The U.S. Open at Merion: Hole-by-Hole on The Back Nine

Take a trip through the back nine holes of the Merion Golf Club East Course in suburban Philadelphia, site of the 2013 U.S. Open Championship this weekend. Video tours of each hole by the Golf Channel's Frank Nobilo, and hole descriptions from the USGA's website.

Check out the front nine holes here.

Hole 10: 303 yards, Par 4

Ever since Bob Jones won the Grand Slam in 1930, this has been a drivable par 4. Every player in the field will be capable of reaching the green from the teeing ground, although the shape of the hole requires a fairly severe right-to-left curve around the corner. The conservative play is a 200-yard shot from the teeing ground to the very narrow fairway. Players who attempt to drive the green and miss to the left will end up in deep fescue rough and will likely have difficulty getting the next shot onto the green.


Hole 11: 367 yards, Par 4

Most players will hit a long iron or hybrid from the teeing ground on this hole, where Bob Jones completed the final leg of his Grand Slam in 1930. It's an absolute must to hit the blind fairway, which sits roughly 12 feet below the tee and is flanked by Baffling Brook on the left. Those who miss the fairway will most likely be forced to lay up short of the brook, which hugs the front, right and rear of the teardrop-shaped green. It's a birdie hole if played properly, but there assuredly will be plenty of bogeys and double bogeys.


Hole 12: 403 yards, Par 4

This medium-length, hard dogleg-right par 4 places a premium on the tee shot, to a fairway that slopes severely from left to right. From the left side of the fairway, a right-handed player will face an approach shot with the ball well below his feet. The right side of the fairway leaves a flatter lie, but it is bordered by extremely penal rough. The green slopes severely from back left to front right, and any approach that misses long or left will leave a treacherous up-and-down.


Hole 13: 115 yards, Par 3

On the other three one-shotters at Merion, players will be thrilled to make par. On No. 13, with a wedge in their hands, players are hoping to make a birdie 2. However, the oval-shaped green is probably the smallest on the course, with challenging contour. The player's view of the putting surface is obscured by the huge bunker that fronts the green.


Hole 14: 464 yards, Par 4

Most players will likely choose driver on this stout, uphill par 4, which features bunkers in the drive zone along with high fescue rough to the left. The approach shot will likely be with a mid-iron to a large green that features wonderful contour. Approach shots that miss the green to the left are in danger of bouncing off the closely mown knoll and running out of bounds.




Hole 15: 411 yards, Par 4

This hole offers a choice from the teeing ground: long iron, hybrid, 3-wood or even driver. This is probably the most intimidating tee shot at Merion, because of the left-to-right dogleg and the out of bounds which is dangerously close on the left. The preferred shot shape off the tee is from left to right, but bailing out to the right into the deep bunkers or thick rough will likely result in bogey. Once the player reaches the green, his work will not end. The 15th is one of Merion's most severely sloped greens.


Hole 16: 430 yards, Par 4

Many players will hit 3-wood on the famous Quarry Hole to stay short of the hazard. The approach shot will likely be with a medium-to-short iron to a green that features a pronounced depression in the front right. If played properly, this is the last realistic birdie opportunity before the difficult 17th and 18th holes.


Hole 17: 246 yards, Par 3

This hole, an outstanding penultimate hole in an amphitheater setting, will be played from both the 246-yard and the 195-yard teeing grounds. The hole is slightly downhill to a green that features a pronounced ridge in the front that must be carried with the tee shot. The contours tend to feed balls to the back right portion of the green. Front hole locations are very tough and will be used in combination with the shorter tee.


Hole 18: 521 yards, Par 4

This is one of the great finishing holes for a U.S. Open and is likely to play as the hardest hole for the week. The difficult drive is semi-blind over the quarry to a landing area that pitches downhill and steeply from right to left at 300 yards out. The ideal shot shape is left to right, but a mis-hit could be in danger of not carrying the quarry. A player who carries the quarry but lays back short of the downhill ridge roughly 300 yards off the tee will be left with a mid-to-long iron off a relatively flat lie. The player who drives past the ridge will be left with a short-to-mid iron, but off a difficult downhill-sidehill lie. The very challenging green is unique for Merion in that it is somewhat dome-shaped; it is better to be long than short on the approach shot.

Back to the Golf Newsfeed