The U.S. Open is going "Old School" in 2013 with Merion Golf Club (East Course), a classic layout in Ardmore, Pennsylvania opened in 1912. This is not your typical 7,700-yard behemoth course where you "grip it and rip", then grab a wedge on par fours and go eagle and birdie hunting on par fives.
Playing from 6,996 yards (36-34-70), Merion is the first U.S. Open course under 7,000 yards since 2004.
The Merion East Course will quickly identify the contenders and expose the pretenders. Accuracy off the tee, shotmaking, and exceptional putting are necessary ingredients to score well on this layout with its deep rough, slippery smallish greens and difficult bunkers.
Here are 10 things you might not know about Merion:
1. Wicker Baskets-You won't see any flags on pins blowing in the wind. All of the pins are topped with a small wicker basket.
2. Only Two Par Fives-Yes, that's right. There are only a couple of par fives (556 yard no. 2 and 628 yard no. 4) on the entire course. In fact, the back nine has no par fives.
3. Long Time, No See--Merion has been out of the rotation for a while and has not hosted a U.S. Open since 1981.
4. The Golf Course Architect--The course was designed by Hugh Wilson, a Scottish immigrant member who had never designed a course.
5. Give Me a Yardage--There are no yardage markers anywhere on the Merion East Course.
6. Walking Only--The Merion East Course is walking only with an exceptional caddie program.
7. No Breakfast Balls--One of the strongly enforced rules for members is "No mulligans on the first tee."
8. Menacing Bunkers--The Scottish style bunkers on Merion East are known as "the white faces of Merion."
9. Hogan Legend--Merion is the site of Ben Hogan's famous 1-iron Shot in the 1950 U.S. Open.
10. Bobby Jones History--In 1930, Bobby Jones achieved the "Grand Slam" at Merion with his U.S. Amateur Victory.