Tuesday, June 4, 2013

The Design and History of Merion Golf Club

In 1910, the Merion Cricket Club decided to open two new golf courses and selected 32 year old member Hugh Wilson to design them. Wilson, who had never before done this, traveled to Scotland and England for seven months to study the design of British courses. The East course was opened in 1912 and the West course in 1914.

Several features of Merion East, where the U.S. Open will be played, are derived from British courses, including the Scottish style bunkers. The layout covers only 126 acres, considered extremely small for a golf course.

Merion has since held 18 USGA competitions, the most of any course. Bobby Jones won the U.S. Amateur in both 1924 and 1930, when he completed the first "grand slam" which then consisted of the British Amateur, the British Open, the U.S Open, and U.S. Amateur.

In 1950, Ben Hogan came back 16 months after a near fatal car wreck to win the U.S. Open at Merion in a playoff. Hogan also appeared in one of the most famous photos in golf history as he struck a 1-iron shot to the 18th hole which he parred to get into the playoff.

In 1971, Lee Trevino defeated Jack Nicklaus in an playoff at Merion to win his second U.S. open title. This is also where he threw a rubber snake at Nicklaus on the first hole before the playoff began.

In 1981, David Graham become the first Australian to win the U.S. Open.