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Connor’s Personal 18

The lone fir of Chambers Bay, overlooking the 15th green. Photo courtesy of John Mummert/USGA.

After reading My Personal 18 by Matt Brown, I was intrigued by the idea. Unfortunately, however, I do not have the same amount nor the variety of golf experiences as Matt and some of the other members of the First and Fan team. Nonetheless, I still was interested in participating and *slightly* bent the rules to the following (changes in bold and italics):

  1. You must have played or at least walked the course.
  2. The hole must appear as their actual number, that is favorite 1st hole, favorite 2nd hole, etc.
  3. Par and yardage must resemble an actual course.
  4. Only two holes per course.

To make it a little easier for myself, here’s the complete list of courses…

That I’ve played:

• Spring Brook Country Club, Morristown NJ
• Robert Trent Jones, Ithaca NY
Green Knoll, Bridgewater NJ
Neshanic, Neshanic Station NJ
Basking Ridge Country Club, Basking Ridge NJ
Waverly Oaks Golf Club, Plymouth MA
• Atlantic Countyr Club, Plymouth MA
Kelly Greens, Fort Myers FL
Basin Harbor Club, Vergennes VT
Vermont National, Burlington VT

That I’ve walked/caddied:

• Somerset Hills Country Club, Bernardsville NJ
• Oakmont Country Club, Oakmont PA
Chambers Bay, Olympia WA
Merion Country Club, Ardmore PA
Pinehurst No. 2, Pinehurst NC
Torrey Pines, La Jolla CA
Old Course at St. Andrews, St. Andrews Scotland
Shinnecock Hills, Southampton NY
Bethpage Black, Old Bethpage NY
Teeth of the Dog Golf Course, La Romana Dominican Republic


Hole Course Par Yds Description
1 Bethpage Black 4 430 The warning sign alone puts this course’s first hole
above all the rest. Then take into account the elevation and small window to keep your drive in the fairway…Bethpage black is not for the faint of heart.
2 Oakmont 4 340 Five bunkers on the right, a steep ditch to the left. This hole demands a great tee shot. At the most recent US Open there, this hole saw the most birdies of the front 9 throughout the tournament.
3 Somerset Hills CC 4 376 An uphill hole with one of the craziest putting surfaces I’ve ever seen – a Himalayan sized dip across the entire middle of the green.
4 Chambers Bay 5 530 Named Hazard’s Ascent, the entire right side of the
hole is a bunker, with a sharp turn at the green, which is surrounded by sand on three sides. It’s one of the most difficult holes on the course (which also happens to be my favorite US Open venue).
5 Basin Harbor Club 3 107 It’s a really short par 3, but it’s cool as the tee box
is basically hidden away in the woods down to a short but wide green. A short or long tee shot is trouble, though, as a number of exposed rocks will ricochet your shot in an unknown direction.
6 Pinehurst No. 2 3 242 A long par 3, but I liked this hole because it had the best spot to catch autographs during the practice rounds of the US Open. Andrew “Beef” Johnston was easily the coolest one I got as he stuck around and talked to me and other fans for a few minutes.
7 Spring Brook CC 4 410 This hole has it all. Tee box is right on the water, a
long straight fairway, but if you go too far right you’ll have to decide between an impossible shot through trees or to lay up your second shot of a par 4. The green’s also elevated with steep bunkers surrounding it, not to mention if you overshoot the green by just 5 yards your ball is lost.
8 Teeth of the Dog 4 414 Quite literally half of this course is on the water, but the 8th hole was my favorite, with the green right on the edge of two cliffs down to the water.
9 Waverly Oaks GC 4 369 Named “Double Trouble” for the two ponds of water
forcing you to lay up on your drive and then go long on your second shot. You’re never really safe, plus the clubhouse deck watches you the entire time.
Out 35 3218
10 Somerset Hills CC 5 490 One of the unique things about SHCC is their driving
range – which was clearly built long after the course was. It’s crammed in between a few holes, and if you have a poor drive off the par five 10th, you’ll be searching through a sea of practices balls for your tee shot.
11 Green Knoll GC 4 360 It’s 250 to the start of the dogleg right, but the
green isn’t too far to be considered driveable if you hit it right (about 280 yards to the front of the green). Either way it’s a short second shot to set up your birdie chance. 
12 Kelly Greens 3 157 Kelly Greens is an extremely small golf course in Fort
Myers, Florida. A short par three over water to an “island green” connected by a land bridge on the left side. At age 12, after two tee shots into the water, I took my putter to the drop box, gave a full swing, and somehow landed on the green about 100 yards away.
13 Robert Trent Jones GC 5 489 RTJ is the golf course at Cornell University. His son,
Robert Trent Jones, Jr. is the designer of Chambers Bay, also on this list. Jones liked a links-style golf with few trees, and the par five 13th is a long flat and open hole with no trees and a sharply sloping green.
14 Vermont National 4 409 Vermont National was designed by the great Jack
Nicklaus and his son. This hole is pretty straightforward, with a slight draw to the left and an elevated green.
15 Chambers Bay 3 139 With a harsh sloping green nearly entirely surrounded
by a massive bunker, an elevated tee box, and wind rolling in from the water, this hole is the hardest on the course and also the best known hole due to “the lone fir.” Chambers Bay only has one tree on the entire course, and it overlooks the green of the par 3 15th.
16 Torrey Pines South 3 188 When the shorter tee box is used, two left greenside
bunkers are in play for any shot thats short, and any shorter than that and you risk hitting it into the ravine between the tee and fairway. 
17 Spring Brook CC 5 467 From the tee box, the fairway drops about 50 feet in
elevation and opens up tremendously, but some conveniently placed bunkers across the fairway force you to either lay up or swing for the fences. As long as you clear those bunkers, it’s an easy second shot to set up an eagle
opportunity on a wide and mostly flat green.
18 Old Course at St Andrews 4 361 It doesn’t get quite more iconic than the footbridge on
18 at the Old Course. The beach on one side and the old stone buildings of the town on the right side, it’s been the make or break of many British Opens.
In 35 3060
Total 70 6278


It’s a driver-heavy front 9 with an unforgiving back 9. Seven of the front 9’s holes are from courses that have hosted professional tournaments, including a combined 14 US Opens. The back 9 has a lot of variety, including three tough par 5s. I certainly could have made this a longer course, with the total yardage coming it at 6,278 yards, but the difficulty of the course makes up for that easily. The majority of these holes are within the top 5 of most difficult holes on each course, and bending Matt’s rules to allow courses that I’ve walked, rather than played, increased that difficulty significantly as well.

Connor Dolan
Connor is co-founder of First And Fan and head of all website operations. He's a die hard Boston sports fan with a passion for sports, media, and all things David Ortiz.