The worst courses to host a golf major

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If you haven't already seen my "Top Five Venues", you can find it here. However, this feature is all about those venues which are alleged to be undeserving of holding a major championship. This is according to players, pundits and internet opinions, rather than my own!

Fifth Place

It kind of pains me to say it, but Royal Lytham tends to get a pretty bad wrap. 200 bunkers in 18 holes gets quite boring for most viewers, but they are happy watching the 1000 plus bunkers at Whistling Straits. For a Links Golf Course, there is not one view of the sea, which people want to see.

I find it quite difficult to nominate a British Open venue, as it is Links Golf at its best. Most people don't really understand it in my opinion. There are a lot of complaints regard playability, such as the juicy rough, but that's Links Golf. However it's not 'my list' so I have to go with what other internet reviews tend to go with!


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Fourth Place

It is difficult to make this list, so I will have to go with Hazeltine National before the redesign by Rees JonesWith thirteen doglegs to master and the views being wasted, Dave Hill at the 1970 US Open was the most critical of the course.

“Eighty acres of corn and a few cows. They ruined a good farm when they built this course.” Hill claimed. Actually, I'm sure a lot of courses built around the globe were better farms than sports facilities, but it may have been harsh to tie Hazeltine into that group.

However since then, the redesign has allowed Hazeltine to hold more major championships and creep its way into the Top 100 Golf Courses in the USA, according to Golf Digest.

Third Place

Olympia Fields (North Course) held which major? Nobody can remember whenever I ask them. Now do you remember Jim Furyk winning the US Open? You do? Well it was at Olympia Fields!

Now one of the rules for a major course venue, is to have a stretch of holes on the back nine which will test the World's best. Normally these can be remembered quite easily, such as Amen Corner at Augusta, or the final three holes at St Andrews. I am racking my brains to remember any of the closing holes at Olympia Fields.

I'm not saying this course is bad. Far from it. Although we do tend to remember the courses as much as we remember this winners, but I'm struggling to do so with Olympia Fields.

Second Place

Sahalee Country Club by the looks of it, is very tricky. It's closely surrounded by trees that will require only the best driving accuracy. Lee Janzen said "I think the best way to prepare for this course would have been to go to a big city, like New York, and maybe play down Fifth Avenue". At 7000 yards, it's no slouch, It all sounds good, right?

Well, hold your horses there.  There are so many trees at Sahalee that there is hardly anywhere to put grandstands. If people can't watch, how can you hold a major there? There's not even enough room for fairway bunkers and the greens look poorly guarded.  

It was elected to hold the 2010 PGA Championship, after already having held it once in 1998. However, the PGA of America stripped them of this honour to move to Whistling Straits and doesn't look like it will be holding another major anytime soon....enough said really! I believe that if they were to whip out a few trees, so people can watch, I'm sure it'll once again hold a major.

Wooden Spoon!

Chambers Bay was the home of this year's US Open where the World began to believe that Jordan Spieth could reach major utopia, by winning the grand slam. Despite this, not everyone found the course particularly pleasing. It was the greens which got some abuse, but it probably is due to the fact the course is only eight years old.

Henrik Stenson said the greens were like broccoli, where Rory McIlroy obviously thought cauliflower was more appropriate. It also wasn't particularly spectator friendly and the par-five eighth hole was played in front of essentially no nearby spectators, due to the obscure route it would have taken to get there.

Gary Player was probably the most critical saying Chambers Bay was "one of the worst golf courses I've seen in my 63 years as a pro."

It has some upsides. It is a beautiful setting, with spectacular views.  It has room for improvement to the greens and by making the course more tournament friendly, I can't imagine this good course will be holding the wooden spoon for very long. I actually quite enjoyed watching the event, but not many people seemed to agree with me!

Where there are the best, there has to be a worst. However in my honest opinion, it is almost impossible to determine a "list of wrong'uns" out of all of the major venues.

Maybe these venues didn't live up to the dizzy heights of others, but they still have done a grand job. When it comes to putting the World's best on a golf course, for the grand prize, all of these courses have had their drama, and that's all we really want.


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