Less than two months before the U.S. Open at Olympic Club, the San Francisco club now sports a new bunker. The U.S. Golf Association came in last week to install a trap at the par-5 17th.
In previous U.S. Opens, the 17th played as a daunting, long par-4. This year, however, executive director Mike Davis converted the hole into a par-5 playing 522 yards. Looking to increase the risk of laying up, Davis had a bunker dug about 55 yards short and to the right of the green - a spot players might otherwise consider for a layup or where they may miss in trying to reach the green.
Preceded by the 670-yard 16th hole, the only other par-5 on the course and the longest hole in U.S. Open history, the 17th is a stark contrast down the stretch.
The USGA paid for installation of the bunker and has promised Olympic Club members it would also handle the tab for its removal after the championship if desired.
'If our membership looks at it and says they want to keep it, that would affect the decision,' said Olympic Club superintendent Pat Finlen, according to the San Francisco Chronicle. “There’s no real need to keep the bunker for regular club play. Very few club members go for that green in two, so it would probably penalize the high-handicap players.”