2019 U.S. Women’s Open: Without Charleston, no storms at Augusta

A moist fortnight for all reasons at Augusta now leads to the U.S. Women’s Open in Charleston, site of America’s first golf.

While some have already called this Masters the greatest golf tournament in at least a generation, the schedule changes resume with next month’s PGA Championship at Bethpage State Park’s Black Course!  Following that though, the real first coast of American golf – Charleston, South Carolina – will welcome both Hurricane Season as well as the 74th U.S. Women’s Open.

Once sectional qualifiers are complete, 156 of the top female golfers will struggle like South Carolina’s own Beth Bethel did on the infamous 11th, which (in a USGA rarity) will serve as the Aon Risk/Reward Challenge.  Conversely, there are few golf similarities between Charleston and Augusta, Georgia.

Adjustments

One of those similarities was architect Brian Silva, who in the 2000s, “restored” both country clubs’ courses.  Since Emma Talley won the 2013 US Women’s Amateur, Kyle Franz has taken over Seth Raynor’s coastal test as well as Pine Needles prior to next month’s Senior Women’s Open and 2022 Women’s Open.

Silva recently re-did two holes at Donald Ross’ “consolation” as the National ponders possible changes to its 13th following an upcoming distance report.  ACC not only houses thirty local ANGC members, it also hosted the 1930 Southeastern Open (prior to Bob Jones’ Grand Slam) and the Titleholders (twice won by Marilynn Smith).

Furthermore, it was Raynor and CB Macdonald’s National Golf Links of America that hosted the first Walker Cup Match in 1922, perhaps the main reason why Bob Jones took all those overseas trips.

Strategies

Franz, Silva, and Ron Whitten (one of the architects of Erin Hills) recently took turns on how to restore the Amen Corner holes which were keys in both recent tournaments.  A few years back, South Carolina native/alum and Tiger’s design partner Beau Welling weighed in on several key major holes, including all eighteen at ANGC in addition to four of Erin Hills‘ (2025 Women’s Open).

Other upcoming major sites Welling (like me, a curling cognoscenti) discussed include Bethpage Black, Pebble Beach (June’s US Open and the 2023 US Women’s Open), and Hazeltine National (16th for KPMG Women’s PGA/7th for Ryder Cup).

Next: More than just Sports

As the WARNING behind Bethpage Black’s 1st tee states, danger still lurks as this cloudy and busy end to another decade nears its close.