Oak Hill (East)

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Oak Hill Country Club, located in Pittsford, New York, a suburb southeast of Rochester, has a rich history of golf. It started out in 1901 as only 9 holes on 85 acres (0.34 km2) on the banks of the Genesee River in Rochester. The clubhouse was no more than a converted farm house. However, at the time golf was a relatively new sport in America, and as popularity of the sport grew, so did the country club.

By 1921 Oak Hill had doubled in size and had a new clubhouse, so when the University of Rochester proposed a land swap in 1921 it was a tough decision for members. However, the country club decided to take the university up on their offer, and moved the club to a 355-acre (1.44 km2) plot in nearby Pittsford. This decision ended up benefiting Oak Hill, the University of Rochester, and the City of Rochester. Now with triple the land of the old country club, Oak Hill had room for two 18-hole courses. Designed by Donald Ross, they became the East Course and the West Course. Local physician and civic personality John Ralston Williams cultivated oak trees and planted tens of thousands of them among the greens on what once was a farmed-out field.

The East Course – which hosts the major tournaments – is built around the east branch of Allen Creek, which acts as a lateral hazard on 9 of its 18 holes. It has had several changes made over the years, first by Robert Trent Jones Sr. in the early 1960s and later (and more recently for the 1989 Open and 2003 PGA) by Tom Fazio and his design group. In 1941 the Times-Union, a local paper at the time posted a $5000 purse which attracted the greatest golfers in the world, including names such as Sam Snead, Walter Hagen, and Ben Hogan. This tournament, won by Snead, put Oak Hill on the national golf map. Several prestigious tournaments would be held at Oak Hill over the next 62 years, including six men’s major championships.

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