Today, the best golfers from around the world will tee off in the 115th U.S. Open Championship at Chambers Bay Golf Course outside of Tacoma, Washington.
On top of making history as the first course in the Pacific Northwest to ever host the event, Chambers Bay has an interesting story of its own. The site was once home to an ancient Native American fishing village, a military fort, a sand and gravel mine, a conservation area, a waste water treatment facility, and now, of course, a championship-caliber golf course.
But of the many historic venues that have hosted the U.S. Open over the years, only four have transcended the game of golf and established themselves as icons of American history as National Historic Landmarks. Find out which courses have made the cut.
Baltusrol Golf Club
Location: Springfield Township, New Jersey
Designer: A.W. Tillinghast (Current courses only)
Course(s) Opened: 1922
Hosted U.S. Open: 1903 (Old Course), 1915 (Old Course), 1936, 1954, 1967, 1980, 1993
Though Baltusrol Golf Club opened in 1895, it is known for its current Upper and Lower courses built in 1922. Baltusrol's Lower Course was renovated in 1948 by famed architect Robert Trent Jones with help from Francis Ouimet, famous for winning the U.S. Open as a 19-year-old amateur in 1913. The project included the lengthening of Baltusrol's now-signature fourth hole and the addition of a rock wall guarding its green.
A few highlights from the 1993 U.S. Open at Baltusrol.
Merion Golf Club (East Course)
Location: Ardmore, Pennsylvania
Designer: Hugh Wilson
Course(s) Opened: September 14, 1912
Hosted the U.S. Open: 1931, 1950, 1971, 1981, 2013
Merion's East Course is famous for the wicker baskets (instead of flags) that adorn the top of its flagsticks. Jack Nicklaus, among the greatest golfers of all time, was once quoted as saying that "acre for acre, [Merion] may be the best test of golf in the world."
After beating Nicklaus in the 1971 U.S. Open, golf great Lee Trevino had perhaps even higher praise for the course: "I love Merion, and I don't even know her last name."
Bob Costas waxes poetic about Merion during the 2013 U.S. Open.
Oakmont Country Club
Location: Oakmont, Pennsylvania
Designer: Henry Fownes
Course(s) Opened: 1903
Hosted U.S. Open: 1927, 1935, 1953, 1962, 1973, 1983, 1994, 2007
With 210 bunkers and some of the toughest greens imaginable, western Pennsylvania's Oakmont is consistently ranked as one of the nation's most difficult courses. In perhaps its most historic U.S. Open, 22-year-old Jack Nicklaus beat Arnold Palmer in an 18-hole playoff in 1962.
Of the course, Lee Trevino once said: "There's only one course in the country where you could step out right now -- right now -- and play the U.S. Open, and that's Oakmont."
They just don't make them like this anymore.
Pinehurst No. 2
Location: Pinehurst, North Carolina
Designer: Donald Ross
Course(s) Opened: 1907
Hosted U.S. Open: 1999, 2005, 2014
The centerpiece of Pinehurst Resort's nine courses, No. 2 is known for its tree-lined holes, complex greens, and the strategic demands it places on golfers. Beginning in 2010, golf great Ben Crenshaw helped to restore the course's original features and in 2014, the course hosted 14 straight days of championship golf between the U.S. Open and U.S. Women's Open Championship.
Pinehurst No. 2, Payne Stewart, and the Beatles. This will be the best 14 minutes of your day.