The third major championship of 2022 gets underway this week. One of the most grueling tournaments in the world will take place at The Country Club in Brookline, MA for the 2022 US Open. As always, here is your early deep-dive on the 2022 US Open and a preview for how to bet. In addition, listen below to the Golf Gambling Podcast for more information about golf betting.
2022 US Open Preview – The Field
Any singular member of the field this week takes a bit of a back seat. All the talk will be about the large contingent of players who broke away from the PGA Tour who will compete this week at the 2022 US Open. What once was a laughingstock has suddenly become a legitimate threat to the largest professional golf tournament in the world. LIV Golf appears that it’s hear to stay unless there are drastic changes to the PGA Tour. And with the USGA opting not to bar any of the breakaway players from competing, it’ll be an absolute media firestorm before a single shot will be hit.
For the full field, click here.
2022 US Open Preview – The Golf Course
The scene for the 2022 US Open is The Country Club at Brookline. It’s one of the oldest country clubs in the United States, and it also was one of the five charter clubs for the USGA. Originally, the club was used exclusively for horseback riding. But in 1893, Willie Campbell completed the first six holes at The Country Club. In 1899, he oversaw the completion of a full 18 hole golf course after some land acquisitions. These two nines are known as the Clyde and the Squirrels. This routing is the one played by members today.
In 1927, another nine holes were created by William Flynn (who also designed Shinnecock Hills). This nine was known as the Primrose Course. For US Opens, the USGA utilizes a combination of all three nines to produce a composite Championship 18 for its tournaments.
Instead of using the written word to describe the majesty of The Country Club, you should see it with your own eyes. Here are a set of videos I highly recommend watching before diving into your betting card.
First, here is a hole-by-hole flyover of The Country Club from Golf Digest:
Next, here is a video from the guys at No Laying Up who took on (and got severely punished) by the golf course:
Next, here’s a video from The Fried Egg, who put The Country Club under the spotlight. They also interviewed Gil Hanse, so oversaw two restorations to the golf course. Once in 2013, and again in 2019:
Lastly, for those with about 90 minutes to kill and the desire to watch competent players attack the course, here’s the semi-finals and finals of the 2013 US Amateur at The Country Club. This tournament was won by Matthew Fitzpatrick:
Using these four videos, we can start laying out our betting strategies for the 2022 US Open.
2022 US Open Preview – Betting Strategies
Most weeks, gamblers have a plethora of course history at their disposal to help guide how they want to bet. For the 2022 US Open, all of us are taking complete guesses. The last time the US Open was held at The Country Club was 1988. Not only was that more than 20 years ago, but that was two major restorations ago. The golf course we’ll see in 2022 won’t look or play like it did in 1988. The layout is different, and the game of golf is different too. The 2022 professional golfer attacks courses much differently than one did in 1988. That needs to be taken into account when trying to handicap the field.
So where should we begin? Let’s first start with the nuts and bolts of the golf course. Using this, maybe we can try and find clues of past US Opens at similar setups.
2022 US Open Preview – Golf Course Information
The composite Championship Course will be 7,254 yards. It will play as a Par 70, with one Par 5 on both the front and back nines. The routing will feature four Par 3’s. Per usual US Opens, most of them will be long. There are two Par 3’s over 200 yards, and the other is 193 yards. The third Par 3, however, will utilize the short 133 yard Par 3 known as “Redan” (even though the green is not a redan). The hole features a miniscule green 30 feet below the tee box, with deep rough fall offs and bunkers on all sides of it. It’s essentially a postage stamp hole. Though short on yardage, anyone who misses the green runs the risk of carding at least a bogey.
In terms of agronomy, the rough is a combination of Kentucky Bluegrass, Ryegrass and Poa Annua. Per the GCSAA, the rough is 3″ deep. However, early videos of the golf course show extremely thick rough. There is also tall fescue rough around collars of bunkers and well off the fairway should a player have an extremely errant shot.
The greens are a combination of Poa Annua and Bentgrass Per Andy Lack, the greens are a mixture of 75% Poa Annua and 25% Bentgrass. There are a few examples of East Coast Poa/Bent mixed greens that gamblers can refer to for performance putting on this surface. Here is a sample of recent venues with Poa Annua/Bentgrass mixed greens:
- TPC River Highlands – Travelers Championship (annual)
- Detroit Golf Club – Rocket Mortgage Classic (annual)
- Firestone CC – WGC Bridgestone Invitational
- Winged Foot Golf Club – 2020 US Open
- Olympia Fields – 2020 BMW Championship
- Muirfield Village – pre-2020 Memorial Tournament
- Bethpage Black – 2019 PGA Championship
- Hamilton Golf & CC – 2019 RBC Canadian Open
- Glen Abbey GC – 2018 RBC Canadian Open (and prior)
- Shinnecock Hills – 2018 US Open
- Ridgewood CC – 2018 Northern Trust
- Glen Oaks CC – 2017 Northern Trust
- Oak Hill CC – 2013 PGA Championship
2022 US Open Preview – Approach Shot Distribution
Next, let’s look at the approximate approach shot distances the players will hit into the greens.
There is no history to rely upon. As such, I took it upon myself to estimate how far each approach shot distance will be per hole. This is not only based on the measurements of the hole, but my guess on what the smartest (and most likely) play off the tee will be. In some instances, I anticipated players would club down to lay back of the trouble. This analysis also ignores any impact of wind. It does, however, account for elevation changes tee-to-green.
Here’s my estimation of the approach shot distribution chart at the 2022 US Open:
- < 100 Yards: 16.7%
- 100-125 Yards: 11.1%
- 125-150 Yards: 5.6%
- 150-175 Yards: 16.7%
- 175-200 Yards: 33.3%
- 200+ Yards: 16.7%
Here’s some additional detail, by hole, of how some of these distances were obtained:
This is the perfect example of one of the many awkward shots players will attempt at The Country Club. The tee box is 30 feet above the fairway. That will aide with carry distance for everyone. Players will need to take this into consideration before automatically pulling driver out of the bag. Anything carried too far down the fairway will almost assuredly find the rough.
There is a ton of room to bail out to the right side of the fairway. That’s the safe tee shot. However, there is a giant rock outcropping that will leave one with a long and blind approach shot to the green.
A bolder strategy would be to try and carry the bunker down the left side to about a 25 x 25 grid. That leaves a completely unobstructed view of the green. However, the tee shot has to be absolutely precise. Anything to the left is in thick fescue and Bluegrass/Ryegrass rough. But even a perfectly straight tee shot carried too far off the tee will encounter a severely bottlenecked fairway.
Anything down the right will leave about a 200 yard blind shot to the green. Those who go left will have about 170 yards to the green. As such, throw this hole into the 175-200 yard bucket.
There are two ridges in the fairway. The top of the first ridge requires a carry of about 290 yards off the tee. With a good bounce, the ball could skip and propel forward down to the bottom of the ridge. That’ll significantly shorten up the hole. Players might have only 225 into the green.
However, that yardage is highly deceptive. From the bottom of the ridge, the green sits about 30 feet above the player. That’s about two club lengths. In actuality, the approach shot will play more like 250+ yards to a tiny, unreceptive green. There also is a huge false front that send anything short 40 yards back down the fairway.
It also should be said that any tee shot that finds the rough will require a layup back to the fairway. In that case, the approach shot distance is from short iron range.
Pulling driver on this hole isn’t an automatic decision. The tee box sits about 50 feet above the fairway. Players will have to account for this before pulling driver. They’ll get a big carry distance boost off the tee because of it. And with the water gradually shrinking the landing zone off the tee, anyone who pulls driver has lesser and lesser margin for error the farther they send it down the fairway.
The smart play would be to position oneself in the fat part of the fairway. At its widest, it’s about 35 yards wide. That’s accessible with a 270-300 yard tee shot. Anyone teeing off that far above the fairway only needs a fairway metal to reach it. Expect players to pepper that area of the fairway to set up a wedge into the green.
However, as Scottie Scheffler’s caddie Ted Scott explains here, even aiming for the fat part of the fairway isn’t an easy proposition:
This is such a tough Par 5. It’s about 620 yards long. The green is tiny. The first fairway is only about 25 yards wide. And for their second, they’ll have to hit it to a second fairway over 30 feet above them.
The smart play would be to make it a three-shot hole, even if one finds the fairway. But even the layup for the second is a tall order. For a player who hit a 305 yard tee shot in the middle of the fairway, it’s 205 yards to hit it to the second level, plus any accountability they’ll make for the 30 foot elevation change.
As such, plan on the optimal approach shot distance into the green to be ~100 yards.
There’s several more examples of holes where players will have to think off the tee to make sure they not only have the ability to get to a comfortable number into the green, they aren’t putting themselves in a ton of danger in doing so.
So what ranges am I targeting this week? It seems like the highest consecutive concentration of approach shot distances is from 150-200+. That comprises about 2/3 of all approach shots into the green. However, two of the shots over 200+ yards are from the tee box. That slightly reduces the overall difficulty of the shot. And the third might require a layup to wedge range should one find the rough off the tee. Therefore, I’m looking primarily at performance hitting approach shots 150-200 yards. This range should be the most consistent for all holes applicable for this range.
Typically, we’d dive into a relative skill set chart to break down what types of players you should bet at the US Open. However, some critical thinking is needed to narrow it down. What types of players should you target on your betting card? Check out Part II of the 2022 US Open preview right here.