The 3rd Hole at Oak Tree National Edmond, OK

In all of my travels around the country, Oak Tree National in Edmond, Oklahoma still holds the top honor in my heart. I am a native of Oklahoma that currently lives in Texas. Every time I have the chance, which is not very often, I cherish the opportunity to return to Oak Tree National. When you drive in the parking lot, the place just reeks major championships. I was fascinated by the course the first time I saw it as a spectator in the 1984 US Amateur and again in 1988 at the PGA Championship. Every since that day, Mr. Dye’s courses have been my favorite to play and attempt to conquer. They are very hard, yes, but you have to attack them and be on top of your game to do so. Every hole at Oak Tree National poses a threat without any doubt. The first and second holes kinda give you a taste of what’s coming and then you have to deal with the massive 3rd hole. Often rated by Golf Digest as one of the top 100 holes in America. Mr. Dye is always there to punish you if you make a mistake. The 597 yard 3rd hole at Oak Tree National usually will play slightly into the wind from the right. The tee shot is uphill and a large bunker is ready to grab a drive hit too far to the right, leaving an extremely difficult lay up with almost not chance to get anything except a medium to long iron to the green. Avoiding the bunker on the right by playing too far to the left is no bargain either as the trees down the left side can block your layup.

Everything about this hole is the drive and getting in position to place your ball in the best possible position for your third shot to the elevated, very small, somewhat undulating green. I have played two perfect shots inside 100 yards to the green and feel safe with a sand wedge in my hand. You catch the wrong spin with the flag location on the front of the green, and your ball will spin right off into the “devil’s a….hole” bunker. A small pot bunker about 8 feet deep! Good luck catching a stance in here, or getting out for that matter. Let’s back up to the layup. After a great tee shot, you will still have to advance your position by 225-250 yards just to get into wedge range. Any bailout to the right will get shut down by trees down the right side and a possible bad bounce out of bounds. Too far left and you go into the penalty area or native grass. Even a perfect lay up shot can get caught in an uneven lie with the ball above your feet with a short iron to the small green.

Mr. Dye just does not let up anywhere on this course. As soon as you play casual, you will make a big number. Add the normal 20 mph wind in Oklahoma and some rough, like I saw in the 2000 PGA Professional National Championship and it’s almost unplayable. I still love it though and I miss Mr. Dye’s genius. Oak Tree National is a must play and you better bring your really big, bad “A” game for hole #3.