’ rough. There has to be some reward for finding the short grass. But, every now and then, it does us as golfers no harm to be beaten up.