Oakland Hills Country Club
Oakland Hills Country Club celebrates its centennial this year and the Michigan Golf Foundation thought what better time to recognize one of the most storied golf clubs in our state. Oakland Hills is rich in history with its many contributions to the game of golf and is highly respected on a local and national basis.
Say Oakland Hills and many think of the nickname “the monster” given to Oakland Hills by Ben Hogan after he won the 1951 U.S. Open. Situated on rolling terrain, with undulating green complexes, golf course designer Donald Ross proclaimed “the Lord intended this for a golf course”.
Say Oakland Hills and you might think of Gary Player’s towering 9-iron over the willow trees adjacent to the pond that guards the 16th hole. The shot set up a four-foot birdie putt and Player went on to win the 1972 PGA Championship.
Say Oakland Hills and you think championships. Six U.S. Opens, only two other clubs have hosted more. Two U.S. Senior Opens, the first won by Arnold Palmer and the second by Jack Nicklaus. Two U.S. Amateur Championships, the second to be played this year August 15th through August 21st. In 2002, Ricky Barnes beat Hunter Mahan in the finals. Both players have gone on to have successful careers. Glenna Collett won the 1929 U.S. Women’s Amateur. There wasn’t a women’s tour in those days and Collett dominated the Amateur world winning the national championship six times. Three PGA Championships, most recently in 2008 when Padraig Harrington bested Sergio Garcia on the final hole of play. In the 2004 Ryder Cup, the European team led by captain Bernhard Langer dominated the Americans led by captain Hal Sutton.
The list goes on with a Western Open in 1922 won by host pro Mike Brady to the Hearst Junior on the North Course where the 16-year-old Palmer lost in the 1946 finals. During the war, Oakland Hills hosted exhibition matches to raise money for the Red Cross. Walter Hagen, the club’s first professional, captained a Ryder Cup team against Challengers captained by Gene Sarazen. Say Oakland Hills and it’s easy, just say Championship Golf.
Over the years the members have reinvested in their clubhouse, the second largest wood structure to the Grand Hotel on Mackinaw Island. In 1999-2000 the club spent $16,250,000 to completely renovate the main structure as well as create a new special facilities area. Recently, the club’s Heritage Committee, with the help of curator Andrew Mutch, PhD, has restored and catalogued many of the historical artifacts acquired over the years. These artifacts are the focal point of various rooms celebrating the club’s head professionals, Donald Ross, Walter Hagen and Ben Hogan. The Champions Hallway extends 150 feet along the upper hallway and serves as a chronology of the golf history at Oakland Hills.
Oakland Hills Country Club: one hundred years later and still going strong.
Oakland Hills Country Club