After being priviliged to play Shinnecock Hills recently for the second time I now firmly believe it to be the finest golf course I have ever played. And I've been fortunate to play most of the best in the world.
Since its original design by Willie Dunn in 1891, updates by Charles B. Macdonald, Seth Raynor, Howard C. Toomey and William S. Flynn have transformed a fairly treeless, sandy landscape into a golf utopia. Shinnecock Hills has hosted U.S. Open championships in 1896, 1986, 1994, and 2004.
The thing I found so appealing about the golf course was it's simplicity; the greens almost seemed like 'magic carpets' that the designer had unfurled and laid down at the end of each fairway. Nothing overly complex or tricked up, just simple and subtle elevation changes that all seemed to fit.
The bunkering was decidedly plain too - and I mean that in the most positive light possible. Golfers of just about every skill level would be able to extricate their golf ball from every bunker on the property. What a breath of fresh air - no trickery!
The whole golf course played that way - nothing overdone, just good old fashioned golf. In fact, it may have the finest par four (#14) and par three (#11) in all of golf! Strike the ball correctly and you should have an excellent opportunity to shoot your handicap. The golf course could not have been more different than the way it appeared on Sunday in the carnage of the 2004 US Open when Goosen defeated Mickelson.
I absolutely love this golf course - so much so that I have a new favorite.