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Oakland Hills Country Club is renovating its 100-year-old South golf course

Club hopes to draw more championship golf tournaments

The 9th green during the semifinal round played on the South Course at Oakland Hills Country Club on August 20, 2016 in Detroit, Michigan. Curtis Luck defeated Nick Carlson on the 21st hole. (Photo by Leon Halip/Getty Images)
The 9th green during the semifinal round played on the South Course at Oakland Hills Country Club on August 20, 2016 in Detroit, Michigan. Curtis Luck defeated Nick Carlson on the 21st hole. (Photo by Leon Halip/Getty Images)

BLOOMFIELD TOWNSHIP, Mich. – Oakland Hills Country Club announced Friday it will renovate its 100-year-old South Course as it works to draw top professional golf tournaments. 

The South Course first opened for play on on July 13, 1918, with a design led by renowned golf architect Gil Hanse. Club leaders said members are unanimously approving the renovation. 

The course, which has hosted U.S. Open Championships, PGA Championships and a Ryder Cup match, will close for the renovation, beginning in the Fall of 2019 in order to re-open in the Spring of 2021.

“This renovation will create a South Course that our members will enjoy for the next 100 years,” said Club President Bill Royce. “Through surveys over the past two years, Club leadership incorporated member feedback into a South Course master plan that received enthusiastic support from the membership validating our commitment to our vision.”

The Club’s North Course, the recent site of the 2012 Michigan Amateur and 2016 U.S. Amateur, will remain open throughout the South Course Renovation.  

“Gil Hanse’s design will keep the Oakland Hills South Course among the most revered golf venues in the world.  We could not be more excited about the future of championship golf at Oakland Hills.” added Steve Brady, Head Golf Professional. 

Details of the renovation project:

  • Addresses various areas with linear and penal bunkering and replaces them with risk and reward-oriented features
  • Introduces modern technology and improved infrastructure to a 100-year-old course
  • Rebuilds what many consider to be the best green complexes in the country, keeping the traditional Oakland Hills undulations
  • Improves the greens subsurface to promote consistent drainage and surface conditions
  • Adds new grass surfaces on the greens to perform at peak levels throughout the playing season
  • Increases the size of the greens to allow additional hole locations 
  • Provides championship bunker conditions
  • Ensures high- quality grass surfaces throughout the property
  • Addresses strategic placement of forward tees and extends the championship tees to more than 7500 yards
  • Includes a new irrigation system
  • Extends peak playing conditions on each side of the season.

“We are very excited that the membership has approved our renovation plan for the South Course at Oakland Hills,” said Hanse, founder of Hanse Golf Course Design. “We want to thank them for their trust in us and thanks to the leadership of the club for their work in moving the plan forward. We are now looking forward to getting down to the planning for the project as we look to combine the best attributes of the original Donald Ross design, with the finest aspects of the course evolution that has occurred over the last 60-plus years. Our goal is to maximize the potential of this exceptional golfing landscape and this masterpiece of a golf course.”

Founded in 1916, Oakland Hills has hosted six U.S. Open Championships, three PGA Championships, the Ryder Cup, two U.S. Senior Open Championships, two U.S. Amateur Championships and a U.S. Women’s Amateur Championship. Dubbed “The Monster” by Ben Hogan, the Donald Ross-designed South Course was enhanced by Robert Trent Jones prior to the 1951 U.S. Open Championship and Rees Jones prior to the 2008 PGA Championship.


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