Green’s Oak Hill Restoration Ready to Test the Best
The fourth PGA Championship at Oak Hill's East Course will look unlike any of its predecessors. This week marks the debut of Andrew Green's restoration of Oak Hill to its Donald Ross roots back when the course opened in 1926. The work began after the conclusion of the 2019 KitchenAid Senior PGA Championship.
"I felt like the presentation of the golf course needed to be more authentic and better connected to some of the original imagery we had from Ross' time," Green said in a PGA Championship video produced by the Fried Egg website.
Since Oak Hill's opening, Robert Trent Jones, George Fazio and Tom Fazio have updated the course over the years. Green's 10-month restoration primarily focused on restoring green shapes, allowing for more options to pin locations to let Oak Hill play differently. He also added defenses to them by creating steep, hazardous bunkers to penalize those who find them.
The course received an overdue trimming of its trees. While Oak Hill, given its namesake, honors its lore with the over 75,000 original seedlings dotting the property and an acorn in its logo, many of those were starting to dominate the course more than desired. After a number of town hall meetings with members, the club settled on the number of trees they believe should be trimmed.
𝐇𝐞𝐫𝐞 𝐭𝐨 𝐓𝐞𝐬𝐭 𝐭𝐡𝐞 𝐁𝐞𝐬𝐭 ⛳️— PGA Championship (@PGAChampionship) May 17, 2023
Kerry Haigh, Chief Championships Officer of the PGA of America, is tasked with making Oak Hill a challenge. #PGAChamp pic.twitter.com/VsHupuhH8w
Oak Hill's routing got updated as well. The current fifth and sixth holes are inspired by the original sixth and fifth, respectively. They used the old fifth and extended it to become the par-4 sixth, playing over 500 yards. The restoration built a new 180-yard, par-3 fifth hole. On the par-3 15th, Green removed a pond and put a swale several feet below the putting surface in its place.
"I think we found a nice balance between all the different things it has been in its life and been able to create something that can be enjoyed and protected for years to come," Green told the Fried Egg.
We've already seen the quality of a Green restoration test on a PGA major stage. In Gee Chun won the 2022 KPMG Women's PGA Championship at Congressional Country Club, which Green revamped in 2021 back to its original 1924 setup. Now Green’s restoration at Oak Hill will serve as the stage to sort out the next winner of the Wanamaker Trophy.