Oak Hill Country Club

Oak Hill East Course 10th hole
A view through the trees toward the 10th green, with tree-line fairway in the background. Rick Stewart / Getty Images

Trees. Thousands upon thousands of trees - that's what visitors notice first about the golf courses at Oak Hill Country Club in New York state. There are many maples and elms and evergreens around both the East and West courses at Oak Hill, but oak trees dominate.

The club's East Course is one of the most highly rated tracks in American golf, and has been the site of multiple amateur, professional and senior major championships, as well as the Ryder Cup.

The East is a very demanding driving course because of the number and size of the trees, but also boasts "Donald Ross greens" that slope and roll and run off.

Address: 145 Kilbourn Rd., Rochester, NY 14618

Phone: (585) 381-1900

Website: oakhillcc.com

Can You Play Oak Hill?

Oak Hill Country Club is a private club. Non-members can play only as the guests of members.

Oak Hill Origins and Course Architect

Oak Hill formed as a club in 1901, originally with just a 9-hole golf course. The course was expanded to 18 holes in 1905. But that's not one of the courses that exists today.

In 1921, the club swapped land with the University of Rochester, which today sits southwest of the Rochester city center along a bend of the Genesee River. In exchange for its original site, Oak Hill Country Club got farmland southwest of Rochester, adjacent to the town of Pittsford.

In 1924, famous golf course architect Donald Ross was hired to build two 18-hole golf courses on the 355-acre tract, and those are the golf courses that exist today at Oak Hill. Oak Hill club members officially moved to the new site in 1926.

Ross' East Course design has been updated a couple times in the ensuing decades, with renovation work led by Robert Trent Jones Sr. and later by Tom Fazio.

Oak Hill Pars and Yardages

Here are the East Course yardages and pars for members' play at Oak Hill, from the back tees:

No. 1 - Par 4 - 460 yards
No. 2 - Par 4 - 401 yards
No. 3 - Par 3 - 211 yards
No. 4 - Par 5 - 570 yards
No. 5 - Par 4 - 436 yards
No. 6 - Par 3 - 177 yards
No. 7 - Par 4 - 460 yards
No. 8 - Par 4 - 430 yards
No. 9 - Par 4 - 454 yards
Out - Par 35 - 3,599 yards
No. 10 - Par 4 - 432 yards
No. 11 - Par 3 - 226 yards
No. 12 - Par 4 - 372 yards
No. 13 - Par 5 - 594 yards
No. 14 - Par 4 - 323 yards
No. 15 - Par 3 - 177 yards
No. 16 - Par 4 - 439 yards
No. 17 - Par 4 - 495 yards
No. 18 - Par 4 - 488 yards

In - Par 35 - 3,546 yards

Total - Par 70 - 7,145 yards

The USGA course rating and slope rating for each set of tees on the East Course:

  • Black tees: 7,145 yards; course rating 76.7, slope rating 147
  • Blue tees: 6,902 yards; course rating 75.4, slope rating 142
  • White tees: 6,519 yards; course rating 73.3, slope rating 139
  • Red tees: 5,866 yards; women's course rating 77.5, women's slope rating 142 (the East Course is a par-75 for women)

The average green size on the East Course is 4,500 square feet, there are 84 sand bunkers and just two water hazards (that affect five holes). Turfs are bentgrass and poa annua on tees, fairways and greens; the rough is a mixture of Kentucky bluegrass and fescue.

West Course Yards and Ratings
The West Course at Oak Hill is shorter and easier than the East Course. Here are its yards and ratings from each set of tees:

  • Blue tees: 6,761 yards, par-71, 73.1 rating, 127 slope
  • White tees: 6,347 yards, par-71, 70.9 rating, 125 slope
  • Gold tees: 5,646 yards, par-71, 67.4 rating, 114 slope
  • Gold tees (for women): par-73, 73.6 rating, 125 slope
  • Gree tees: 5,175 yards, par-73, 70.3 rating, 120 slope (ratings for women golfers)

The West Course has no water, its fairways are wider than those on the East Course, and the West's greens are considered easier than those on the East Course.

Significant Tournaments Hosted

Here are the major championship tournaments plus other significant tournaments played at Oak Hill (all on the East Course):

  • 1949 U.S. Amateur: Charlie Coe
  • 1956 U.S. Open: Cary Middlecoff
  • 1968 U.S. Open: Lee Trevino
  • 1980 PGA Championship: Jack Nicklaus
  • 1984 U.S. Senior Open: Miller Barber
  • 1989 U.S. Open: Curtis Strange
  • 1995 Ryder Cup: Europe
  • 1998 U.S. Amateur: Hank Kuehne
  • 2003 PGA Championship: Shaun Micheel
  • 2008 Senior PGA Championship: Jay Haas
  • 2013 PGA Championship: Jason Dufner
  • 2019 Senior PGA Championship: Ken Tanigawa, 277

More Oak Hill History and Trivia

  • According to the club's website, when it opened in 1901 members paid an initiation fee of $25 and annual dues of $20.
  • Dr. John R. Williams, an Oak Hill member at the time the club relocated to its current location in 1926, undertook a mission to plant thousands and thousands of trees on what had been mostly treeless farmland. He planted more than 75,000 seedlings on the two golf courses.
  • The first big professional tournament played at Oak Hill was the Hagen Centennial Open in 1934. It was staged on the 20th anniversary of Rochester native Walter Hagen's 1914 U.S. Open victory.
  • The competitive course record on Oak Hill's East Course is 63, established by Jason Dufner during the second round in 2013. At the time, it was the 26th round of 63 in a major, tying the major championship record. Dufner's 63 bettered the previous course record of 64 shot by Ben Hogan in 1942, Curtis Strange in 1989, and Webb Simpson just a couple hours before Dufner.
  • In 1956, Oak Hill's "Hill of Fame" was established by Dr. Williams (the tree planter). Legends of golf, both men and women, pros and amateurs, are inducted periodically. For example, Jack Nicklaus, Arnold Palmer and Gary Player were inducted together in 1965.
  • Lee Trevino's first major championship win was also his first PGA Tour win, the 1968 U.S. Open at Oak Hill. Trevino won by four strokes over runner-up Nicklaus, and did so by shooting four rounds in the 60s - the first time in U.S. Open history a golfer broke 70 in each round.
  • The PGA Grand Slam of Golf, a "silly season" event designed to bring together the year's four major champions, was first played in 1979 at Oak Hill.
  • Jack Nicklaus' second-to-last win in a major happened at Oak Hill, at the 1980 PGA Championship. The win was Nicklaus' fifth in the PGA, tying the tournament record held by Rochester native Walter Hagen.
  • A plaque on the sixth hole of the East Course commemorates the hole-in-one binge that happend in the second round of the 1989 U.S. Open. Doug Weaver, Mark Wiebe, Jerry Pate and Nick Price all aced No. 6 within a 2-hour period.
  • There are six highest-level men's tournaments in the United States that rotate to different courses: the U.S. Open, U.S. Senior Open, U.S. Amateur, PGA Championship, Senior PGA Championship and the Ryder Cup. Oak Hill is the only golf course that has been the site of all six of those tourneys.
  • Craig Harmon of the famous Harmon family of golf professionals is the head professional at Oak Hill and has been since 1973.