U.S. Open 2012: Power Ranking Difficulty of All 18 Holes at the Olympic Club

Daniel ZhuContributor IJune 11, 2012

U.S. Open 2012: Power Ranking Difficulty of All 18 Holes at the Olympic Club

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    With the U.S. Open just rounding the corner, and the top players in the world teeing it up at Olympic Club this week on Thursday, the Open will be another thriller to watch.

    Of course Olympic Club is no easy course, and it is definitely anyone's ball game. Tiger Woods has all the momentum after his win at the Memorial, Rory McIlroy is trying to end his slump, and Phil Mickelson is still in search of his first U.S. Open.

    So without further ado, let's take a look at some of the challenging holes that the players will face this week at the Olympic Club.

18. Par- Four Seventh

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    The par- four seventh hole at the Olympic Club is a classic risk reward hole.

    Measuring only 294 yards from the back tees, players will be enticed to try to drive the green.

    There are a few bunkers guarding the green, but players can easily get an up-and-down birdie from the sand. 

     The only formidable threat this hole poses is its long nasty rough around the green. If any ball enters that particular domain, players will have to hack it out, and scramble for their birdie or par.

17. Par-Four 18th

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    Playing only 354 yards from the back tees, the par-four 18th hole is one of the shortest par four's out on the golf course.

    Finding the fairway here is key, and after their tee shots, players will be faced with an uphill second shot; requiring only a short iron.

    The green is well guarded by four bunkers, and just like most of the putting surfaces at Olympic Club, the green slopes from back to front. Thus, players will have to keep the ball below the hole, and avoid the slippery downhill putt.

16. Par-Three 15th

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    Playing as the shortest par-three on the course, the par-three 15th is a hole that should be quite kind to the players and yield plenty of birdies.

    Measuring only 154 yards, this little par three demands no more than a simple short iron shot from the players. Yet, as simple as it sounds, three large bunkers guard the green on the front, left, and right areas.

    The only danger this hole presents is the front bunker. If players leave their tee shots short, there is a high possibility of the ball plugging in the front bunker, which could lead to a bogey or worse.

15. Par-Four 10th

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    The majestic par-four 10th hole is the first hole on the back nine at the Olympic Club.

    From the back tees, the hole plays at 424 yards yards long, and is a slight dog-leg right. Players will normally have to hit a little fade off the tee, and be left with a short iron shot.

    The green at this hole is relatively flat, and if players can keep the ball blow the hole, they'll have good opportunities to make birdies.

    However, the green slopes from front to back, so players who hit their second shot long will be off the back edge of the green.

14. Par-Four 11th

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    The par-four 11th hole is a straight away 430 yard par-four that plays strong into the wind.

    After hitting their tee shots, players will have a short iron shot into this two tiered putting surface.

    The top tier is pretty flat, but the lower portion of the green slopes severely from left to right, which will make putting quite difficult if the pin is on the lower shelf.

    If players do find the pin location to be on the lower part of the green, then it is essential that they keep the ball below the hole to avoid an insanely speedy putt down the hill.

13. Par-Four 14th

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    Though only measuring 419 yards, the par-four 14th hole will be a formidable challenge to the players.

    In order to find this narrow fairway, players may select a long iron or hybrid off the tee, but the more aggressive players can pound it down the slope with a driver, and have only a sand wedge left.

    The putting surface is protected by two bunkers on the right front and left front portion of the green, which will definitely come into play.

    As usual, the green slopes from back to front, so keeping the ball below the hole is key to making a birdie here.

12. Par-Four Fourth

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    The par-fourth hole is an automatic lay up hole for the golfers who will be teeing it up at Olympic Club next week.

    Playing 430 yards from the back tee, using a three woods or long iron is essential to finding the fairway. If players hit driver, their tee shots will run through the fairway and find the deep rough they don't want to be playing in.

    On the uphill second shot, players will have to club up in order to hit this green. Any shot short right of the pin will leave an uphill putt and a decent chance at birdie. 

11. Par-Three Eighth

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    The par-three eighth hole will demand a medium iron shot for the players in order to reach the green of this 200 yard par-three.

    The putting surface is well protected by large bunkers on the left and right, and the looming Cypress tree on guarding the left portion of the green, makes the hole of the signature holes at Olympic Club.

    Overall, players will have a pretty simple mid-iron shot into this green, and walk away with a par or better.

10. Par-Three 13th

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    The par-three 13th hole plays 199 yards and will require a medium iron shot for the players.

    This long and narrow green is well protected by bunkers on the front and right portions of the putting surface. There is also a Monterey Cypress whose outstretched branches could catch a tee shot if it is pushed slightly.

    Thus, players will have to hit a straight and solid iron shot to find the green and escape the trouble. There are also a few collection areas on the left and back sides of the green, which will give players a hard up-and-down for par.

9. Par-Five 17th

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    This short par-five hole is another risk reward hole for the long hitters. Playing only 505 yards from the back tees, and players will have to hit a little cut in order to hold the fairway.

    The long hitters who go for the green will be rewarded with eagle and birdie opportunities if they strike their approach shots well.

    If they do not, and find one of the collection areas off the green on the back and the right, then the players will be faced with an uphill pitch that could end up back at their feet if not hit precisely.

8. Par-Four Ninth

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    This 449 par-four plays slightly downhill, and players will need to hit a baby fade in order to find this fairway.

    After hitting their tee shots players will have a medium to short iron into the green from a slight side hill lie. Leaving the ball short left of the hole will give the players a relatively straight uphilll putt.

    This green is one of the tougher ones out on the course and will leave some players scratching their heads in confusion.

    Making a par here on this hole is a great score; a birdie is a steal.

7. Par-Five 16th

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    This brute of a par-five measures a whopping 670 yards from the back tees, which makes it the longest hole in U.S. Open history.

    This monster par-five will be a three shot hole for all the players, and hitting the fairway will be key to the players if they are going to hit the green in regulation.

    For their third shot, most players will be faced with a wedge shot to a well protected green, with bunkers on the left and front portions of the green.

    There is also a slope near the back of the green which will roll down into a collection area at the bottom of the green.

6. Par-Four 12th

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    The par-four 12th, playing 451 yards is the toughest hole on the back nine.

    Accuracy will be key for the players off the tee if they are to hit this narrow tree-lined fairway.

    After hitting the fairway, players will be left with a mid-iron shot to the small and flat green.

    The putting surface is well guarded by two large bunkers in the front, and going long is not an option. There is a collection area near the back of the green, which will leave players with a tough up-and down.

    Again, this is a hole that players will be happy to make a par on.

5. Par-Three Third

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    Playing as the longest par-three out on the course at 247 yards long, this is also the most difficult one.

    Players will be hitting a fairway wood or hybrid club in order to reach this green. The putting surface is well guarded by two bunkers on either side of the green.

    In order to hold this green, players will have to land the ball on the front edge and let it release towards the hole.

    Making par on this hole is a great score, and hitting the green is just equally as good.

4. Par-Four Second

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    The par-four second plays only 428 yards from the back tees, and players will normally select a three wood off the tee to find this narrow fairway.

    The player's second shot will be one of the toughest and most demanding iron shots they hit out on the golf course.

    The putting surface slopes severely from the back right portion to the front left, so players should leave their approach shots left of the pin for an uphill putt.

3. Par-Four Fifth

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    The par-four fifth hole is one of the longest par-four holes at Olympic Club, playing 498 yards from the back tees.

    This right to left fairway will require players to hit a slight fade off the tee in order to find this fairway.

    The approach shot to this green will be slightly downhill and down wind, so players may need to hit about a club to a half a club shorter in order to find the putting surface.

    Keeping the ball short and left of the hole will be essential for the players who want an uphill putt for a birdie.

2. Par Four-Sixth

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    This 490 yard par-four is one of the more difficult ones out on the course, and players should be happy to walk away with a par.

    There is a fairway bunker that comes into play if the players hit a slightly errant tee shot, but the chances of a perfectly struck tee shot rolling in the vicinity of the sand are high as well.

    After hitting their tee shot, Players will be faced with a downhill approach shot to a well bunkered green.

    Players will have to keep in mind that there is a false front on the putting surface, and leaving any approach short of the hole will give them and uphill putt.

1. Par-Four First

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    Playing 520 yards the first hole is a monster par-four, and the longest one out on the course.

    Most players who find the fairway will be left with a medium iron approach shot to the green. However, those who find the rough will most likely have to lay up, and stay short of the two fairway bunkers near the green.

    This long and difficult par-four will be a tester for the players as they start their rounds. Making a par here would certainly put any player in a good mindset heading into the next hole.