Players competing in the 90th PGA Championship will have to negotiate a longer and more challenging Oakland Hills thanks to an extensive renovation project carried out by Rees Jones.
The son of Robert Trent Jones Sr. has managed to add 346 yards to the course, producing a testing par 70 of 7,455 yards for the final Major of 2008. And he has also narrowed several fairways and repositioned fairway bunkers in order to provide a stern test for the players and force the longer hitters to be more accurate off the tee.
The holes that have seen the biggest changes are the 7th and 11th. The pond on the 7th has been enlarged, and 38 yards added to the hole to make it a daunting prospect for all. The 11th has been transformed from a 398-yard birdie opportunity into a 455-yard beast, with a 289-yard carry over a rolling hill. And all of the changes have been made without having to move any of Oakland Hills greens, which already provide a stern enough test.
The renovation was seen as vital in order to protect the course from the dramatic improvements that have been seen in both the players ability and crucially the technology at their disposal.
The membership at Oakland Hills has always been committed to maintaining the South Course as one of the greatest tests of Major championship golf, said Oakland Hills Country Club Chief Operating Officer Rick Bayliss. We believe Rees Jones has achieved this objective in a similar manner that his father did in 1950.
With all of these changes, the course that Ben Hogan called a monster after the 1951 US Open looks set to be deserving of its moniker next week.