There are few locations I’ve performed golf that carry the weight of Winged Foot Golf Club.
Upon driving down the driveway for the first (or second) time my palms have been slightly sweaty. Positive, I was nervous about embarrassing myself (or my host), however greater than anything I was simply unbelievably grateful to have a chance to play two programs that to me represented the good marriage between championship golf, history, and structure.
On this submit I’m going to share my expertise in enjoying each the East and the West Courses at Winged Foot. I performed every of them a yr an element in the fall of 2017 and summer time of 2018, but for the purposes of this, I’ll be treating them as if they have been one trip.
- 1 Winged Foot Golf Club History
- 2 First Impressions of Winged Foot Golf Club
- 3 Winged Foot West Course
- 4 Winged Foot East Course
- 5 Favourite Par 3: Hole Three, 145 Yards
- 6 Ultimate Ideas on Winged Foot
Winged Foot Golf Club History
I’ve been fortunate to play numerous golf programs that have hosted majors. Locations like Oakland Hills, Medinah, Olympic, Bethpage and lots of others.
However there’s one thing about Winged Foot, that feels a degree above all of those. Perhaps not in follow, I imply in any case, those are all phenomenal golf courses, however it definitely has that weight in my head.
The Club opened with two programs, the East and the West, in 1923 and by 1929 it had hosted its first US Open, making it the youngest Club to host the event.
Since then the West Course has hosted four extra Opens and a PGA Championship. To further add to the Club’s historical past the East has hosted a pair of US Ladies’s Opens in addition to a US Newbie.
And the West is about to host the US Open again subsequent in 2020.
For sure there are few courses in the world that rival the Championship pedigree of Winged Foot.
Each of the courses have been designed by A.W. Tillinghast, like lots of its well-known neighbors (Quaker Ridge, Bethpage Black, Somerset Hills to call a couple of).
As a person recognized for creating troublesome golf courses, the duet of the East and West may be his crowning achievement in that regard.
These are programs built for golfers, and specifically golfers with a penchant for a certain model of punishment.
The brick clubhouse was finished in 1930 and in my mind it’s the quintessential golden era clubhouse. It’s lovely from the outdoors, and on the inside, nothing is overly fancy like many trendy golf equipment.
It’s a clubhouse that has seen a variety of things, is dripping with historical past, and doesn’t need mahogany lockers, 3 several types of steam rooms, or different extravagances that may detract from its magnificence.
First Impressions of Winged Foot Golf Club
Whenever you first arrive at the club, it’s inconceivable not to be shocked by the reality you’re there. The Mamaroneck, New York property took me about 45 minutes to succeed in from Manhattan each occasions I’ve played, however I think about at different occasions of the day you can double this.
As soon as on the property, it’s arduous to consider it’s so near NYC because it feels sprawling, as many 36 hole complexes do.
The brief recreation space in front of the clubhouse is as properly manicured as something you’ll find, and this can be a widespread theme throughout the course.
Nothing is out of place.
As I walked on to the first tee field when teeing it up on the West Course for the first time, I advised my buddy Chris that this was the most good tee field I’ve ever stood on.
And it continued throughout the spherical.
With a spot as unique as Winged Foot is, you may anticipate the vibe to be stuffy and pretentious.
While I’m positive there are parts of this at occasions (there are at any golf club), the expertise I had both occasions was far more laid back and right down to earth than I anticipated.
The members I interacted with have been very welcoming, fast to share about the history of the Club, and after our round at the West this previous summer time, I even had a pleasant lady come up to me while we have been eating out on the patio to say “Hey, Breaking Eighty!”
It appears I’m usually only acknowledged at the most exclusive of golf courses, as the final time I keep in mind this occurring was on the first teebox at Maidstone.
Winged Foot West Course
The West Course is the extra well-known of the two programs by advantage of it being the US Open course. It’s frankly, exactly what I assumed it will be.
Long, troublesome, perfectly manicured, and an outstanding check of golf for the execs.
That is very a lot a type of locations the place the setting and expertise is tough to separate from the course itself. If I’m being trustworthy, the West Course wasn’t one my my private favorite programs (I’ve it ranked #56 in my 2018 prime 100 record) – principally resulting from the reality I’m not a ok golfer to really give it a run for it’s cash.
And this frankly, is what I used to be expecting of the course.
You’re enjoying numerous long irons into greens, that are undulating and lightning quick. For sure, for those who’re aren’t on your A recreation, you possibly can overlook about scoring.
That stated, I will say the greens have been a few of the coolest and most fascinating I’ve performed – and I feel it’s the inexperienced complexes that give it such high rankings in most major publications.
The only other time I can keep in mind being as fearful of a putt was enjoying TPC Sawgrass. Unreal inexperienced speeds, and at Winged Foot you get the velocity, but then much more undulation on prime of it.
The course, while onerous, could be very truthful. The whole lot is true in entrance of you, the greens roll true, and there’s zero trickery – which is a part of what makes this such a superb course for the execs.
Should you have been to ask me about my greatest “golf days” on the other hand, this might be prime 10.
We had good climate, the course was in good condition, and the company couldn’t have been higher.
The course itself doesn’t have dramatic elevation modifications, but outdoors of some of the fairways, it definitely doesn’t really feel flat. Tillinghast does a terrific job of utilizing push up greens and deep bunkers to offer ample visible curiosity on the course.
Favorite Par 3: Hole 10, 190 Yards
There’s so much to love about the 10th at Winged Foot West. It’s proper off the clubhouse and is the most outstanding gap on the property.
It’s visually hanging, lovely, and intimidating.
The front bunker can throw off your depth perception and make you assume the hole is shorter than it is.
This was the case for many of us, as all of us got here up brief and all proceeded to double the hole…
Favourite Par 4: Hole 11, 396 Yards
I assumed the 11th was the most visually fascinating par 4 on the West. However greater than that, at beneath 400 yards from the ideas, it provides you choices. Because of the course’s size you are feeling like you have to hit driver on most holes, even when it’s not treating you properly (for me it wasn’t).
So to have a hole the place you would feasibly hit something from an extended iron to a driver depending on your degree of aggression was a welcome change. The positioning of the fairway bunkers are just so that it forces you to hit an exacting shot either brief or long of them relying on which route you select to go.
Favorite Par 5: Hole 9, 521 Yards
I favored 9 because it provides you an inexpensive probability to go for it in 2 in case you hit a superb drive. The inexperienced is large, and identical to almost every other hole, has vital undulation that can wreak havoc in case you’re not on the right aspect of it.
You then add in the setting proper in front of the historic clubhouse, and properly, what extra can you ask for?
Clearly I had a favorite stretch of the course, and I look again and consider this as one among the better three gap stretches I’ve played.
Winged Foot East Course
If the West Course gave me precisely what I was anticipating, the East on the other hand gave me the actual reverse.
Truthfully? I really favored the East Course and undoubtedly most popular it to the west.
It’s not fairly as lengthy, not fairly as exhausting (however nonetheless very challenging), and it had a bit more quirkiness in the routing that I felt gave the the course more character.
I found the quartet of par 3s to be extra fascinating than those on the West, and the approach 3 and 6 have been tucked into natural rocks and hollows in the land made for a very fascinating setting.
I have a concept, and in talking with individuals I’ve found this to principally hold true, that the average golfer who plays each courses a Winged Foot will favor the East over the West.
When given the opportunity to play only one spherical, most people will choose the more well-known and highly ranked West Course, which is an excellent bucket record golf experience, however given 10 rounds I’d in all probability go 6 East and four West.
Favourite Par 3: Hole Three, 145 Yards
If requested, I feel the 13th is definitely the greatest par 3 on Winged Foot East. Nevertheless, I chose Three due to the setting and the reality it was sudden. We finished up on 2 green, and I hadn’t even seemed over to my proper to see the entire, and once I did I stated “oh wow, this is cool.”
That’s typically how I look back and take into consideration my rounds. What number of occasions was I stunned and delighted by a hole or function of the course.
These moments have been more ample for me on the East.
Favourite Par 4: Hole 14, 404 Yards
This in all probability isn’t the common reply right here, but the dogleg right 14th was my favorite par 4 on the course. It’s one in every of the simpler holes out right here, and it performs very nicely into my big slice. Should you hit a great shot you might be left with brief to mid iron in for an excellent probability at birdie.
Favourite Par 5: Hole 4, 549 Yards
Water not often comes into play on either course at Winged Foot, so that in itself makes the 4th on the East a little bit of an outlier. A tee shot over the water to an uphill fairway leads to a gap that continues to wrap round the lake, before sweeping again downhill in the direction of the inexperienced.
It’s an ideal gap, that you simply’re in all probability not reaching in two, and is a spotlight in a memorable stretch of holes of 3-6.
Ultimate Ideas on Winged Foot
Wanting back at my time at Winged Foot, I don’t assume it’s a stretch to say that the club is one in every of, if not the best 36 gap property in the nation.
Now I’ve not played at Baltusrol, or the South Course at LACC, however the setting and quality of golf throughout all 36 holes at Winged Foot is something special.
Along with that, I feel it really has a few of the greatest greens I’ve ever performed – and for those who’re the sort of one that weights your opinion of a course heavily in favor of the inexperienced complexes, you then’ll love Winged Foot.
It’s clearly a troublesome ticket to get, and I feel very fortunate to have made two journeys there now. However in the event you’re ever provided the alternative, I can say with out hesitation you must do no matter it takes to make it occur.
It’s considered one of the most particular golf experiences I’ve had, and I can’t wait to observe the execs deal with it in 2020.