Oak Tree Golf Club, as it was originally named, was shamelessly constructed in 1976 with a view to making it, as the club proudly boast, “the hardest golf course in the world” so it was only a matter of time before the major championships arrived in Oklahoma City, allowing the top players to pit their golfing wits against such a stern challenge.
And so, the best amateur and professional golfers have all been tested in recent times, with the US Amateur (won by Scott Verplank) held here in 1984, the USPGA (won by Jeff Sluman) played in 1988 and the Seniors USPGA (won by Jay Haas) hosted in 2006.
Pete Dye updated his original design in 2002, adding extra tees and replacing all the greens with more gently contoured putting surfaces but Oak Tree still remains a beast from the back markers. In 2008, Oak Tree changed hands and was rebranded as Oak Tree National. Pete Dye was once again commissioned to renovate his course and the club was duly honoured by becoming host venue for the 2014 US Senior Open.
The course is laid out over rolling terrain and it has the lot in terms of punishment; length off the tee, wild rough, deep bunkers, obstructive oak trees (of course), tricky greens and – with lakes and streams at thirteen of the holes – plenty of water to cause trouble throughout the round. If you are ever in the position of pitching up here with a member expecting a walk in the park then think again as the examination presented by this course starts on the first tee and continues until the final putt on the 18th green.