Oakmont hole-by-hole

1. 482 yards, par 4. Out of bounds all the way down the right side. The fairway turns downhill past the fairway bunkers, presenting a blind approach to a green that slopes away from the shot. The best play is to land short right and roll on. Any ball flown onto the green will roll off. I saw players putt the ball off the green in 2010.

Now we go across the Pennsylvania Turnpike to the bulk of the front nine. The second tee/eighth green area is the low point of a hill that slopes upward toward the third green, the high point.

2. 340 yards, par 4. The hole is drivable, but a layup and a pitch is the smart way to go. A flag is on the right, the lower level, presents a birdie opportunity, but of the flag is on the left, going at it is unwise because of the speed and pitch of the green. Remember, keep the ball below the hole.

3. 426 yards, par 4. The famous Church Pews bunker will catch shots going left off the tee. The approach is uphill and blind -- a tall pole marks the direction of the shot. The green slopes away, again, so playing short and running the ball on is best, a choice made easier by shooting uphill. There is a collection area behind the green for approaches that don’t hold.

4. 609 yards, par 5. Players tee off downhill toward the Church Pews again. The green is reachable in two, but a frightening array of bunkers, especially the large one on the right, must be avoided. Missing on the right, even into the rough, is better, because there is more green to work with for the pitch on.

5. 382 yards, par 4. Uphill all the way to a blind tee shot. Bad ground fronts the green, so the ball must fly on.

6. 194 yards, par 3. The green looks smaller from the tee that is really is. It has been opened up on the back right. Missing the green will present a very difficult up and down from any location. The bunkers on the left present an easier explosion, since the player will be hitting into the slope of the green.

7. 479 yards, par 4. Another downhill tee shot. The green has a pronounced tilt from left to right that any approach, even a draw, will capture. On this green it might be best to leave your ball above the hole, trading an easier putt for an easier approach.

8. 288 yards, par 3. Many players will play short for the ball to roll on, or a chip and a putt. The green is fairly flat relative to other Oakmont greens, but having subtle rolls does not make it an easier one to putt on.

Now we go back across the Turnpike and stay on that side of the course.

9. 477 yards, par 4. Play alongside #1, back up the hill. One of Oakmont’s infamous ditches lines the landing area on the left. You would rather be in a bunker. The green is huge and multi-leveled. The back half of it is the practice green. If you can hit your approach to the right level of the green, this is a birdie hole.

10. 462 yards, par 4. A copy of #1, going downhill to a green sloping away. Play it like #1. Pars here are like gold.

11. 379 yards, par 4. Back up the hill alongside #10. It looks drivable, but the uphill tee shot, and a ditch that fronts the green, will prevent even the longest hitters from trying.

A rather small flat area contains the first, 10th, 12th, and 15th tees, and the 11th, 14th, an 18th greens. The rest of this side of the course slopes downward in all directions.

12. 632 yards, par 5. The hole is downhill all the way, but few players will risk going for it in two. The fairway slopes left to right in the landing area off the tee. The second shot should be payed to the left of the green for the easiest pitch on. The green is level in front, but slopes downward toward the back. A putt from above that is too firm, or a third shot that doesn’t bite, will roll a long way down the hill. Like on #2, good luck coming back up.

13. 183 yards, par 3. An easy par as long as the green is hit. The green slopes from right to left. A ball hit out of the bunker on the right can roll across the green into a bunker on the left. Putts here are not difficult -- a shot that hits the green presents a birdie opportunity.

14. 358 yards, par 4. This is the last real opportunity for a birdie. The landing area is lined with bunkers, though, so the tee shot must find short grass. The green is very deep -- long approach putts can be common.

15. 500 yards, par 4. Players have to avoid a mini-Church Pew complex on the left off the tee, the green angles away for the direction of the approach, making the landing area shallow and bringing the large left-side bunker next to the green into play. The green is deep with subtle contours that make a long approach putt a nightmare.

16. 231 yards, par 3. The green has a table-top appearance due to a deep bunker on the front and right. Aim for the left front of the green and everything will be all right.

17. 313 yards, par 4. This hole is drivable, but only along a very narrow line. Also, the tee shot is blind -- the tee is at least 40 feet below the level of the landing area and the green. If you do go straight at the green and miss, your pitch from the rough or out of a bunker will be right down the line of the green. A layup makes you hit over a large, very deep bunker on the right, and into a green that is almost horizontal to your line and thus quite shallow. The green is relatively flat. Relatively.

18. 484 yards, par 4. The tee shot looks more forbidding than it is. A fade off the left-side bunker will find lots of fairway. The green is large, but has severe undulations. In spots, you could be lining up a 30-foot putt with your back to the hole. Anyone needing a closing birdie will find it hard to get.