Winged Foot Golf ClubGolf Course Review by: Bill Satterfield (2009)
Designer: A.W. Tillinghast in 1923
Contact Information: Phone: (914) 698-8400 - John Buczek, Head Professional
Course Website: Official Website - Visit Winged Foot's official website by clicking on the link provided.
Directions: Get here! - 851 Fenimore Rd., Mamaroneck, New York 10543
Accolades: The West Course ranked 8th on Golf Digest's 2013-14 Top 100 Greatest Golf Courses in America and 2nd in the state of New York. The East Course ranked 76th on Golf Digest's 2013-14 Top 100 Greatest Golf Courses in America and 11th in the state of New York. West course has hosted U.S. Open five times, most recently in 2006 and slated to again in 2020.
Signature Hole: West 10th - 190 Yard Par 3 - In describing the shot required at Winged Footís signature 10th hole, Ben Hogan said, ďIt is a 3-iron into some guyís bedroom window.Ē Hogan was referencing the house that sits directly behind this marvelous green. The putting surface is protected by four bunkers and Tillinghast considered it the best par three that he ever built.
Runner up: East 3rd - 148 Yard Par 3 - The Eastís 3rd hole is a short and attractive one-shotter with natural boulder formations found in front of the tee box and along the right side of the hole. The contrast between the light green colored putting surface and the dark grass and dark foliage in the background is an appealing sight that is further enhanced by the white bunkers found on each side of the putting surface. The front edge of the green slopes downhill and creates a false front and adds to the appeal of this fantastic sub-150 yard hole.
What to Expect: Few courses have as rich of a history as the Tillinghast 36 hole offering at Winged Foot in New York. The storied East and West courses combined have hosted the U.S. Open five times (1929, 1959, 1974, 1984 and 2006), U.S. Amateur twice, Women’s U.S. Open twice, Senior U.S. Open once, and a PGA Championship (1997). The 2006 U.S. Open went down in history for two major reasons; it was the first time Tiger Woods had missed the cut at a major in his professional career and it was Phil Mickelson's worst eternally haunting 72nd hole of his career. Winged Foot is located on a mostly flat piece of property with tons of trees lining every hole. To add character and challenge to the course, Tillinghast raised virtually every green site and surrounded the putting surfaces with bunkers. These green sites are the brilliance behind the Winged Foot design especially since the fairways leave little distinguishment. The collection of par threes on the West course paired with the 13th from the East course are Winged Foot’s greatest pride; particularly the 10th hole that Tillinghast claimed was the best par three he ever built. In terms of stature and amenities, Winged Foot is tough to trump given the two story locker room and maybe the most attractive clubhouse in the country with an exterior that was built from the stone and rock found on the property. In conclusion, you won’t find a more dedicated group of members to the game of golf than those at Winged Foot. Players walk the course with a caddy carrying their clubs and the historic roots of the game are celebrated. The tree lined fairways and slight doglegs that appear on so many holes make the course a bit unmemorable off the tee but the green complexes are as good as anything you’ll ever encounter.
By the Numbers:
By the Numbers:
Individual Hole Analysis
Best Par 3: West 10th - 190 Yards - Since famed course designed considered this hole the best par three he ever built, we better have a great argument of why there is another one-shotter on the property that is better; and we canít identify one. So we agree with Tilly on the greatness of this hole that kick starts the back nine. The tee is slightly elevated to make the shot more level to this pushed up green and requires great precision to avoid all the bunkers and find the correct portion of this undulated green.
Runner up: East 13th - 146 Yards - Chris is the best caddy the Gurus have ever had and we were privileged to have him toting our bags at Winged Foot. Chris expressed the opinion that this hole was so good that it needed to somehow to incorporated into the West course when hosting major tournaments and we couldnít agree more. This fantastic par three is not only attractive with the four fingers of the bunker climbing up the bank of the pushed up green, but it features a challenging putting surface to hit and is a hard sloping green. Very few courses features two sub-150 par threes in the caliber of Winged Foot Eastís offering.
Best Par 4: West 18th - 452 Yards - The final par four at Winged Footís West course is a great hole, but it will forever now be known as Phil Mickelsonís disaster hole. With a one stroke lead in the 2006 U.S. Open, Phil Mickelson sliced his tee shot way left. On his second shot he attempted to hit a hard cut around a tree, but hit the tree instead. With his third stroke he hit his ball into a greenside bunker and was left with a fried egg lie on a downhill shot with no chance of creating spin and leaving it close. His fourth shot travelled through the green and he was left with a chip from the rough to try and force a playoff; he was unsuccessful. As devastating of a moment as that created for Phil Mickelson, it is indeed a great finishing hole. The fairway doglegs left with a bunker resting on the far side of the corner. The approach shot plays uphill and will likely require at least a mid-iron to reach the elevated green that slopes severely from back to front. It is a very strong finishing hole and one of the strongest tests in the world.
Runner up: East 15th - 336 Yards - The East course is less demanding and features a bit more character than the West course and the 15th hole is a perfect example of why. This short par four features a water hazard that crosses the fairway. It is at a distance that can be carried off the tee with a solid tee shot but the fairway beyond the hazard slopes back towards the water so you better be sure you give your tee shot plenty of juice when going for it. Carrying the water will leave an uphill chip at the green while laying back off the tee will leave an approach shot to a plateau green where much of the putting surface isnít visible from the fairway. It is a rare risk/reward opportunity at Winged Foot and will be an enjoyable break from the norm.
Best Par 5: West 12th - 630 Yards - The lengthened par five 12th hole plays to a staggering 630 yards and features some natural rock formations along the journey. The hole gently turns to the left the entire way home and is virtually impossible to reach in two. The majority of fairway bunkers are found along the right side of the hole while the left side is lined with trees. The approach shot plays slightly uphill to the green where birdies rarely occur.
Runner up: East 4th - 578 Yards - The 4th hole is a memorable three-shotter that wraps around to the right along a large pond. The fairway gently climbs uphill before falling back downhill and towards the green. When laying up, it is advisable to aim for the far left side of the fairway in order to increase of the chances of getting a level lie. Not only it is the best par five on the East course, it is probably the best par five on the entire property.
Birdie Time: West 6th - 321 Yard Par 4 - Very few holes at Winged Foot offer a chance for a breather, but the 6th hole is one to take advantage of. At just 321 yards, the hole is driveable and features a nice opening to the green through the left side. Other than the two greenside bunkers, little trouble is found on this straight away hole and thus is an opportunity to swing away with confidence. Birdie is very attainable, par is a bit disappointing but acceptable, and anything worse than that is a huge mistake.
Runner up: East 8th - 451 Yard Par 5 - That is not a typo; a 451 yard par five at Winged Foot. After taking our licks on the West course, we were thrilled to be presented with such a great birdie opportunity. The hole doglegs sharply left and prevents many players from hitting driver off the tee in fear of hitting their ball through the fairway. Even with laying up off the tee, this is a great chance to reach a par five in two with little trouble presented around the green other than one bunker on the right side. This is the easiest birdie on the property; take advantage of it!
Bogey Beware: West 1st - 450 Yard Par 4 - Having a nice little warmup is generally the philosophy for the opening hole at most courses; but Winged Foot West isnít most courses. The membership is very serious about their golf, and the golf course is very serious about a challenge right off the bat. This 450 yard par four doglegs left and features a tight, firm fairway to hit and with long rough and trees on both sides. The green is protected more heavily on the left side with a collection of bunkers, so hitting an approach from the right side will bring less trouble into play. It is a stout hole to hit right out of the gate and will likely result in a bogey for most golfers.
Runner up: East 16th - 448 Yard Par 4 - Just three yards shorter than the par five 8th hole, the par four 16th hole proves to be a challenge to get down in four strokes. The fairway takes a late dogleg turn right and climbs uphill to the green. Several bunkers are found on each side of the nearly blind putting surface that slopes left to right. Due to the terrain, the hole actually plays longer than the par five 8th hole and proves to be the most difficult test on the East course.
Flyover Tour (West Course):
Flyover Tour (East Course):