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So what exactly is the difference between a U.S. Open course and what resort guests play every day?
The course setup and conditions don’t actually change much for the PGA TOUR and the AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am every February. You’re facing the same challenge as the pros, if you’re up for playing from the blue tees.
But the U.S. Open? That’s a different story.
Here’s the breakdown:
Since 2000, the second hole has been converted into a par-4 for the U.S. Open, reducing the overall par from 72 to 71.
The pros still play No. 2 as a par-5 every year for the AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am, but this week it will play as a 516-yard par-4. No. 2 is one of two par-5s that will measure longer than the par-5 sixth hole. The other is No. 9, which can play as long as 526 yards.
The U.S. Open finds nearly 250 yards of hidden tee boxes to create a setup that tops out at 7,075 yards. At the 2010 U.S. Open, the course played 7,040 yards. New tees at the second and ninth holes are the difference. The blue tees measure 6,828 yards, which is where the pros play during the AT&T.
The fairways average 43 yards wide for resort play, which feels plenty narrow with the ocean bordering half the holes. For the U.S. Open, the fairways shrivel to an average of less than 30 yards.
The first and second holes are just 23 yards wide in the desired landing areas, while No. 18 is just 25 yards wide between the tree and the ocean.
And when you wish there was rough, the fairway has been shaved to fall off the coastline at Nos. 4, 6, 8, 9, 10 and 18.
During the rest of the year, the greens roll out to 10 feet on the Stimpmeter, which is plenty fast if you find yourself above the hole on these small, steeply sloping greens. Just ask anyone who has faced a downhill putt on No. 8 or 11.
For the U.S. Open, the greens are pushed to their limits, rolling faster than a 12 every day, and settling between 13 to 15. Yikes. You’ll hear this refrain throughout the week: keep the ball below the hole at all costs.