Hazeltine National Golf Club in Minnesota

The 490 yards par 4, 1st hole at Hazeltine National Golf Club
Looking toward the first green at Hazeltine National Golf Club.

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Hazeltine National Golf Club was founded by the colorfully named Totton P. Heffelfinger, a one-time president of the United States Golf Association. The club opened in 1962 in Chaska, Minn., a suburb of Minneapolis that is about 25 miles from the city's downtown.

Just four years after it opened, Hazeltine hosted its first major, and it has been the site of numerous majors and other big golf events since. The roster of champions at Hazeltine includes hall of famers Tony Jacklin, Hollis Stacy, Billy Casper and Payne Stewart.

Fast Facts: Hazeltine

  • Full Name: Hazeltine National Golf Club
  • Location: Chaska, Minnesota
  • Type of Club: Private
  • Year Opened: 1962
  • Golf Course Architect: Robert Trent Jones
  • Major Events Hosted: U.S. Open, PGA Championship, Ryder Cup, U.S. Women's Open, Women's PGA Championship, U.S. Senior Open, U.S. Amateur
  • Interesting Fact: During the first round of the 1991 U.S. Open, one spectator was killed and five others injured at Hazeltine by a lightning strike.

Characteristics of the Golf Course

The golf course has a treed, rolling layout that is long and challenging (78.0 USGA course rating and maximum 155 slope rating).

Hazeltine is fairly representative of the parkland courses in use for American major championships in the abundance of trees and the fact that its fairways are bounded by rough that can be grown very thick and made extremely challenging.

There are 108 bunkers and 11 bodies of water on the course, and water is in play on half of Hazeltine's holes.

The 16th is considered Hazeltine's signature hole; it wraps around Hazeltine Lake and requires a drive to carry a portion of the lake. The lake reappears on the right side of the green. Johnny Miller once called the 16th "probably the hardest four-par I ever played."

For daily play, the course tips out at 7,674 yards and is a par-72.

Early Controversy

Hazeltine's first time in the glare of a major championship spotlight was during the 1970 U.S. Open, and many of the golfers hated it. (The U.S. Women's Open was played there several years prior, but women's golf at that time simply didn't get much attention from the media.)

Jack Nicklaus said the course "lacks definition" and, following his first-round, "pardon me while I throw up."

It was Dave Hill who got in the biggest shots, however, saying of Hazeltine's golf course, "They ruined a good farm when they built this. They should plow it up and start over."

Nicklaus' criticisms—and those of many other golfers—centered on what they felt were far too many blind shots and doglegs, and the immaturity of the course's setting. The latter simply required time.

The club addressed the former in a series of renovations beginning in the mid-to-late 1970s in which many of the doglegs and blind shots were eliminated. Those renovations were led by Rees Jones, son of the original designer. Hazeltine has hosted major events to strong reviews ever since.

Major Events at Hazeltine

1966 and 1977 U.S. Women's Opens

The first major at Hazeltine took place just four years after the golf course opened at the 1966 U.S. Women's Open. Sandra Spuzich was the winner by one stroke over Carol Mann. In the 1977 USWO, Hollis Stacy beat runner-up Nancy Lopez by two strokes.

1970 and 1991 U.S. Opens

Tony Jacklin beat runner-up Dave Hill—the player who most vociferously criticized Hazeltine—by seven strokes to win the 1970 U.S. Open. In 1991, Payne Stewart claimed the first of his two U.S. Open wins in an 18-hole playoff against Scott Simpson.

2002 and 2009 PGA Championships

Tiger Woods was the runner-up in both PGA Championships so far played at Hazeltine, and both times to unexpected champions. In 2002, Rich Beem beat him by one stroke; in 2009, Y.E. Yang bested Tiger by three strokes. Neither Beem nor Yang ever won again on the PGA Tour.

2016 Ryder Cup

Team USA ended a three-match losing streak against Team Europe in the Ryder Cup, winning by a score of 17-11. That was the largest winning margin for the American side in the Ryder Cup since 1981.

2019 Women's PGA Championship

The first Women's PGA Championship (formerly called the LPGA Championship) played at Hazeltine went to a first-time major winner and first-time LPGA winner, Hannah Green. Green beat runner-up Sung-hyun Park by one.

Senior and Amateur Majors

At the 1983 U.S. Senior Open, Billy Casper defeated Ron Funseth in a playoff. It was scheduled for 18 holes, but after they finished tied again (75-75), they continued into sudden death. And Casper won it on the first hole (the 19th overall). In the 2006 U.S. Amateur Championship, Richie Ramsey of Scotland defeated John Kelly of the United States 4-and-2 in the title match.

Can You Play Hazeltine?

Hazeltine National Golf Club is a private, members only club. Its golf course is open only to members and to guests accompanied by a member. If you are a member of another private golf club, however, you can check with your director of golf about any possible reciprocals.