Course Spotlight

Tips for Playing a Parkland Golf Course

By Vinnie Manginelli, PGA
Published on

Southern Hills Country Club

This month marks the return of the PGA Championship to Southern Hills Country Club in Tulsa, Oklahoma. Consistently recognized as one of the top 100 courses in the world, Southern Hills is hosting its fifth PGA Championship, eighth major championship and 17th significant amateur or professional competition.
Whether it's the Southern Hills membership or the best players in the world, Southern Hills has been challenging golfers for more than 85 years. With undulating fairways and comparable greens, Southern Hills, and other parkland courses like it, pose a substantial test to golfers of all skill levels.
Parkland courses are a special variety, and are particularly prevalent on the PGA Tour schedule, including one very special layout in Augusta, Georgia. Built inland, away from the ocean, parkland courses often feature tree-lined fairways and lush, manicured rough, making the golfer feel like he or she is playing golf in their local park. Where a links course is naturally carved from nature, a parkland golf course has been meticulously thought through by the architect and carefully constructed. Other parkland courses include Bethpage Black, Winged Foot Golf Club and Oak Hill Country Club in New York, Baltusrol in New Jersey, Merion and Oakmont inPennsylvania, Congressional in Maryland and Muirfield Village in Ohio.
Parkland golf courses are the most common type of golf course in the United States, so being able to navigate around one is vital to your golfing success. Playing a parkland golf course requires a keen eye and accurate drive. Veering from the fairway even a little might put a tree between you and your target, or provide a less-than-desirable lie that makes simply advancing the ball a winning notion.Here are some tips on playing a parkland golf course:
  • Have a plan - Think two or three shots ahead.
  • Take dead aim - Target golf means hitting your spot on every shot.
  • Take your medicine - Nobody’s perfect, so if you find yourself in the rough, be smart and just punch out if you have to.
  • Fairways and greens-easier said than done!
  • They’re all over the U.S.-so embrace them and get those long irons and hybrids dusted off.
Despite Southern Hills’s storied history, they made some changes in recent years. Some of the holes were lengthened and roll-offs around the greens altered to create an even more feisty challenge for the best players in the game, regardless of what type of course they’re playing.
The word is that one Tiger Woods stopped by for a practice round late last month. The club’sPGA Director of Golf Cary Cozby carried the bag that day, and helped Woods recall some of the intricacies he encountered when he won the 2007 PGA Championship on the same golf course.Of course, those enhancements, done by renowned architect Gil Hanse, might offer a challenge to Woods, who may not bomb it like he once did, but will assuredly hold his own once his name is introduced on Thursday.