OAK HILL COUNTRY CLUB
EAST COURSE RESTORATION COMPLETED AND OPEN FOR PLAY
OAK HILL TO HOST 2023 PGA CHAMPIONSHIP AND
2027 U.S. AMATEUR

“The Ideal Course is the one that presents a test of golf for the everyday golfer and the first-class player.
A properly designed course can take care of every class of golfer.
My aim is to bring out of the player the best golf that is in him.”
-Donald Ross

 

The Restoration of Oak Hill Country Club's
East Course


Pittsford
, N.Y. (July 6, 2020) – Over the final weekend of May 2020, Oak Hill Country Club
celebrated the re-opening of its championship East Course with over 460 of its members playing
during the inaugural weekend. The East Course opened up for general member and guest play
on Monday, June 1, 2020.


On June 18, 2020, the USGA and Club President Dr. David Fries announced that Oak Hill’s
Donald Ross designed East and West Courses will play host to the United States Amateur in
August 2027. Dr. Fries stated that “Oak Hill is thrilled to host the 2027 United States Amateur on
our East and West courses. We are also delighted to rekindle our relationship with the USGA,
which dates to our first U.S. Amateur in 1949”. Oak Hill last hosted the U.S. Amateur in 1998
with a dramatic victory by Hank Kuehne.




Development of the East Course Restoration Project started in 2015 with an initial focus on
rebuilding the East Course greens and bunkers. The Club hired Andrew Green of A. H. Green
Design to develop a long-range plan for the East Course that identified the additional objectives
to add length where possible; create forward tees; expand cupping areas on the greens; and
evaluate options for the holes that had been changed from the original Donald Ross design.

The restoration plan was completed in 2019 with input from Jeff Corcoran, Oak Hill’s Manager
of Golf Courses and Grounds, Jeff Sluman, PGA Professional and Rochester native, and the East
Course Restoration Committee led by Tim Thaney, Chair and Jim McKenna, Vice Chair.

LaBar Golf Renovations was responsible for the construction which started in early August and
completed in late November.


A Brief Background on the East Course History

Donald Ross designed the East and West Courses in the 1920’s and the East Course has been host
to several major championships including the PGA Championship, the Senior PGA
Championship, the Ryder Cup, the U.S. Open, the U.S. Amateur and the U.S. Senior Open.

Prior to the 1968 U.S. Open, Ross’ original 6th hole was removed to improve spectator flow for
major championships. At that time, a new par-3 was installed which became the 5th hole. This
change was not favorably accepted and in the 1970s, the Club reached out to George and Tom
Fazio to assist in modernizing the East Course in order to continue its legacy as a host of major
championships.

The Fazios addressed the 5th hole and considered other changes to the course layout. Their
concept was to remove the 5th hole with a relocation of the then 6th green closer to Allen’s Creek
and the construction of a new par 3 which crossed the creek which became the new 6th hole. Their
renovation design included a renovation of the 15th hole with a new pond next to the green and a
relocation of the 18th green closer to the hill in front of the then existing green area.

While these changes created a more challenging layout for the several major championships that
followed, these redesigned holes were a focus of significant criticism since they did not fit Ross’
original vision and had eliminated what was once considered one of the best par-4s in the United
States, the original 6th hole.

In addition, hundreds of trees that were planted decades ago had become overgrown and
changed the nature of the original Ross layout and impacted shot selection and strategy.

Restoration Project Highlights
Each of the greens on the East Course have been rebuilt to USGA specifications for improved turf
quality and drainage using sod grown specifically to Oak Hill’s specifications. Certain green
contours have been modified to provide more options for pin placements. All of the East Course
bunkers have been rebuilt with improved drainage and a refined, but rugged look, that is consistent with
a Ross design.

Strategic tree removals were part of the project with an emphasis on adequate sun exposure to
both tees and greens while showcasing the majestic specimen of trees that grace the property.
Over the course of the project, the crews from LaBar and Oak Hill invested over 60,000 man hours
and utilized over 2,000 tons of sand, 3,700 tons of gravel, and 6,700 tons of greens mix. Over 175,000
square feet of bent grass sod was installed on the new putting greens and approaches.
The restoration includes new bunkering and tee extensions which will allow the course to play
up to 7,360 yards from the Championship tees.


The New 5th Hole – Little Poison


A new par 3 has been constructed in the area at the entrance to the Club that was a location for the 5th hole
during the 1968 U.S Open. The new green complex is elevated and surrounded by Ross inspired bunkers. The putting
green is contoured to provide a range of exciting flagstick locations and putting variety, as well as develop a range of
penalties for missing the green.


The New 6th Hole – Double Trouble



The new 6th hole sympathetically represents the long par-4 Donald Ross designed almost 100 years ago which
maintained the name Double Trouble. A premium will be put on both the tee shot and approach, with a putting
green perched with a broad fairway connection crossing Allen’s Creek, with a maximum distance of over
500 yards from the Championship tees.


The New 15th Hole – The Plateau



The 15th Hole is built into the side of the hill with the green in a position fairly close to the green that it replaced and
the pond has been removed. The “postage stamp” type green has significant depth from front to back and will create
a challenging recovery shot from either side. The 15th hole will play from approximately 110 to 170 yards depending
on the tees.


Andrew Green summarized the East Course Restoration project this way:

"Donald Ross set the East Course at Oak Hill Country Club on a stunning piece of ground –
where the holes turn direction and flow over the property in an inspired fashion. It is an
honor to rediscover his vision with the team we have assembled. We will utilize every
ounce of historic data to reflect the strategy, style and intent of Ross with a keen eye on the
way the game of golf is played today. The results will protect the legacy of Oak Hill for
decades to come."

 
About Oak Hill
Founded in 1901 by twenty-five of the leading business and professional leaders in Rochester,
Oak Hill was originally a 9-hole layout on 85 acres along the banks of the Genesee River with a
clubhouse that was a converted farm house with kerosene lamps and no running water.

In 1921, the University of Rochester proposed a land swap and Oak Hill moved to its current
location, a 355-acre plot in Pittsford that includes two Donald Ross designed courses and a
beautiful Tudor-style Clubhouse.

After hosting the 2008 Senior PGA Championship, Oak Hill became the first Club in the United
States to host the six men’s rotating major events – the U.S. Open, U.S. Amateur, U.S. Senior Open,
the PGA and Senior PGA Championships and the Ryder Cup. To add to the Club’s storied legacy,
Oak Hill will host the PGA Championship in May 2023 and the U.S. Amateur in August 2027.


Photos:
Evan Schiller Photography


Contacts:
Jeff Corcoran, Manager of Golf Courses and Grounds | 585-586-2584 |
jcorcoran@oakhillcc.com
Jason Ballard, Head Golf Professional | 585-586-1660 ext. 384 |
jballard@oakhillcc.com
Chad Ellis, General Manager/COO | 585-586-1660 ext. 310 |
chadellis@oakhillcc.com
Dr. David Fries, President |
david.fries@rochesterregional.org


Classic U.S. Open Venues Awarded USGA Amateurs

Oak Hill Country Club to play host to the 2027 U.S. Men's Amateur

Oak Hill to host 2023 PGA Championship