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The USGA has announced its next five venues for the US Women’s Open, arguably the toughest event in women’s golf. Excitingly, the championship will be played at Pebble Beach for the first time.
The tournament is the oldest of the LPGA Tour‘s five major championships, which includes the ANA Inspiration, Women’s PGA Championship, Women’s British Open, and The Evian Championship. It also has the largest purse in women’s golf at $5.5 million.
The 2020 event was its 75th edition and was the first to be played in December rather than June due to the Covid-19 pandemic. It was also the first to be played across two courses, the Cypress Creek and Jackrabbit courses at Champions Golf Club in Houston, Texas.
It was won by South Korean A-Lim Kim who overcame the freezing conditions and another typically tough USGA set-up to claim her first major title.
When it comes to the parameters that must be met to host the event, the USGA looks to see if the course provides a stern test for the players, has an engaging community, and good infrastructure. The following courses were deemed to have met this criteria.
The Lake Course at the Olympic Club in San Francisco, California, has hosted the men’s US Open five times and will now host the women’s event for the first time, just 24 weeks after the 2020 edition. Designed by Sam Whiting in 1927, it’s a classic US Open layout. There are actually no lakes or water hazards, despite the name, and few fairway bunkers, but the huge number of trees act as ball magnets and the slanting fairways and small, lightning quick sloping greens can play havoc with scorecards. It’s a daunting, serious challenge and the course will also host the men’s PGA Championship in 2028 and the Ryder Cup in 2032.
Pine Needles in North Carolina will host its fourth US Women’s Open in 2022. The winner here will join a select club of great players of the women’s game: Annika Sorenstam (1996), Karrie Webb (2001) and Cristie Kerr (2007). The course has undergone several upgrades over the last 20 years to meet USGA specifications. It was re-opened in 2004 to great acclaim, and today is a supreme challenge with expertly routed holes through a beautiful pine forest with expansive waste bunkers strategically located throughout the layout.
This historic course in California has hosted the men’s US Open on six occasions producing a distinguished set of champions, including Jack Nicklaus, Tom Watson, Tom Kite, Tiger Woods, Graeme McDowell and Gary Woodland. It will now host the women’s event for the first time. It’s also the venue for the AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am tournament on the PGA Tour each season. Located on the south side of Monterey Peninsula alongside the rugged coastline of the Pacific Ocean, it’s widely considered to be one of the most beautiful golf courses in the world. Small greens and narrow fairways provide a demanding test, particularly when the sea breezes whip up. Three par 4s along the headlands, holes 8, 9 and 10, is one of the most demanding stretches in golf and the par-5 18th, a dogleg left along the cliffs, is one of the best and most scenic closing holes in golf. We rate this course as the world’s 14th best.
This course in Pennsylvania hosted its first US Women’s Open in 2015, and will return once again in 2024. Lancaster Country Club is a beautiful, natural looking golf course made up of the club’s Meadowcreek and Dogwood nines. There’s a river running through the layout, with a variety of mature trees surrounding valleys that wind through a picturesque, rolling landscape. But it’s beauty is matched by its difficulty. The dogleg 9th, the demanding 17th known as ‘Braids Best’, and the daunting elevated tee to the final green below are standout holes. Elevation changes provide several blind shots, and there’s plenty of water hazards and greenside bunkers.
Erin Hills in Wisconsin, the site of Brooks Koepka’s 2017 US Open victory, will host in 2025. It only opened in 2006 but has already built a great reputation. Laid across a vast 600 acre rugged landscape, it’s one of the most natural looking courses in the United States. Several upgrades were made after opening to meet USGA standards and it’s now a long, extremely testing course. Koepka won with a 72-hole score of 16-under, leading some to think Erin Hills was too easy for a US Open, but the lack of wind that week was highly unusual. It plays and looks like many of the links courses found in Ireland and Scotland and when the wind gets up, it’s a beast. Undulating fairways and seas of wild fescue grass punish wayward shots.