Its the 1 major left for phil to join the grand slam club and he pocesses one of the best short games on tour . But with fairways narrow will phil risk his wayward driving or take a 3wood or iron off the tee ?
I quite fancy rickie around shinnecock hills as he is steady and straight from tee to green but also is a great shot maker being able to hit left to right , right to left and high or low gives him the tools it just rests on his putting over 4 days and the fact he still has yet to win a major but he pushed at augusta and proven he likes links play so could it be his year ?
Dj being back as world number 1 will give him a boost but with his distance off the tee he can get chances to score on certain holes others may not but one question with dj is the flatstick .
A dark horse to watch is louis oosthuizen a former open winner and a proven links player a course like shinnecock could prove to suit his eye .
Hole10, 415 yard, par 4
Like the first hole the tenth offers up a straight start and players have a choice off the tee .
A plateau awaits 220 yards away that will offer a flat lie to hit a 2nd over the hill from there a approach is to a flat green .
Hole11, 159 yard, par 3
A small green sloping from back right to front left which is helped by a breeze in the same direction but tougher in any other direction .
Dont go left here and the middle bunker right is not a bad place to be .
Hole12, 469 yard, par 4
A unchanged hole on the course with a narrow fairway to hit so many may avoid driver for accuracy .
A good size green to hit but with a few tricky ridges for putting .
Hole13, 374 yards, par 4
A very tight fairway to hit at only 16.5 yards wide and a approach shot made tricky by a front right bunker.
Hole14, 519 yards, par 4
One of the 500 yard + holes to the course having 77 yards added to it .
A big drop in elevation from tee to green which slopes right to left. The ideal angle of approach is from the left to a green sloping back to front .
Hole15, 409 yards , par 4
Another drop fron tee to fairway but birdies await those who can drive over the ridge to set up a short approach shot to precise spots on the green to make a putt.
Hole16, 616 yards , par 5
Now this hole has come in for critisim from phil mickelson as being a tough hole made even harder!
A fairway that snakes it way will provide a challenge to hit but the big hitters can go for the green in two that is surrounded by 4 bunkers . Will phils words by right or will there be eagles and birdies ??
Hole17, 180 yards ,par 3
A precise tee shot again is required for the last par 3 on the course with a cross wind from the left shots should avoid a long bunker right .
Hole18, 485 yards , par 4
So the last hole and a end to either a good or nightmare round .
Starts with a blind tee shot from a new tee box adding 35 yards on .
A wind from right to left but aim for the right side of the fairway to get a better angle at the green which slopes from back to front .
And there we have the course guide for shinnecock hills 18 on which the 118th us open will be played . Who will win ?
So the second major of the year is almost here and 2018 offering comes from shinnecock hills in New york and if anything in 2014 is to go by then a very stern test awaits the players !
Recent vidoes have surfaced showing how thick and deep the rough around shinnecock is and with tight fairways to hit and a few other changes will make it a tougher test and i wouldnt expect any real low total winning score for the tournament .
So we know the usga arwnt keen fans of low under par scores winning so select and set up course to prevent this .
So lets take a look at the golf course itself in this 2 part guide to shinnecock hills .
Hole1, 399 yard, par 4
A kind start to the course from a elevated tee a slight dogleg to the right with a tight fairway and thick rough either side waiting along with 2 fairway bunkers on the right for any ball played taking too much off the corner .
Still a good chance for the first birdie of the round .
Hole2 ,252yard, par 3
Lengthened by 26 yards and a uphill tee shot to a green severely
Protected by 6 bunkers ! 4 on the left and 2 on the right . A par is a good score here !
Hole3, 500yard, par 4
With a tee moved back 22 yards and more to the left and a fairway that has been narrowed to create a tighter dogleg and a green sloping from back to front a par is also a good score to take here .
Hole4 ,475 yard, par 4
Another hole that has added length to it and the tee shot and 2nd played into a right to left wind makes from a narrowed fairway makes this another hard test . But aim for the right side of a slightly elevated and sloping green .
Hole5, 589 yard, par 5
To the first par 5 at shinnecock and for the big hitters a great opportunity to reach the green in two with a prevailing wind even with 52 yards added to this hole .
Will there be eagles here ?
Hole6, 491 yards , par 4
A blind tee shot and a dogleg right but aim for the left side of the fairway to avoid the bunkers right will leave a longer and harder angled approach to a green sloping back to front .
Hole7, 189 yard , par 3
A real stern par 3 test awaits here with a precise tee shot needed to a green sloping from front right to back left . Missing the green here is not a option !
Hole8, 439 yard, par 4
Despite being lengthened by 41 yards this is still the shortest par 4 at shinnecock hills and one with a generous fairway but a cluster of bunkers wait on the left to hamper the ideal spot to be for the approach shot into a green well guarded and could catch out alot of players .
Hole9, 485 yard, par 4
The half way hole of the course is by no means easy with a blind tee shot into left to right wind and a fairway with plenty of contoursto move the ball around . Also a uneven lie may result if the bottom of the hill is reached so maybe a few dodgy shots may result ?
A good 2nd shot is key not to go long on this green or face a tricky downhill chip.
winter golf tips
so as the cold months roll in and winter takes hold how many of you actually play golf in the winter ?
Surprisingly not many do and normally the weather in the uk this time of year isn't great we do have the odd day where it's a crisp sunny cold day and a excellent chance to sample winter golf and the challenges it presents .
So a few tips to help your game in winter
1. Allow for less roll on wet or soft winter fairways compared to hard summer ones .
2. Be mindful that the golf ball doesn't fly as far in cold winter than in warm sunny days , a recent study showed that the difference being around 2 yards of carry for every 10 degrees drop ( cold air is denser than warm for science geeks ) .
3. Consider changing to a softer ' lower compression ball in winter as it's easier to compress a softer ball .
4. A random one this but to keep golf balls warm ( and last check it was legal ) put them in a pot a hot water for 30 minutes then dry them and put them into a insulated food bag ( I personally haven't tried it myself but may for research purposes ) .
5. A common tip from the tour is keep gloves dry is to put them in a sealed bag and also hang the glove on the rods under the umbrella to stay dry .
6. Simple one to keep a towel dry hang it off the umbrella but keep a spare in the bag too .
7. Rough in winter especially when wet is tough so swing a little harder to get out .
8. As beautiful as a crisp winter day can be to avoid disappointment do except that scoring won't be as good .
9. Greens will be slower when wet and soft .
So these top tips will help you enjoy winter golf more and the different challenge it poses to summer golf , course management and mental toughness will be tested as will ball striking .
Don't let all of this put you off tho from getting out on the course , even just 9 holes can be very beneficial to your winter practise programme .
Enjoy and happy golfing !
A professional golfer sharing blogs on playing the game , how to practise and views from the golf world ,