5 Holes at the U.S. Open Where the Pros Will Be Hitting Draws
Call in sick, stock the mini-fridge, and settle in to the La-Z-Boy – it’s U.S. Open week.
The toughest test in golf will be played this year in Erin Hills, Wisconsin, a newcomer on the major’s rotation. Because the only tournament of note played there was the U.S. Amateur Championship in 2011, pundits and fans alike don’t know who to place their bets on.
But if I was a betting man, I’d allocate some capital to the players who can shape their shots from right to left. The best ball-strikers on tour will have more than a few opportunities to hit the draw this weekend, and put themselves in position to go low. The obvious favorites include the champs of the past two U.S. Opens – Dustin Johnson and Jordan Spieth – but keep an eye out for the dark horses as well – Kyle Stanley, statistically ranked as the number-one ball-striker on tour this season, and Jason Dufner, a historically elite marksman who’s fresh off his first victory in years.
Although FOX has floundered in their coverage the last two years, there’s no denying that the network strives to innovate, namely with adding shot tracer to every single hole. While the old guard may call it distracting, now we can better see the curves that the best in the world can put on their shots.
Without further ado, here are five holes where you’ll see the world’s best draw the ball.
As you can tell by the course’s stunning flyovers, this course has some character. Why not open the tournament with a 600+ double dogleg? As Brandel Chamblee tweeted out earlier this week, the hole plays “north/south [so] the prevailing wind will encourage a draw.” With even the biggest bombers unlikely to reach the green in two, we’re likely to see two draws on the course’s opener.
At 476 yards, the third hole is the first long par-4 that the pros will encounter. But, if they can put the ball in the middle of the fairway after a long tee shot, they’ll likely have just a wedge or short iron to the green. The prevailing wind may provide some trouble on this hole, but if the players can stay out of the bunkers with their drive, birdie opportunities abound.
Tee shot on #8
Directly from Erin Hills’ website: “With its right-to-left dogleg and left-to-right slope of the fairway, the 8th is the tee shot where the player who has the ability to shape his shots at will (in this case from right-to-left) holds the biggest advantage”. The player that can hit it long, draw the ball, and put his wedge shots close (AKA Dustin Johnson), will have a real opportunity for birdie here, as the second half of the hole is straight downhill, exaggerating a rollout that may total close to 375 yards.
After a tee shot that needs to clear a few football fields just to reach the fairway, players will want to find themselves on the right side for their approach. According to Chamblee, a strike down the right provides a “clear view of the green”, and on the left, “only partial”. With the penultimate hole continuing to dogleg left, the second shot is where shot-shapers need to be accurate. Although there are no greenside bunkers, the natural terrain is challenging. Look for the elite iron players to drop one in from right-to-left to bolster their chance at going 1-under.
With the final hole measuring nearly two-thirds of 1,000 yards from the tips, it’s unlikely that the majority of contenders will go for the green in two. However, you can’t count out rocket launchers like Dustin Johnson, Jon Rahm, and Rory McIlroy – no matter the length. With a helping wind, a 330-yard plus tee shot, and a little extra oomph, some brave souls may get it done. And if they do, a draw is the only shape they could consider. With the dogleg left shape, and a raised fairway just before the green, the margin for error is lower than its alternative. The opposite strategy, a cut, requires much more precision and greenside bunkers loom in its path. With the championship on the line, don’t be surprised if we see multiple eagle attempts go down.
Being a public course, you also have the opportunity to tee it up at this suburban Milwaukee gem. Take note of the pros’ shot shapes this weekend and heed the above advice. Can’t hit the draw? Lucky for you, the Golf Slot Machine is the best training aide on the market for teaching beginners the right-to-left shot shape, and eliminating a hacker’s worst, and most common, nightmare. Try it today and tag us on social media at @golfslotmachine.