News & Politics

US Open 2011: The Best Spots to Watch

Golf’s premiere event is at Congressional County Club this year. Here are our tips for best spots on the course.

The practice putting green is the viewing spot of choice for golf purists at the 2011 US Open at Congressional Country Club. Photo by Aaron Kraut

The 156 players in the field at this week’s US Open must walk Congressional Country Club’s 7,574-yard long Blue Course. Unless you’re intent on watching every one of Phil Mickelson’s swings on one of the longest courses in tournament history, you’ll probably want to find a few vantage points where you can let the action play out in front of you. Here are a few spots to check out on the course this week if you’re making the trip to Bethesda.

The hill between the number ten and number 18 greens: Arrive early to grab a seat here. It’s sure to be one of the most sought after locations on the course. With a spot on the grass overlooking the lake and Congressional’s famed clubhouse, you’ll see tee shots onto the green at the tenth hole and any late-round drama on the course’s final hole.

The practice green and practice range: For hardcore golf fans, these two locations may be the most rewarding. On Monday’s practice day, fans lined the green railings of the putting green for an up-close opportunity to see golfers prepare for the year’s second major. Two sets of grandstands back the practice range near the first tee, where onlookers might learn something from watching the world’s best hone their swings.

The grandstand behind the number 13 green: This could be an excellent slightly off-the-radar location to witness some of the tournament’s most significant moments. During Sunday’s championship round, this 193-yard par three is a make or break hole down the stretch. It features one of the course’s trickiest greens, and you should have enough time to head back to the clubhouse area and witness the last groups finish.

Along the number 11 fairway: It’s a rather ordinary looking par four, but if you take pleasure in watching the world’s best struggle, it’s one of your best bets. Tiger Woods won’t be playing, but when he won the AT&T National on this course in 2009, his four attempts here resulted in three bogeys and a double-bogey. He hit his final-round drive into the creek, and US Open organizers have actually narrowed the distance between fairway and water for this week’s festivities.

The food court: The food court near the 18th hole is out of the way in terms of golfing action. But all that walking—not to mention the shuttle ride from one of the event’s satellite parking lots—is bound to leave you hungry. The food court offers a wide variety of selections, ranging from gourmet crab cakes to soft-serve ice cream.

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