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Oakland Hills to be renovated for 2008 PGA

The South Course at Oakland Hills Country Club will undergo a series of renovations and enhancements in preparation for the 2008 PGA Championship, club officials have announced.

The renovations will be overseen by noted course architect Rees Jones, who was retained in 2002 to make recommendations to ensure the South Course's viability as a major championship venue. Jones recently received considerable praise for his updating of the Lower Course at Baltusrol Golf Club, which hosted the 2005 PGA Championship.

The changes will lengthen the course, which plays to a par of 70 during major championships, to 7,303 yards, an increase of about 225 yards, while leaving all 18 greens in their current locations. The work will begin in August of 2006 and will conclude in the spring of 2007.

"We're going to rebunker a lot of holes. We're going to tighten the fairways. We're going to bring the bunkers closer to the green," Jones told The Detroit Free Press. "We're going to bring the water a little behind No. 16. We're going to add another bunker past the middle on 15. We're going to add a lot of tees and a couple hundred yards of length."

"Our membership is thrilled with Rees' recommendations," said Richard H. Bayliss Jr., chief operating officer of Oakland Hills. "Championship golf has always been part of the fabric of Oakland Hills, and these approved changes are indicative of their ongoing commitment to that vision. Mr. Jones understands that challenging the best players in the world is not just about adding distance, but allowing angles, hazard placement, ball bounces and our dramatic greens complexes to test them."

During its storied history, Oakland Hills has hosted 14 majors, including two PGA Championships (1972 and 1979), six U.S. Opens (1924, 1937, 1951, 1961, 1985, 1996), two U.S. Senior Opens (1981, 1991), and the 2004 Ryder Cup.

Oakland Hills was founded in 1916, and on July 13, 1918, the first rounds were played on the now famous South Golf Course. Ben Hogan named it "the Monster," following his U. S. Open victory in 1951. This win followed extensive renovations that Robert Trent Jones Sr. completed in 1950, which addressed many of the same issues his son is addressing in new renovation.

 

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