Southern Hills Country Club


34. Southern Hills Country Club

Perry Maxwell (1936)/Gil Hanse (2018)

A product of the Great Depression, funded by Phillips Petroleum money and constructed by hundreds of workers who stood at the gate each morning hoping for a 25-cents-per-hour job that day, Southern Hills is architect Perry Maxwell’s great achievement. Nearly every hole bends left or right, posing critical tee shots that must risk something. The putting surfaces have the classic “Maxwell Rolls,” and most are guarded by simple yet effective bunkers. During the summer of 2018, architect Gil Hanse and crew rebuilt much of the course, in the process re-establishing Maxwell’s distinctive, gnarly edged bunkering. Panelist reaction to those changes won’t be reflected until our 2021 100 Greatest rankings.

100 Greatest History: Ranked since 1966. Highest ranking: No. 11, 1985-1986. (First 10, 1969-1970 & 1977-1982). Previous ranking: No. 35

Panelist comments:
“One of those old-time tests of golf, hosting three U.S. Opens and four PGA Championships. It’s still a stern test of golf and an excellent venue of championships. I’m excited to hear Gil Hanse will be doing some restoration work in the near future to keep this classic updated.”

“The course is fantastic, particularly the back nine, where Maxwell was at his best. I found holes 10, 11, 12, and 17 to be my favorites, with their angles, bunkering, and green complexes. I’m sure I am like many who feel that #12 is one of the best par 4s in the country.”

“Very difficult, tree lined course with punitive Bermuda rough. Bent grass greens were very firm and fast, despite having been through hot and wet August weather. A championship course in all respects.”

“Magnificent view standing on the first tee — you get a great overlook at downtown Tulsa.”

“Exudes tradition from the gate through the clubhouse, and most of all, on the grounds. Excellent elevation changes, rolling terrain, and even the flat holes have ground movement.”

“Terrific Maxwell greens that are still a treat to play. Considerable slope and internal contouring, false edges, chipping areas, and they hold well-struck full shots and pitches.”

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