Ahead of the Erin Hills' debut at the U.S. Open this week, much has been made of the long, thick fescue that should prove to be at least a one-shot penalty to any golfer that misses the fairway - but the fescue may not end up being the toughest hazard on the course.
In his press conference, Adam Scott noted that while the fescue is punishing, the fairways are wide enough to give players plenty of space on nearly every hole. The bunkers, however, could leave golfers in a "very precarious position."
“I think the bunkering is quite severe. Everything is. It's quite a severe piece of land, there's a lot of undulation, and therefore probably would have been impossible to put bunkers in that weren't severe. I think we see severe bunkers here and there, but maybe the sand is the most unique thing. It's quite gravelly, gritty, although it doesn't play too dissimilar to what we're used to, but maybe a little less control out of the bunkers.
I think certainly bunkers are to be avoided this week if you can because there is chances of unlucky bounces, and because of the random shaping of the bunker edges there are some very precarious positions that the ball could end up. So if you can avoid them, it's a good idea. I think ultimately everyone is going to take a trip in there at some point. And the general rule at the U.S. Open is not risk too much to get out of trouble, just get out of trouble.”
There are 138 bunkers in total dotting the landscape at Erin Hills, and Jason Day explained that the consistency of the sand is different than most bunkers players encounter on Tour.
“I think a lot of guys are trying to get used to the actual sand, itself, because it's not a typical sand that we usually play. There's a lot of kind of small little pebbles, and I think that's one thing that you have to really look out for on the greens, because it does blend into the greens very well. So a lot of those small pebbles are going to be in amongst or around the hole, if pins are cut close to those greenside bunkers. So you've got to make sure that when you're reading a putt you see, and it doesn't knock any of the balls off line. Because like I said, they do blend into the green pretty well.”