Oak Hill Country Club

Golf Course Review by: Bill Satterfield

Quick Facts

Designer:  Donald Ross in 1925

Cost:  Private

Phone Number: (585) 381-1900

Course Website:  Official Website - Visit Oak Hillt's official website by clicking on the link provided.

Directions:  Get here! - 346 Kilbourn Rd, Rochester, New York 14618

Photos:  See additional photos of Oak Hill (East) as well as photos of Oak Hill (West)

Accolades: The East Course ranked 17th on Golf Digest's 2013-14 Top 100 Greatest Golf Courses in America and 5th in the state of New York. The West Course ranked 19th in New York on Golf Digest's 2013-14 Best in State list.

Signature Hole:  East 13th - 594 Yard Par 5 - The 13th hole is not only the signature at Oak Hill, it is one of the best par fives in the state of New York. Playing nearly 600 yards from the tips, this lengthy beast winds its way uphill past the courseís Hill of Fame before reaching the bowled green. The Hill of Fame, found on the right side of the fairway, boasts a flag pole and several trees that are dedicated to different people that the club holds in high esteem; Oak Hillís greatest honor. It is a unique and worthy feature at this storied course.

13th Hole at  Oak Hill (East) (594 Yard Par 5)
13th Hole at Oak Hill (East) (594 Yard Par 5)

Runner up:  West 18th - 460 Yard Par 4 - This hole was lengthened in 2009 to add some teeth to the final hole at Oak Hill's West course and the result is an excellent test to wrap up the round. The hole is pretty straight, but does take a slight left turn around a fairway bunker before climbing up to the green that features a bunker short left and a bunker in the rear. The hole finishes with the clubhouse towering behind the green and is one of the most impressive clubhouses in the United States; a signature feature indeed.

18th Hole at  Oak Hill (West) (460 Yard Par 4)
18th Hole at Oak Hill (West) (460 Yard Par 4)

What to Expect:  The list of historic clubs with a rich tournament history is more prevalent in New York than any other state in the union and one club that adds to that resume is Oak Hill. The Donald Ross designed 36 hole complex has hosted the U.S. Open three times (1956, 1968, and 1989), the PGA Championship twice (1980, 2003, and will again in 2013), the U.S. Amateur twice, as well as a Senior U.S. Open, Senior PGA Championship, and the 1995 Ryder Cup. The rolling terrain at Oak Hill offers some great uphill and downhill holes as well as some lightly sloping fairways. A creek meanders through the East course and bisects some fairways half way through the hole, some 50 yards from the green, and some right next to the green. The course has plenty of trees lining the fairways but not near as thick or intrusive as is found at Winged Foot. It is a very classic feeling course with gentle doglegs and great strategy. Tiger Woods was quoted as saying Oak Hill was the hardest, fairest course that the big boys have been asked to play for a major championship. The West course is a solid offering and was lengthened during the 2009 season, but the East course is king at Oak Hill and features one of the finest front nines in the country paired with some of the toughest finishing holes in golf.

By the Numbers:

Tees (East) Par Yardage Rating Slope
Black 71/70 7145 76.7 147
Blue 71/70 6902 75.4 142
White 71/70 6519 73.3 139
Red (Women) 71/70 5866 77.5 142

By the Numbers:

Tees (West) Par Yardage Rating Slope
Blue 71 6781 73.1 127
White 71 6347 70.9 125
Gold 71 5646 67.4 114
Gold (Women) 73 5646 73.6 125
Green (Women) 73 5305 70.3 120


Individual Hole Analysis

Best Par 3:  East 15th - 177 Yards - The final par three at Oak Hillís East course plays downhill to a green that is protected by a pond on the right and a pair of bunkers on the left. This type of design always makes you pucker; if you go right you are in the water. If you go left, you are in the sand hitting back towards the water. It is a great par three to play before heading into the three stout par 4s that conclude the round.

15th Hole at Oak Hill (East) (177 Yard Par 3)
15th Hole at Oak Hill (East) (177 Yard Par 3)

Runner up:  West 8th - 156 Yards - The last par three on the front nine is an attractive hole that places from a slightly elevated tee to a green that features two bunkers on each side of the putting surface and a steep slope off the front. The hole is named Cathedral due to the tall, dense trees that frame the hole. Although the hole is short, there is no bail out area so you need to be dialed in on this tee shot.

8th Hole at Oak Hill (West) (156 Yard Par 3)
8th Hole at Oak Hill (West) (156 Yard Par 3)

Best Par 4:  East 1st - 460 Yards - Oak Hillís East course starts off strong with a great par four. Playing longer than most two-shotters, this hole features trees on both sides of the fairway and o.b. across the creek on the right side. The creek cuts in from the right across the fairway less than 100 yards from the green and shouldnít come into play on most approach shots. A big drive can catch the down slope and gain some extra yards and get your round started off right, but a poor drive will either find trouble or have a long approach into this green protected by two bunkers in the front and one in the rear.

1st Hole at Oak Hill (West) (460 Yard Par 4)
1st Hole at Oak Hill (West) (460 Yard Par 4)

Runner up:  West 13th - 448 Yards - This hole is named Twin Hills and provides one of the most unique green sites on the property. Already fairly lengthy at 448 yards, the green is protected by a pair of hills with bunkers in front of each hill. The hill on the right is presented to the golfer first while the hill on the left sits closer to the green. O.B. runs up the entire right side of this hole that jumps back to the right a bit at the end and adds a little extra challenge when approaching the green.

13th Hole at Oak Hill (West) (448 Yard Par 4)
13th Hole at Oak Hill (West) (448 Yard Par 4)

Best Par 5:  East 13th - 594 Yards - Throughout Oak Hillís long history, few players have ever been able to reach this green in two. Why? For starters, the fact that it is 600 yards long eliminates most players. Beyond that, there is a creek that crosses the fairway about 300 yards out. Therefore, the player must layup short of the creek and rip a 300+ yard shot uphill to the green, or the player must risk carrying the creek off the tee and then still be left with a very lengthy uphill shot to a green that is protected by six bunkers and is tucked into a hill. With the shape of the fairway creating a soft ĎSí shape, eight bunkers, and a creek to contend with on this uphill monster; it makes for one fine golf hole.

13th Hole at Oak Hill (East) (594 Yard Par 5)
13th Hole at Oak Hill (East) (594 Yard Par 5)

Runner up:  West 6th - 543 Yards - This hole features a pair of hills that bisect the fairway about 150 yards apart from each other which has given this hole the name of Camel Back. This is the only par five over 500 yards on the course and plays uphill the entire way home so it becomes very difficult to reach in two. Donald Ross decided that the undulations in the fairway were a large enough test to deal with that he left fairway bunkers out of the equation and instead threw a bunker on each side of the green. This long uphill journey plays directly north and features a raised green that can be challenging to hit from a long distance.

6th Hole at  Oak Hill (West) (543 Yard Par 5)
6th Hole at Oak Hill (West) (543 Yard Par 5)

Birdie Time:  East 4th - 570 Yard Par 5 - During championship tournaments held at Oak Hill, this hole has coughed up 50% more birdies than any other on the course. The hole doglegs right and affords the opportunity to best a big drive over the corner and be in great position to reach the green in two. Two bunkers protect the inside corner of the dogleg while four more bunkers rest near the green; two bunkers greenside and two more short and right. If you can avoid the o.b. and bunkers on the right side of the hole on your tee shot, there should be little reason not to make a run at reaching this receptive green in two and scoring under par.

4th Hole at Oak Hill (East) (570 Yard Par 5)
4th Hole at Oak Hill (East) (570 Yard Par 5)

Runner up:  West 12th - 303 Yard Par 4 - The 12th hole at Oak Hill's West course is the shortest par four on the property and features the only water hazard on this group of 18 holes. Driving the green is possible, although you have to clear the pond that creeps into the left half of the fairway and then avoid the five bunkers that encircle the green. Regardless of the trouble, a simple 200 yard tee shot followed by a wedge shot into the green will set you up beautifully for a birdie.

Bogey Beware:  East 18th - 488 Yard Par 4 - Traditionally one of the three toughest holes during tournaments at Oak Hill, Shaun Micheel made one of the most impressive birdies in major championship history here en route to winning the 2003 PGA Championship. Up one stroke on Chad Campbell going into the 72nd hole, Micheel hit his tee shot to the first cut of the right rough and managed to hit a 7-iron 175 yards to within two inches of the hole. The clutch shot gave Micheel a tap in birdie and legendary status as a major champion. For us non-professional golfers, the 18th hole at Oak Hill is a beast that stretches out to nearly 500 yards and doglegs to the right. The inside corner of the dogleg is protected by a pair of bunkers while a slope in front of the green will repel shots from reaching the putting surface if coming in a bit short. This is a man-sized hole to finish on and one that will forever be remembered in major championship lore.

18th Hole at Oak Hill (East) (488 Yard Par 4)
18th Hole at Oak Hill (East) (488 Yard Par 4)

Runner up:  West 7th - 442 Yard Par 4 - This long dogleg left can put a big number on your scorecard in a hurry. Tee shots hit down the left side will either be engulfed by the forest framing that side of the hole or will be blocked from reaching the green. Tee shots played up the right side have a chance at par but will still be faced with an approach to an uphill green that is protected by a pair of bunkers up front. The sloping green is one of the stiffer challenges on the course and can be a recipe for disaster if not treated with respect.

7th Hole at  Oak Hill (West) (442 Yard Par 4)
7th Hole at Oak Hill (West) (442 Yard Par 4)

Final Cut:    Grade A

Flyover Tour (East Course): 

 

Final Cut:    Grade B-

Flyover Tour (West Course):