Get to know Oak Hill East: Top 100 Courses in the World newcomer spotlight

There are no shortage of regulars on GOLF’s Top 100 Courses in the World list — in fact, it’s nearly all regulars. But that’s not to say there’s no churn or fresh faces. This time around, seven newcomers made the cut, and in the coming days, we’re going to introduce (or reintroduce!) you to each of them. Here’s a closer look at No. 76 on the 2021-22 ranking: Oak Hill’s East Couse in New York.

Oak Hill's East Course
Oak Hill’s East Couse has hosted several major championship’s since its founding. Evan Schiller

No. 76: Oak Hill (East) 
Pittsford, N.Y.
Donald Ross (1921), Andrew Green (2020)

Championship golf is a double-edged sword. Hosting major events on a regular basis confers prestige and pride to any membership. Conversely, many sites deemed major-worthy were built approximately a century ago when hickory shafted clubs were the norm. Immense pressure is placed on clubs to have their course evolve to handle equipment advancements.

Oak Hill's East Course
Oak Hill was designed by legendary architect Donald Ross. Evan Schiller

One banal way? Increase the use of penal water hazards. This is what happened at Oak Hill in the late 1970s when the club introduced water at two new one-shotters, the 6th and 15th. The result? The course yielded some moments etched in American lore, such as Jack Nicklaus’s tour de force performance in winning the 1980 PGA Championship by seven shots, and the 1995 Ryder Cup.

Oak Hill's East Course
A recent restoration brought back many aspects of Ross’ original design Evan Schiller

So, all was well, right? Actually, no. Much to its credit, the club instead embraced that the course’s original designer, Donald Ross, was the maestro and, given how much time Ross spent in Rochester, that his work should be brought back to the greatest extent possible. Among other enhancements, Andrew Green saw to it that the incongruent water features were removed and that the mighty East Course was once again a cohesive Golden Age masterpiece without blemishes.

Oak Hill's East Course
The clubhouse at Oak HIll. Evan Schiller
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