Changes to Torrey Pines Ahead of the 2021 U.S. Open
Rees Jones is known as the “U.S. Open Doctor,” and it’s for good reason. Over a career that spans almost five decades, he has renovated and redesigned seven U.S. Open venues – accounting for 14 tournaments. Headed into the 2021 U.S. Open at Torrey Pines, Jones gave the course a facelift for the second time. His fingerprints were already there from a prior redesign before the 2008 playing.
In the video above, he walks us through the marquee changes and highlights how they will come into play this week.
Behind The Redesign
Jones took a unique approach this go around. While making the course more challenging for the elite players, he simultaneously aimed to make it more playable for the everyday golfer. Torrey is a municipal course that’s open to the public and conducts more than 90,000 rounds of golf in a year.
He relied on data and analytics from the Farmers Insurance Open to dictate many of the changes.
“We really knew where to position the bunkers to capture more drives for the modern Tour player and force them to make tough decisions off the tee,” says Jones. “At the same time, we eliminated a lot of the shorter bunkers that were only affecting the 90,000 everyday golfers.”
More forward tees than back tees were added, as the 10th and 15th were the only two holes that were lengthened.
“We went in with the mindset of improving the overall quality of the golf course for golfers at every level, while strategically maintaining the teeth that make it one of the most challenging courses for better players and a daunting U.S. Open site,” he adds. “That’s the beauty of Torrey, it’s a championship test and still very playable by the public.”
Below you’ll find a list of new nuances to watch for during competition.
Key Changes to Torrey
10th Hole: A new tee box was added to lengthen the par 4 to 449 yards, bringing the two fairway bunkers squarely into play for the longer hitters.
13th Hole: Refurbished the bunkers in the landing area to be firmer and better positioned for catching slightly errand tee shots.
15th Hole: The added tee box provides the option of stretching this par 4 to a monstrous 517-yard total.
17th Hole: Storms took out the Torrey Pines that stood on the left-hand side of this hole. The newly created space allowed Jones to reposition the fairway further left to bring a daunting canyon with a severe drop off more into play.
1st & 12th Holes: Jones removed shorter fairway bunkers on both holes to the benefit of everyday golfers. Tour players carried them easily, while they were unnecessarily burdensome to the public players.
Other Notable Changes: A new irrigation system was the costliest update. All the collars around the greens and the approach areas were re-sodded.