It has been ten years since I last saw Oak Hill country club. The summer of 2003 was my 37th on this earth, as this now signals my 47th. Our children were in the prime of their youth and I was playing very little golf. I was working with great friends to build this website, teaching, coaching and doing a bit of writing on the side. I had not gotten into golf course photography to the extent that I am now.
Oak Hill then represented a beast of a course. I remember (perhaps erroneously) a penal grassing, whereby the rough was unforgiving and the fairways narrow. That Shaun Micheel won the event was no surprise; a typical no-name winning a major he had no business winning. Where were the Tiger and Phil heroics? What about Ernie and Colin? Everyone said that Chad Campbell was the next great thing, but second place is the closest he has come at a major. Greatness was not in his destiny.
On my return this morning, my shoes were covered in dew before I realized that the conditioning of the course had changed for the better in ten years. Oak Hill’s East course showed off wide fairway corridors between the stately oak units that line many fairways. There is a cut of fairly penal rough, but it comes only after cuts one and two of much milder grass. I suspect that Oak Hill will get the champion it deserves this time around.
Can anyone recall how prevalent digital communications were in 2003? The fact that I ran a website allowed me entrance into any professional or amateur event I desired. There was no social media rage back then and texting was barely a “thing.” Instagram ahead to 2013 and the world has changed. Here’s a look at the Oak Hill East course that I found today.