U.S. Open: At No. 9, a foot too far off the tee could turn a birdie opportunity into a bogey or worse

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BROOKLINE, MA. — After a few walks around The Country Club, the host of this week’s U.S. Open, something has become clear about the golf course.

It’s going to be a slow bleed for the field.

There aren’t incredibly penalizing hazards scattered around the layout, but if a player gets out of position at any point, bogey is the most likely outcome.

No. 9, for example.

The 427-yard par 4 plays downhill, and most weeks, that kind of sticker yardage would mean a scoring opportunity for the best players in the world.

The ninth is not that.

About 270 yards from the box awaits a portion of fairway that looks like three baby elephants standing on top of each other, waiting to canter balls toward the water hazard down the right.

No. 9 fairway at The Country Club. (Photo by Riley Hamel / Golfweek)

If the photo isn’t doing it for you, check this out:

It’s possible to send tee shots down the left, but there’s little wiggle room to work with. Anything that comes close to the hill is bound for a watery grave.

Instead of this hole being a driver-flip wedge, expect a long iron off the tee followed by a 8- or 9-iron for most of the field.